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I wish you could see that we are all, one people. Arab or otherwise.£

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There are two kinds of people in this world.

Arabs and otherwise.

Sorry, I'm drunk

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Master Virgo wrote:
February 2nd, 2019, 6:58 pm
I wish you could see that we are all, one people. Arab or otherwise.£
Sorry, but this counterargument sounds reminiscent to the colour-blind “liberal” nonsense that we should only see one human race. I really dislike these types of deflections because the reality is we are all not in this together. We live in a world where Arabs have been crushed for the last century and more.

No one wants to be Arab right now because it doesn't give them any pride in their identity. People are fussing about genetics and 5000 year old cultures trying to justify some sort of specific non-arab identity. It's almost an insult in Egypt and Lebanon today to call someone an Arab. Therefore you have a rise in local nationalism (Phoenicianism, Pharaonism, Sumerianists, Berberism, etc, etc). The UAE, Qatar and Kuwait have been pumping their citizens with a new national narrative for the last few years. A Kuwaiti official said they would never accept Syrian refugees because they are culturally different for Kuwait.

But people are fickle. All it takes is 1 small achievement and you'll suddenly find all sorts of inter-arab love going on. I have this one Egyptian friend who is vehemently anti pan-arabism but as soon as Qatar won the Asian cup I see a facebook post from him that read “Qatar, the pride of all Arabs”.

My point is Arab unity is meant to remove sectarianism and tribalism from society by emphasizing on what we all share rather than our differences. It's a tool to revitalize a dry stale culture in literature and the arts. And most of all it's a tool to ensure our collective safety and peace through cooperation. Pan-Arab unity is needed for any serious attempt at anti-colonial/imperial liberation.

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But the same argument could be made about nationalism or regionalism... I prefer your friend's position: be proud of what you want to be proud of, but don't put ideology behind it. That's when it gets dangerous.

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I feel like that is coming from a eurocentric view of what formulates a nation-state. I am getting way off topic here so I’ll leave it as, no it’s not the same. The history of the Arab world from 1700s onwards has had dozens and dozens of attempts at unity in the face of colonialist and imperialists. Pan-arabism was never about ’Arabs' in a narrow ethnic sense but solidarity with the natives against occupiers/imperialist. The founding father of Pan-arabism were minorities.

I really like how Eqbal Ahmad described Arabism to Edward Said.

“Moreover, through not Arab himself, Eqbal reminded Arabs that Arabism, far from being a narrow-based nationalism, is quite unique in the history of nationalism because it tried to connect itself beyond boundaries. It came close to imagining a universal community linked by words and sentiment alone. Anyone who is an Arab in his feelings, in his language and his culture, is an Arab. So a jew is an Arab. A Christian is an Arab. A Muslim is an Arab. A Kurd is an Arab. I know of no national movement which defined itself so broadly. “

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cooldude wrote:
February 3rd, 2019, 7:38 am
I feel like that is coming from a eurocentric view of what formulates a nation-state. I am getting way off topic here so I’ll leave it as, no it’s not the same. The history of the Arab world from 1700s onwards has had dozens and dozens of attempts at unity in the face of colonialist and imperialists. Pan-arabism was never about ’Arabs' in a narrow ethnic sense but solidarity with the natives against occupiers/imperialist. The founding father of Pan-arabism were minorities.
What's a non-eurocentric view of what "formulates a nation state"? The nation state is largely a western construction

And you can argue on the contrary that "Arabs" have imposed themselves on non-Arabs since the inception of Islam in the 7th century. Was that an attempt at "unity"?

Anyway, an "Arab" is such a loose construct compared to other identity markers that it will never succeed as a collective unifying force

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prowlercomesaround wrote:
February 3rd, 2019, 10:03 am
What's a non-eurocentric view of what "formulates a nation state"? The nation state is largely a western construction
That was my point. It does not understand the formulations outside of those boundaries, like that Saudis are not innately different from Qataris or Kuwaitis or Emiratis. Lebanese are not innately different than Syrians or Palestinian. Western concept of the nation-state and ethnicity and belonging is totally ahistorical when applied to Arab culture. 

prowlercomesaround wrote:
February 3rd, 2019, 10:03 am
And you can argue on the contrary that "Arabs" have imposed themselves on non-Arabs since the inception of Islam in the 7th century. Was that an attempt at "unity"?
No, “Arabisization” did not start with Islam.

Dude, even the Arabian peninsula had experienced its own “Arabisization” at some point. Their languages disappeared and were replaced by Arabic. Arabic is associated with the Arabian Peninsula because that’s the place where Arabic was standardized, but that’s not where Arabic originated. The Classical Arabic language evolved from the Nabataean. They spoke Old Arabic and wrote in Nabataean Aramaic script. This is why the Romans called annexed Nabataea Provincia Arabia. Classical Arabic language is considered the most conservative Semitic language, it retains the case system of Akkadian and Ugaritic, the broken plurals of Ethiopic and the South Arabian languages, and the sound plurals and vocabulary of (biblical) Hebrew and Aramaic. All those languages were very similar, one could even call them dialects of the same language.

“The written evidence, which is crucial for the diachrony of Semitic, does not necessarily represent distinct languages. It is not certain that the language of the Hebrew Bible represents a language that was spoken in Palestine with a distinct border against surrounding Aramaic, Phoenician, or Arabic. If we imagine a traveler going from oasis to oasis, from village to village from the Northern Hijaz to the upper Euphrates let us say in the time of Alexander the Great, he would most likely never be aware of passing from “Arabic”-speaking areas into “Hebrew”-speaking ones, then passing the border to the people speaking “Aramaic.” He would instead notice continuous small differences in the speech of the locals on his way. Today, a similar picture would be created by a similar journey from Mauritania to Oman through the Arabophone areas” (The Oxford Handbook of Arabic Linguistics).

The Arabic language spread out quickly in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine and northern Egypt because the people in these areas were already speaking dialects of the same language. If you read the history of the Arabic language, you’ll notice that an innovation will happen in one place and spread across the region by travelers. Another innovation will happen somewhere and again will spread across the region by travelers. The Arab language wasn't imposed top down, but developed as the regions got interconnected in empires.

Another thing Arabization of the Levant and Mesopatamia has been ongoing since their inception. The belief that Arabs all migrated into those area post-Islam is a lie. They already had Arabs for centuries before Islam and those Arabs were bilingual with Aramaic and other regional languages. It's even possible for there to have been Arabic speakers in Lebanon before there were Arabic speakers in central Saudi. By the time Islam arrived, both the Levant and Mesopotamia were already Arab majority areas. Anyway, it is not correct to imply that Arabization started with Islam.

And the word Arab has not always had the same meaning and the meaning evolved over time. How people identified with it then is different than now. Ibn Khaldun talked about the Arabs of his era differed from Arabs of Umayyad and pre-Umayyad era. So, equating classical Arab anachronistically with modern Arabism is disingenuous.

prowlercomesaround wrote:
February 3rd, 2019, 10:03 am
Anyway, an "Arab" is such a loose construct compared to other identity markers that it will never succeed as a collective unifying force
In WW2, I like to think there was this one federalist on the front line telling his mate, "Dude, Europe will begin to unify in 5 years time." His friend probably laughed at his face and said "You mean the French unify with the Germans? The British unify with the French? You're out of your fucking mind!" And 5 years later the Europeans went from killing millions of each other to creating a federation from hostile countries speaking different languages.
But no, Saudi and Iraq joining together - that's a utopian fantasy. Germany and France removing their borders was totally expected though.

And lastly – the EU has never had the ratings that Arab unity has. If you look at large-scale opinion polls done routinely like the one conducted of 14 Arab countries (>23,000 ppl) by the Doha Institute. There is consistently a 70-90% favourable ratings for things like a single currency, a single army, removal of travel restrictions. You'll also find that 79% of respondents answered that "Arab countries are one nation". Nearly 40% said "they are separated by artificial borders". This shows that the attitude is very prevalent across the region. Arab states share common cultural characteristics, language, and history, and most importantly, share a common sense that their current nations are flawed colonial creations. It simply isn't represented politically for obvious reasons. You'd never get results that strong for the EU in a million years.

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Now this is a digression if I've ever seen one

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@cooldude Now that's a response. For the sake of staying on topic, let's just say that I disagree and agree with some of your arguments

Qatar winning the Asian cup bodes well for the 2022 world championship, despite its many controversies

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Qatar winning Asian cup = reports of working slavery and deaths of migrant workers

cool, sounds about even

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