Arab Revolt: Pride in the People

The popular revolts shaking the Arab world have injected a sense of pride in peoples across the region often labelled as ‘terrorists’ or ‘backwards’ and for long subjected to repressive regimes.

“For the first time in my life, I am proud to be Arab,” Ahmad Jamil, a 35-year-old Jordanian engineer, told AFP. “Now I can stand tall.”

Since the downfall of the Tunisian and Egyptian presidents and subsequent uprisings in Libya, Yemen and Bahrain, thousands of Internet users from Tunis to Sanaa have been proudly proclaiming their “Arab identity”.

“I was born in Tunisia, lived in Egypt and gave my blood in Libya,” writes Kareem Saif on a page of the social networking site Facebook called “I am Arab”.

“I was beaten in Yemen, passing through Bahrain. I will grow up in the Arab world till I reach Palestine,” he adds. “My name is LIBERTY.”

The page, aimed at supporting the revolts in the region, has so far garnered more than 3,000 friends.

Several other pages reflecting the renewed sense of pride in being Arab have popped up in recent days on the web, among them “Proud to be Arab” and “A united Arabworld”.

Messages of brotherhood, such as “Tunisia loves Bahrain” or “All Arabs with Libya”, have also spread across the net.

“We have gone from an Arab nation described as apathetic and humiliated to a nation where revolutions have grabbed world attention,” said Areej Abdulrazaq Alfaraj, a 24-year-old Saudi national.

She added that she dreamt of witnessing social and cultural uprisings similar to the French Revolution.

“I am an Iraqi and I am proud to see that young Arabs are capable of changing things,” said Aamar el-Ojaili, while Amal Silaoui, a 22-year-old Palestinian living in Tunisia, enthused about a feeling of being “reborn”.

The 20th century saw a number of Arab countries gain their independence from colonial rule or nurture the dream of pan-Arabism with the rise of the charismatic Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser.

But the current tsunami effect of the Tunisian revolt has taken everyone by surprise, most of all Western countries whose leaders have for the most part supported the regimes crumbling one after the other, experts say.

“In general, when you have a revolution, there is a charismatic figure, a clear-cut ideology, members of society in favour and others opposed,” said Georges Corm, a Lebanese economist and historian.

“What is happening in the Middle East is exceptional in that all members of society, of all ages, are taking part with no ideological or partisan slogans,” said Corm. “Theirslogans are simple and direct, put forth with wonderfully clear language and without any charismatic figure.

“This is something new in our contemporary history.”

The revolts sweeping the region have also rid many Arabs of a sense of submission to their often tyrannical leaders and allowed them to once again dream of an Arab nation.

“The hell with religious, tribal and geographical differences,” said Areej, of Saudi Arabia. “Look at how Europe united despite language differences.”Why not us?”

Sari Hanafi, a sociology professor at the American University of Beirut, noted that for the first time in the region’s history, it was not the political elite but people “at the bottom” bringing about change.

“Having the Egyptian army apologise to the people is unheard of,” he said.

“They (the West) are seeing something new,” Hanafi added. “They are looking at civilised, peaceful people, not the stereotypical image of the bearded Arab.”

The English-language Saudi daily Arabnews perhaps put it best when it published a screaming headline during the Egyptian revolt.

“It’s cool to be Arab again,” the headline read.

 

AFP, 1 March 2011

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2 responses to this post.

  1. On
    Monday 3rd March 1924 (28th Rajab
    1342AH), the world woke to the
    news that Mustafa Kemal in Turkey
    had officially abolished the Khilafah.
    That night Abdul-Mejid II, the last
    Khaleefah of the Muslims, was
    bundled in to a car with a suitcase of
    clothes and money and exiled from
    Turkey, never to return. This is how
    1342 years of Islamic rule ended. The
    following is a historical account of
    the actions of the colonial powers in
    first sowing the seeds of disunity
    amongst Muslims by implanting the
    idea of nationalism and then finally
    administering the destruction of the
    Khilafah state by their treacherous
    agents.
    Turkey’s independence was officially
    recognised with the implementation
    of the Lausanne Treaty signed the
    year before on 24 July 1923. Britain
    and its allies withdrew all their troops
    that had occupied Turkey since the
    end of the First World War. In
    response to this, protests were
    made in the House of Commons to
    the British Foreign Secretary Lord
    Curzon, for recognising Turkey ’s
    independence. Lord Curzon replied,
    “ The situation now is that Turkey is
    dead and will never rise again,
    because we have destroyed its
    moral strength, the Caliphate and
    Islam. ”
    As admitted by Lord Curzon, Britain
    along with France played a pivotal
    role in destroying the Khilafah and
    carving up the Muslim lands
    between them. Their plans against
    the Khilafah were not just a reaction
    to the Khilafah siding with Germany
    in World War I. These plans were
    set in motion hundreds of years ago
    finally coming to fruition when the
    Uthmani Khilafah began to rapidly
    decline in the mid eighteenth
    century.
    The first attempt at destroying the
    unity of Islam came in the 11th
    century when Pope Urban II
    launched the first crusade to occupy
    Al-Quds. After 200 years of
    occupation the crusaders were finally
    defeated at the hands of Salahudeen
    Ayyubi. In the 15th century
    Constantinople was conquered and
    the last stronghold of the Byzantine
    Empire defeated. Then in the 16th
    century the Islamic State swept
    across southern and eastern Europe
    carrying Islam to its peoples.
    Consequently millions of people in
    Albania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and
    other countries embraced Islam.
    After the siege of Vienna in 1529
    Europe formed alliances to stop the
    Khilafah ’s expansion in to Europe. It
    was at this point the crusaders
    animosity towards Islam and the
    Khilafah was revived and plans were
    hatched to deal with this “Oriental
    Problem” as it became known.
    Count Henri Decastri, a French
    author wrote in his book entitled
    ‘ Islam’ in 1896:
    “I cannot imagine what the Muslims
    would say if they heard the tales of
    the mediaeval ages and understood
    what the Christian orators used to
    say in their hymns; all our hymns
    even those which emerged before
    the 12th century emanated from one
    concept which was the cause of the
    crusades, these hymns were filled
    with hatred towards the Muslims
    due to the total ignorance of their
    religion. As a result of those hymns
    and songs, hatred against that
    religion became fixed in people’s
    minds, and the erroneous ideas
    deeply rooted, some of which are
    still carried nowadays. Everyone
    used to regard the Muslims as
    polytheists, disbelievers, idol
    worshippers and apostates. ”
    After their defeat the crusaders
    realised that the cause of Muslims
    strength and resolve was the Islamic
    Aqeeda. As long as Muslims were
    strongly attached to Islam and the
    Qur ’an the Khilafah could never be
    destroyed. This is why at the end of
    the 16th century they established the
    first missionary centre in Malta and
    made it their headquarters for
    launching a missionary onslaught
    against the Muslim world. This was
    the beginning of western culture
    entering the Muslim world by British,
    French and American missionaries.
    These missionaries worked under
    the guise of educational and scientific
    institutions. Initially their effect on the
    Muslims was minimal. But during
    the 18th and 19th centuries when
    decline had set in to the Khilafah the
    missionaries managed to exploit
    weaknesses in the state and spread
    corrupted concepts to the people. In
    the 19th century Beirut became the
    centre for missionary activity. During
    this time the missionaries exploited
    civil strife between Christians and
    Druze and later Christians and
    Muslims, with Britain siding with the
    Druze and France siding with the
    Christian Maronites.
    The missionaries had two main
    objectives during this time.
    1. To separate the Arabs from the
    Uthmani *state
    2. To alienate the Muslims from the
    bond of Islam
    In
    1875 the “Secret Association” was
    formed in Beirut in an attempt to
    encourage Arab nationalism among
    the people. Through declarations and
    leaflets it called for the political
    independence of the Arabs,
    especially those in Syria and
    Lebanon. Those in charge repeatedly
    accused Turkey in their literature of
    snatching the Islamic Khilafah from
    the Arabs, violating the Islamic
    Shari ’ah, and abusing the Deen.
    These seeds of Arab nationalism
    came to fruition in 1916 when Britain
    ordered its agent Sharif Hussein of
    Mecca to launch the Arab Revolt
    against the Uthmani Khilafah. This
    revolt was successful in dividing the
    Arab lands from the Khilafah and
    placing them under British and
    French mandates.
    At the same time nationalism was
    being incited among the Turks. The
    Young Turks movement was
    established in 1889 on the basis of
    Turkish nationalism and achieved
    power in 1908 after ousting
    Khaleefah Abdul-Hamid II. The traitor
    Mustafa Kemal who went on to
    abolish the Khilafah was a member
    of the Young Turks. This is why
    Mustafa Kemal later said: “Was it not
    because of the Khilafah, Islam and
    the clergy that the Turkish peasants
    fought and died for five centuries? It
    is high time Turkey looked after her
    own interests and ignored the
    Indians and the Arabs. Turkey
    should rid itself of leading the
    Muslims. ”
    Alongside the missionary activities
    Britain and France along with Russia
    began to directly colonise many
    parts of the Muslim world. This
    started during the mid eighteenth
    century when in 1768 Catherine II of
    Russia fought the Khilafah and
    successfully occupied the lands of
    Southern Ukraine, Northern
    Caucasus, and Crimea which
    became incorporated in to the
    Russian Empire. France attacked
    Egypt and Britain began its
    occupation of India. In the 19th
    century France occupied North Africa
    and Britain occupied Egypt, Sudan
    and India. Gradually, the lands of the
    Khilafah were receding until the end
    of the 1st world war when all that
    was left was Turkey, which was
    occupied by allied troops under the
    command of a British general named
    Charles Harrington.
    The division of the lands of the
    Khilafah was a deliberate agreement
    hatched by Britain and France in 1916
    in the secret agreement known as
    Sykes-Picot. This plan was
    negotiated between French diplomat
    François Georges-Picot and British
    diplomatic advisor Mark Sykes.
    Under the agreement Britain was
    allocated control of Jordan, Iraq and
    a small area around Haifa. France
    was allocated control of South-
    eastern Turkey, Northern Iraq, Syria
    and Lebanon. The controlling
    powers were left free to decide on
    state boundaries within these areas.
    The Middle Eastern map today is the
    legacy of Sykes-Picot with the
    borders matching Mr Sykes and Mr
    Picot ’s lines drawn using a ruler over
    the former lands of the Khilafah.
    In the years preceeding the
    destruction of the Khilafah, Britain
    played the most important role
    through nurturing its agent Mustafa
    Kemal. Through a number of political
    maneuvers aided by Britain, Mustafa
    Kemal was able to establish himself
    as an authority within Turkey. In
    1922, the Lausanne conference was
    organised by the British foreign
    Secretary Lord Curzon to discuss
    Turkey ’s independence. Turkey at
    that time was under the occupation
    of the allied forces with the institution
    of the Khilafah existing in all but
    name. During this conference Lord
    Curzon stipulated four conditions
    prior to recognising the
    independence of Turkey. These
    conditions were:
    1. The total abolishment of the
    Khilafah
    2. The expulsion of the Khalifah
    beyond the borders
    3. The confiscation of its assets
    4. Declaration that Turkey become a
    secular state
    The success of the conference rested
    on the fulfilment of these four
    conditions. However, even with
    such foreign pressure many
    Muslims within Turkey still cherished
    the idea of Khilafah, which had
    served Islam so well for so many
    centuries and found it inconceivable
    that it could ever be abolished.
    Hence, Lord Curzon failed to secure
    these conditions and the conference
    wound up in failure. Yet, the cunning
    Lord Curzon on behalf of Britain did
    not give up. On the 3rd March 1924
    Mustafa Kemal using force and
    terrorising his political opponents
    managed to push through the
    Abolition bill that would see the
    institution of Khilafah officially
    abolished.
    For the colonialists powers
    destroying the Khilafah was not
    enough. They wanted to ensure that
    the Khilafah could never arise again
    among the Muslims.
    Lord Curzon said, “We must put an
    end to anything which brings about
    any Islamic unity between the sons
    of the Muslims. As we have already
    succeeded in finishing off the
    Caliphate, so we must ensure that
    there will never arise again unity for
    the Muslims, whether it be intellectual
    or cultural unity.”
    Therefore, they placed a number of
    obstacles in the path of re-
    establishing the Khilafah such as:
    1. The introduction of the non-
    Islamic concepts in the Islamic world
    such as patriotism, nationalism,
    socialism and secularism and the
    colonialists encouragement of
    political movements based on these
    ideas
    2. The presence of educational
    curriculum set up by the colonial
    powers, which have remained in tact
    for 80 years, that made the majority
    of the graduated young people and
    those in the educational institutions
    proceed in a direction contradictory
    to Islam
    3. The economic strangulation of the
    Muslim world by western
    governments and companies such
    that the people live in abject poverty
    and are forced to focus solely upon
    feeding themselves and their families
    whilst turning away from the true
    role of the colonialists
    4. The deliberate legacy of dividing
    the Muslim world around
    contentious borders and territories
    such that Muslims would
    permanently be engaged in petty
    issues
    5. The creation of organisations such
    as the Arab League and later the
    Organisation of Islamic countries
    (OIC) that diluted the bonds of Islam,
    continued the disunity of the Muslim
    world whilst failing miserably to
    solve any problem or issue
    6. The imposition of a foreign state,
    Israel, into the heart of the Muslim
    world that would spearhead the
    western powers assault upon
    defenceless Muslims while
    perpetuating the myth of Muslim
    inferiority
    7. The presence in the Muslim
    countries of tyrant rulers whose
    allegiance is to their western masters;
    whom oppress and torture the
    Ummah; they are not from the
    Ummah and hate the Ummah just
    as much as the Ummah hates them
    Despite these obstacles and the plots
    and plans of the colonialists the re-
    establishment of the Khilafah is once
    again a reality for the Muslim world.
    We must take this opportunity on
    the anniversary of the destruction of
    the Khilafah to reflect on the current
    situation of the Muslims and ensure
    that only by working to bring back
    the Khilafah can we truly achieve
    success in this life and the next.

    Reply

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