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On the Arab Revolt

As an assignment, I was to write a review of the movie Lawrence of Arabia. Part of the such review included, of course, a comment on the Arab Revolt, which I think might be relevant to share. In any case, for the relevant parts, here we go:

The status of the Arab Revolt is complex, especially when considered by an Arab. While on the one hand, the Arab Revolt signifies a rebirth of the Arabs, in which attempts for independence re-emerge, and in which the yearning to greatness after years of dormancy is rekindled. In that respect, there is a big chance that Sherif Hussein’s correspondence with the British to secure an independent Arab future lead to the existence of the modern Arab states. One the other hand, however, while the Arab Revolt might signify the birth of Independent Arab entities, it also embodies some sort of death; a more serious Arab decline.

The deep involvement of the British with the Arab Revolt, as well as the Hashemite-British alliance have given leverage to Britain over the Arabs and allowed it to secure an autocratic role in handling the remains of the Ottoman Empire after its dissolution. The Arab Revolt, instead of resulting in the Birth of a unified and independent Arab state in the Arab regions of the Ottoman Empire, lead to the partitioning of the entire empire, the creation of artificial nation states, often with imported regents or rulers, the birth of the Palestine Question and the greater Arab-Israeli Conflict, the continued ‘colonization’ of the fragmented Arab states as a weak periphery ever supporting the west.

This complex two-sidedness of the Arab Revolt makes it particularly hard, especially for an Arab, to determine one’s views towards it. While an Arab might owe it to the revolt to still call oneself ‘an Arab’, its long term political failure means that an Arab also owes it to the revolt that he probably is, with an increased probability, regretful of being ‘an Arab’.

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Islamic Achievements in the Shadow of Eurocentrism: How Islam Paved Europe's Future and Europe Forgot

Lunar Eclipse diagram by al-BiruniPublic Domain

I wrote this paper as part of my coursework at MIT in 2009. Here it is in (largely undedited) form:

More often than not, it may seem to many as if the world, historically, evolved under the leadership of Europe. As Europe went 'dormant' in the Dark Ages, many believe that, with it, History stood still. Certainly, this can be witnessed in science and technology as well, where the history of knowledge, invention, and innovation almost consistently begins in Europe with Newton and his local contemporaries. Moving further into the past, one would mainly come across the Ancient Greeks, who, widely, are alone recognized as the "intellectual precursors" to the more recent European intellectuals.

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