27 December 2006

Whatever happened to just being an Arab?

Ah, rants. Life just wouldn't be the same without them. Today's subject of choice shall be "whatever happened to being an Arab?"

It seems to me these days that everyone in the Arab World seems to be Sunni, Shi'a, Kurdish, Maronite, (other) Christian, Assyrian, Phoenician...basically belonging to any religious or ethnic group other than Arabs. OK, fair enough for the Assyrians, and the Kurds, but where does everybody else fit in?

For those who wish to say that the Arab World was never totally ethnically Arab, you're absolutely right. A lot of people tell me I look foreign. That might well be due to my slightly European features and light skin. Yet I don't really look European/white/Caucasian. I look Arab, as far as I'm concerned. The only place I've found people who look like me is in the Arab World, particularly the Levant.

But I guess that's the point. It never was the "Arab" world. Not in the strict sense of ethnicity, I guess. Arabs have probably been the majority in the past few thousand years, but they're hardly the only race that inhabits the area. In fact, the "Arab" in Arab World is closer in meaning to the term "European".

So what does this mean? it means that I believe in the term Pan-Arabism still. I don't want to see the whole of the Middle East and North Africa torn to pieces because of stupid, petty racial and religious squabbles that have no place in our collective culture.

Let's just try to get over these little adolescent tantrums that led Europe through two world wars, and finally to union. We had that union. Though it was never that effective, let's see if we can make it better rather than going through that process again.


Qwaider قويدر said...

It's sad, and the situation is grave. I really can't just through the blame on Arabs only, because conspiracy theory ideas come racing through my mind ...
Anyway, very good post, and extremely great ideas, I wish it would happen too

kinzi said...

Great point, Fedaykin, sound like an editorial in the making for a New Year's thought. Who in the world is 100% any ethnicity?

Averroes said...

Good Post..but here's an observation:
People don't like to be afiliated with loss..defeat..ignorence..illitracy..so they afiliate themselves with something more ego boosting, by closing the large circle of identitiy into a smaller one..where there's less connections with the defeated larger identity..ethnic deferintiation from the larger group makes people feel more special..purer..and more proned to be a victim of a larger evil, they blame their misfortune on.

I'm an Arab..proud to be one..I'm a member of an ethnic group in which language God spoke to Humanity..a civilization which taught Europe how to read..write..and take a bath!

The cycle of time is just that..a cycle..civilizations are born..they thrive..then they whither..some die..some are resurrected.

Firas said...

Well who's an Arab?

People became Arab because of the Arabic invasion of the land! I mean if it was for say the Persian or Germans occupied the land many hundreds years ago, should you call yourself Persian or German?

It's not about what you call or consider yourself, Europeans had it together really bad all over history, they slaughtered each others, yet they've chosen to form the EU.

Look, the way I see it: First fix your own home, then start caring and interfering in other Arabs problems, you can't help and stand by the others unless you're strong, right?

Fedaykin said...

"First fix your own home, then start caring and interfering in other Arabs problems"

Good lord, Firas, I hope you realise the amount of irony in that statement...

Firas said...

Sorry I didnt get it :D

I meant by your own home: Your own country

Could you please elaborate more?

Fedaykin said...

I'm just dishing out a hefty dose of irony regarding the amount of home fixing all of us have to do...I don't think the whole approach of prioritizing is very viable in this vicious world.

NouR said...

Helloo.. What is the idea of being an Arab? I think it's so hard to prove that anyone is really an Arab who is originally and exclusively from the arab peninsula.
We are described as Arabs just because our modern-day dialects are derived from the Arabic language.
Talking about Levantine people (Bilad As-Sham) they are blend of various anicient Semitic groups (Assyrian, Aramic, Ashuri, Phoenician) admixed with non-semitic descents such as Romans, Greeks, and later on Turks, Persians, and finally Arabs who invaded the area during the Islamic expansion.
So the Arab-nationalism is just a inaccurate concept. What connects me with an "Arab citizen" from the western sahara, morocco, Libya etc.. or even Yemen?? You can't even understand their talk.. We have more geographic and cultural bonds with Turkey, Cyprus and even Greece than many of whom are called Arab nations.

Maire said...

Interesting thoughts on this post. As for being "Arab mistaken for white" Fadaykin, I'm assuming from the looks of this blog that you've spent a good deal of time in the West, spec. the U.S. So you should know by now that there is no clear line between the European and Middle Eastern physique. This is especially true regarding SOUTHERN Europe and the Middle East. That doesn't mean there isn't a stereotypically "Arab look" because there is, just like there's a stereotypically Irish look, for example. But that doesn't mean that everyone in those groups conforms to those stereotypes! I can almost always tell if someone is Arab, but really, most times they could just as easily be Jewish, Greek, etc, sometimes even French. The peoples of these regions have been criss-crossing for tens of thousands of years; in fact, all Europeans are descended from Middle Eastern hunter-gatherers. And fyi, the term "Caucasian" is used as a physical descriptor for the peoples of not just Europe, but N.Africa, the Middle East, and most of the Indian subcontinent as well :)