Cultural Immersion University Essay Example

ABSTRACT

Who are the Arabs? Basically, they are people who speak Arabic and the ones residing in the Middle East. Often, Muslims and Arabs are used interchangeably but they are two different terms. Immersion activities have been conducted to have a full grasp of the culture being studied. There were differences observed but basically the rule of respect applies for all groups of people and races. My interviewee had made an impact on me, showing compassion towards other racial groups. Moreover, he shares how he manages to maintain his culture and tradition despite the fact that he is not in his own country .

In Focus: On Arabs, Cultural Heritage, and Racism

I.

Cultural group studied: Arabs

Events/Activities Attended

Date

Activities Attended

Hours Rendered

May 12, 2007

Small gathering

2 hours

May 18, 2007

Dinner

2 hours

May 27, 2007

Community Service

5 hours

June 2, 2007

Community Service

4 hours

June 3, 2007

Small gathering

2 hours

– The name of the interviewee has not been revealed for his own and family’s sake.  He opted to be called Mr. C.

 – Mr. C, 40 years of age with 3 children and has a stable food business.

– The gatherings and community services attended are the ones spearheaded by Mr. C.

– Not only is his family successful in business, Mr.C has also been a great help to the Arab society in their place. He provides employment for his fellow Arabs for them to do away with robbery and terrorism.

– As mentioned, he is not just after the welfare of his fellow Arabs but he is also involved in activities aimed at their holistic development.

It has been a great experience to know him. After drafting this paper, my notions about Arabs have been changed substantially. Because of the news at television, I myself associated this race with terrorism and killings. I perceived them as individuals who are ruthless, who kill mercilessly just to serve their self-seeking benefits.

I was hesitant in working with the Arabs, due in part perhaps to the bad impressions I have associated with them. I was also thinking if he will allow me to conduct a study about them, and fortunately enough I was able to conduct this interview and meet a good soul in him.  The interviews I had conducted with Mr. C has been very pleasant. It was in the form of free-flow conversation. I have also noted that while he does not use so many words or stories, his actions radiate the goodness in him.

With this immersion, I was not only able to mingle with Mr.C and his family but to a wide variety of Arabs who are continuously struggling for equal rights and respect from society. During their gatherings, I was also able to taste Arab food. Their food was quite unusual for my taste. Some food served were good but some were very spicy.  In addition, gatherings were a venue for checking on their friends and relatives. Also during these sessions, it is as if they are at their own country. They can still recall memories about their country, and even good childhood memories. They also share the same sentiments when people seem to discriminate them for the mere reason that they are Arabs.

I opted to engage myself with their various activities because a one-day interview would not be enough to fully grasp their culture. I have noted that even the 5 days that I spent with them would not be sufficient in fully comprehending their distinct culture. It gave me the chance to be accustomed with their culture and norms even within a short time period. Overall, this was a frutiful and unforgettable cultural encounter.

II.

Ethnicity has been an important issue since time immemorial. Different people have different cultures and must be understood and respected in all its aspects. The differences of each resulted to multi-faceted output but usually ends with indifference. It creates barriers for the group, restricting good relationships among people due to intercultural obstacles. Each has a different culture and environment fostering the growth of an individual, thereby inculcating in him the roots of his culture (McGoldrick, 2005).

Collins et.al (2000) stated that culture has been a measure of individuality. Individuals are confined with their own mindset, taking their race and culture as superior. Differences from what is common would mean inferiority. The issue of who’s who remains to be a real and pressing issue. And yet the only feasible means to resolve such indifferences is to learn to respect and understand each cultural difference to build on more good relationships for people with different culture.

Culture is a complex construct that needs to be intimately understood. For this immersion, Arabs would be focused on. Who are the Arabs? In these modern times, movie images and news cause Arabs to be at best, little understood. Arabs are often tagged as exotic bellydancer or the hooded terrorist. Because of these images, people have formed erroneous notions about them. One grave misconception is their constant association with terrorism and with drugs (Lewis, 1993).

Hourani (1991) writes that Arabs are those who speak Arabic as their native tongue. The Arab world must not to be confused with the “Middle East”. While Arab and Muslim history are closely associated, they are different. Arabs have been misconstrued as those composing the Muslim world. There are significant non-Muslim Arab communities and most Muslims are, in fact, from large non-Arab countries such as Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, and many of the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. There are also large Arab and non-Arab Muslim communities in North America.

Arabs are known to be generous, humanitarian, polite and loyal. These traits are often associated with them. As what Mr.C had mentioned, they are humanitarian contrary to what the news had been reporting that cause them to be perennially perceived as merciless killers. Moreover, from the community services done, it has been shown that willingness in each of them to help the other members of the Arab community is apparent. Mr.C and his business does not solely aim for the welfare of his family but also for his fellow Arabs. His fortune is not only benefitted from by his family, but by other members of the Arab community.

They have a rich cultural heritage from religion to the natural sciences. From my experience – that is, the interviews and immersions that I have participated in –  the intricate designs in their furniture showcased their superb artistic skills (Lewis, 1993). During our short conversation, I have noted that Arabs were very proud of how their culture had an impact on their lives. They have a deep appreciation of their cultural heritage. Their way of dressing has been one of the most famous hallmarks of their culture, particularly for Arab-Muslims. One can still spot them wearing just a piece of the usual costume worn in their country. Finally, their cultural contributions have also been adapted cross culturally, that even their manner of dressing and accessories have gained acceptance and even popularity in the fashion world.

III.

For  Arabs, family is very important and they are all fond with children. During the gatherings that I have attended, children were present and adults love to watch them perform, be it either singing or dancing. On the contrary, Americans deem individuality as critically important. The latter have this notion that individuals are the primary movers of nation building followed on a secondary note by the family. The family is just next of their priorities, next to their personal amibitions and agenda. Furthermore, Americans are busy building on their good careers instead of banking on building a good family (Race and History, 2007).

Mr. C manages to balance his career and family. In addition, he opted to have his business to have more time with his family particularly with his daughters. I can still recall the smile upon his face, as he sees his daughters singing or dancing. It is similar with other Arabs, where one can clearly see how ardent they are when it comes to their family. Some even make resolute decisions to leave their country and work offshore hoping to give better lives for their children. He also cited how negatively affected he was when his daughters went home crying because their classmates started teasing them because of their race.

He was very fond of his childhood memories because he was able to spend it in his country. He was not able to experience isolation from other kids since all of them are the same – of Arabic origin. He left Pakistan at the age of 25 and he cites that the decision to live in the United States was a difficult one. His experiences about work and his journey to success were not easy. He himself felt racially discriminated and he deeply resented this.

For the Arab society, men and women are not of equal footing. In so far as they are concerned, males and females are different and unequal. On the other hand, for the American society, everyone must be equal and share similar rights. Arab women are docile individuals perfecting the responsibilities of wife and a mother. American women, on the other hand, want to be treated fairly and have struggled constantly for their rights. The duties and responsibilities of women are not just confined to being a mother and wife. They are free to take on other duties as well, balancing everything (Miles, 1989).  With regards this issue, I have observed that the wife of Mr.C was classic example of an Arab woman, busy dealing with household responsibilities, addressing her family’s needs while Mr. C is preoccupied with being a good provider for the family.

For certain people, life’s journey is controlled by fate. All their actions have been addressed with an infinite being, believing that all things are possible as long as it is allowed by the one who controls life. For Americans, they do not believe in fate; instead they uphold that they control and take charge of their lives. The infinite being can guide them, yet the final decision would depend on the individual (Fernea et.al, 1997). Particularly with Arab-Muslims, one can see their devotion in giving praise and thanking “Allah” for the all the blessings given to them. Those from Western cultures do advocate faith and religion, but not with the intensity and devotion with which Arabs practice them. Moreover, such faith is manifested in both their words and deeds.

During the immersion activities, Mr. C. reiterates on his prayer, on how grateful he is that their “god” had blessed him with a good life and family. He also shares his blessings by helping his fellow Arabs who are in need. The community service that I attended was an outreach for his fellow Arabs.

Each and every race owns their own system of rules, culture and traditions. Adapting to their culture and tradition entails time. This is particularly true as we have been so much acculturated with our own norms and traditions and this causes us to be blind with those practiced by other groups. Respect is crucial; the differences cannot be solved by implying on what each wanst or by criticizing others’ cultures, or by claiming superiority. What is necessary and should be forthcoming is the recognition that each one is unique and yet have equal rights in so far as being respected and acknowledged is concerned (Miles, 1989).

The image of Arabs as dangerous people ought to be modified if not totally eliminated with continuous effort.  We cannot curtail the right of media to produce shows concerning Arabs but hopefully we can encourage that the good side of Arabic culture be emphasized and further dwelled on. The deeper reason while some of them opted to become terrorists may also be tackled to fully understand them (Lewis, 1993). With the chance to meet up with them, the humanitarian side of them has been observed and appreciated. Some of them are compelled to become terrorists because they feel discriminated and they empathize with other Arabs who suffer from merciless killings. Some of them have gone desperate about why the world had become so dangerous to live in, and since gradual change is impossible, they stick to the drastic change that involve violence.

Each of us has been called to come back to the basics – culture and religion. The ideals that each group has must be reformed for betterment of all, contributing progress for the society and humanity as a whole. All groups are created equally; the skin color, body built and height of an individual are not pertinent criteria for superiority and should never be causes for one to feel inferior to anyone. Respect is gained, so if one wants to be respected, he should be respectful to others himself (Hourani, 1991).

Mr. C has caused me made me think and reflect pensively about cultural issues. I thought that I had respect for diversity since I opted not to participate and was preoccupied with matters that exclusively concern me. With this activity, I was awakened by the reality that I was indifferent and passive. These will be of no help; actively and proactively, I ought o guard the rights of our brothers and sisters and show them that all of us deserve respect and be held with integrity and high regard.

References

Collins, M. Noble, C., Poynting, R. & Tabar, S. (2000). Kebabs, kids, cops and crime: Youth, ethnicity and crime. Sydney: Pluto Press.

Fernea, E. & Robert A. Fernea. (1997). The Arab world: Forty years of change. New York: Doubleday.

 Hourani,A. (1991).  A history of the Arab peoples.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Lewis, B. (1993). The Arabs in history. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McGoldrick, M., Giordano, J., Garcia-Preto, N. (2005). Ethnicity and family therapy (3rd edn.) New York: Guilford Press.

Miles, R. (1989). Racism. London: Routledge

Race and history. (2007). Retrieved last June 13, 2007 from http://www.raceandhistory.com/historicalviews/09122001.htm

Historical Essay – Arab League

Brief Historical Background

The Arab League is officially known as the League of Arab States that was founded on the 22nd of March, 1945, that was largely created through the initiation of Egyptian government. It is not therefore surprising that Cairo became the League’s official headquarters which was interrupted for ten years due to Egypt’s treaty with Israel (“Arab League”). Various Arab states participated and convened in Cairo to develop the political, economic and cultural ties among state within the region (“Pact of the League of Arab States”, 2008).

Its initial aim was essentially based on assisting fellow Arab states to gain liberation from being subjected to foreign rule. The Arab states are generally united in opposing Israeli occupation in the region and part of its early intentions was to block Israel from establishing as a state. Failure of such an endeavour in 1948 made a heavy blow on the League’s ability to pursue its cause.

A large part of the League’s responsibility is to promote stability in the Middle East which has been sorely saddled with several in-fighting among Muslim states as well as those that involved with third parties. Upon the following years after its foundation, the Arab League focused on fostering economic and social development of its member state.  A major effect of the cooperation among Arab states is the creation of a managed trading among Arab petroleum way back in 1959 (“League of Arab States”, 1998) that lead to a coordinated control on oil prices that held the entire world market in its own terms.

The League recognizes the right of each, and decisions are thereby resolved through voting where each member represents a single vote within the organization’s Council. Disagreements have often checkered the relations among Muslim states which gravely hampered the league’s function, particularly those concerns which consist of warring political agendas.

Method of Settling Conflicts

In order to achieve its purpose and maintain harmony between relations among member states of the Arab League, all parties are subject to the body’s ruling to resolve existing or future disagreements through peaceful means. By peaceful means, the organization believes that it should adhere to avoiding any use of military force and therefore must be bound to political and diplomatic process in settling disputes. Legally, the members have a venue of expressing and presenting their position and grievances that are stated within the Charter’s V Article, with the final aim of arriving on conflict resolutions between two opposing parties. Embodied within the provision include:

Mediation

The Arab League anticipates the inevitable rise of disagreement even amongst Muslim brother states, especially where it concerns the pursuance of interests of a member state that conflicts with other members within the League. But in order to prevent it from developing into bigger crisis through the outbreak of war, the organization has the authority to intervene and impose peaceful means through mediation.

But there are many limitations to this provision which has also greatly affected the affectivity of the League Council concerning such matters. In not a few instances, such means had been challenged by various factors such as the willingness of each concerned parties to submit to the sovereignty of the organization, as well as other outside pressures.

Arbitration

Resorting to court arbitration is largely dependent on the state involved in the dispute. Nowhere does the League’s charter provide to coerce its members to submit to judicial process under the League’s Council regardless of the severity of the problem.

There is also a lack of condition upon the League’s terms to penalize the member state that refuse to abide upon decisions and resolutions that evolved out of mediation process. This has been widely seen as a major cause of weakness for the effectiveness of the process of settling disputes (Dhabi, 2006).

Points of Conflict

There were various circumstances which posed a great challenge to the very relevance of the League’s existence. The main issues can generally be summed into these categories:

  • Border issues
  • Relations with Israel
  • Religious factions  causing  political tensions
  • The formation and promotion of allies that will help advance their own interest

These disagreements have often escalated to wars that became prominent in various incidents in the region’s history which includes the following actions by the Arab League’s member states:

Iraq: In 1948, Iraq joined Arab States in the war against Israel. But after their humiliating defeat, it did not participate in such wars. In 1955, it even joined Britain, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan in a defense alliance called the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO), or the Baghdad Pact. This treaty was viewed with contention by other Arab countries, seeing it as a possible threat to the Arab’s cause. This pact was really aimed against Egypt’s anti-British president Nasser, whom the Western powers wanted to check. But when the Iraqi monarchy was ousted by military leaders, the new policy turned anti-West and pro-Egypt.

Meanwhile, Arab neighbours experienced much trouble with Iraq. In 1961, it refused to recognize the independence of Kuwait. After the war with Iran, Iraq began to set its eyes on Kuwait, with whom it has had a border grievance for ages. Kuwait was only carved out of Iraq by the British colonial officials who drew the present-day territorial boundaries between the two countries on lines in the desert.

So, ever since Kuwait and Iraq were separated, Iraq claimed that it lost a rich avenue to the Persian Gulf when Kuwait was formed. Together with UN and Western powers, the Allied Arab international military operations sent troops, tanks, planes and warships to force Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. But the current war in Iraq and the death of Pres. Saddam Hussein has evoked rage among fellow Arab countries.

Lebanon: A Lebanon Crisis in 1958 caused great conflicts within and among other Arab states. The nation was greatly divided by religious factions that define the external alliance by which the country will build. Lebanese Christian and Muslims almost divided the country through a civil war, since the Christians led by Pres. Chamoun, wanted the entire country to side with Western powers. In contrast, pressures from Muslims wanted the government to keep its alliance strictly with Arab nations (Gerges, 1993).

Egypt: In 1975, the Israelis returned oil fields and two mountain passes to the Egyptians in exchange for passage of Israeli ships through the Suez Canal. On November 19, 1977 President Sadat of Egypt made a historic visit to Israel and addressed the Knesset (parliament). Israel Prime Minister Menachem Begin returned his visit at Ismaili, Egypt on Dec. 25-26. By March 24, 1979 Egypt and Israel signed a historic peace treaty, their first.

Israel retuned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt and the two countries have since lived in peace with each other. This greatly angered the Arab community and Egypt was dismissed in the League’s membership, and prompting the Council to move its headquarters to Tunis. Egypt was re-accepted as member ten years later, on 1989.

Saudi Arabia: Its foreign policy is notable for developments which includes the oil cartel, the Arab support for Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War. Oil is used as a weapon in the Arab-Israeli conflict although they stopped joining the war with Israel after 1948; the Saudis gave moral support to the other Arabs. For instance, they banned oil shipments to the US and other countries supporting Israel. After that, they raised the price of oil from $7 to $14/barrel. This skyrocketing in the price of oil caused a worldwide economic crisis and hyper-inflation for most countries.

During the Iran-Iraq War, the Saudis have led other Arabs in supporting the Iraq government. The Saudis, who belong to the Strict Wahabi Sunni sect, hate and fear the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran who leads the minority Shiite sect. The Saudis gave $4 billion a year to the Iraq war effort. But when the Desert Storm War began on January 16, 1991, Iraq fired a series of Scud missiles against Saudi Arabia.

Palestine: Troubles in Israel and Palestine had become sources of more wars, which had involved the Big Powers. PLO’s entrance to the League as Palestine’s official representative caused opposition from Jordan. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) led by Yasser Arafat and the prime minister of Israel, General Yitzhak Rabin, singed a historic peace accord at the White House in Washington, D.C. to end decades of war, terrorism and enmity between the Arab and the Jews. The strained relations need the continual support to negotiate differences through peaceful means, such as the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative (Zaide et al., 2004, p. 111-142).

Conclusion

 Arab states are united by common mistrust against the West and animosity for Israelis, but conflicts among Arab nations is not uncommon. Common areas of Arab disputes arise from differing political positions that are highly influenced by its leaders. Most of these conflicts are expressed in emotionally charged encounters that often baffle observers through western perspective. It is often characteristic of the Arab culture which is intrinsic within their system of relations. Charged with a competitive spirit, dispute can rise between brothers, but the same brothers can band together to fight a relative, and the brothers and the relative will band together against foreign threats (Badolato, 2006). Such is the frame of mind by which Arab conflicts should be viewed.

The character of relations between Arab states then, is volatile. A nation’s policy is also highly dependent not on its own policies but on the personality and biases of its leaders. Consequently, international relations are as much volatile, shifting from highly hostile, moderate, to accommodating.

Although much has been seen and said about the several conflicts which has surfaced and resurfaced among middle east affairs, it should not be ignored though that the intermittent meetings among leaders of each state has somehow played a key role of lessening the  number of disagreements that could develop into graver and serious results.

Existing conflicts though could not always avoid external interference and the League’s Council should maintain a flexible perspective and relations to the rest of the world. Example of which involved the Iraq-Kuwait conflict, where solutions were achieved which involved working outside the League’s framework to restore stability in the region. International interference, especially by US or Britain, among local disputes still evokes conflicting sentiments. The United Nations though has displayed a more rapid response in accomplishing the same objective in upholding the region’s general welfare.

Works Cited

  1. Arab League. Retrieved Dec. 16, 2008, from  History.com Web site:  http://www.history.com/encyclopedia.do?articleId=201342
  2. Yale Law School. (1988).Pact of the League of Arab States. Retrieved Dec. 17, 2008, from The Avalon Project. Web site: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/arableag.asp
  3. The League of Arab States. Britannica, The New Encyclopedia (vol. 1, pp. 505).

    Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.

  4. Dhabi, A. (2006). Means for Settling Disputes in the Framework of the League of Arab

    States.  Retrieved Dec. 16, 2008, from Middle East Network Blog

  5. Web site: http://lynncole.com/blog/index.php?blog=2&m=200802 http://lynncole.com/blog/index.php?blog=2&m=200802
  6. Gerges, F. (1993). The Lebanese Crisis of 1958: The Risks of Inflated Self-Importance. Beirut Review, 83-113.
  7. Zaide, Gregorio & Sonia Zaide. (2004). Middle East or Western Asia. History of Asian Nations (pp. 111-142). Quezon: All-Nations Publishing Co.
  8. Badolato, E. (2006). Learning to Think Like an Arab Muslim: A Short Guide to Understanding the Arab Mentality. Retrieved Dec 16, 2008,Web site: http://www.blackwaterusa.com/btw2004/articles/0503arabs.html

Arab Nationalism – Arabism

Arab nationalism (Arabism) referred to Arab unity based on Arab cultural awakening. Originally intended to stop violence and chaos in the period of pre-Islamic Arabia, it is now a response to Western colonial, and, later, neocolonial penetration.

Arab nationalism (Arabism) is currently regarded as a response to Western colonial, and, later, neocolonial penetration. Most states in the Middle East achieved sovereignty after World War II. However, the respective local Arab movements of these countries failed to achieve genuine political independence and viable economic growth. Consequently, a more radical doctrine emerged in the region. One of the most notable characteristics of this policy was that it espoused Arab unity based on Arab cultural awakening. In addition, it blamed the West (specifically the United States) for all the political, economic and social problems of Middle Eastern countries (Choueiri, 2000).

Arabism rose and developed alongside Islam. The Koran, for instance, contained a passage that spoke of unity among all Arab peoples under Islam: “A messenger has now come to you from among yourselves.” One traditional belief among Muslims, meanwhile, was that the prophet Muhammad said, “I am an Arab, the (Koran) is in Arabic and the language of the denizens of Paradise is Arabic” (Haj, 1997). Islam was said to have ended jahiliyya (“Days of Ignorance”) by eliminating the narrow blood and tribal ties that people during this period used as justifications for violence and lawlessness. Islam instead promoted “religious patriotism” through the “Community of the Faithful” – the Ummah or the “Arab Nation” (Haj, 1997).

Although Arabism referred to Islam as a unifying force for all Arabs, it was traditionally a religious ideology and not a political one. It was not until the late 19th and the early 20th century that Arabism became a political doctrine. Increasing Western influence over the Ottoman Empire bred sentiments of national self-determination among the citizens of its colonies, including the Muslims in the Middle East. Arabism resurged as a result. It called for the Nahda (“Arab awakening”) or Arab independence after centuries of supposed subjugation (Kramer, 1996).

After World War I, however, Europe (led by Britain and France) partitioned the Ottoman Empire. In addition, a new form of nationalism, Zionism, was on the rise in Palestine. Consequently, Arabism assumed a more radical stance after World War II. This new type of Arabism – pan-Arabism – envisioned a distinct Arab nation that was composed of all Arab countries throughout the world (Kramer, 1996).

Former Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser is often hailed as one of the greatest champions of pan-Arabism. After overthrowing King Farouk in 1952, he called on all Arab nations to unite against their “common foes” – Zionism and Western imperialism. Under Nasser’s regime, Egypt became a close ally of the Soviet Union (the latter supplied Egypt with weaponry through the Czech-Egyptian arms deal of 1995) and the Suez Canal was nationalized (July 1956). His government also obtained the support of India, China, Indonesia and Yugoslavia. Despite immense local and international opposition, Nasser managed to stay in power for 18 years until his death on September 28, 1970 (Brown, 1984).

Despite his reputation as one of the foremost pan-Arabic figures, Nasser “gave pan-Arabism…its tragic end in 1967” (Ajami, 1992). Egypt’s defeat to Israel in the Six-Day War (June 5-10, 1967) was said to be the end result of the shortcomings of the Nasserite administration (Rabinovich and Shaked, 1978). Prior to the Six-Day War, Egypt plunged its economy into bankruptcy by waging costly wars with Syria and Yemen. Egypt’s loss in the Six-Day War, therefore, reflected the shallowness of pan-Arabism. While pan-Arabism can generate popular support by capitalizing on nationalistic fervor, it was not enough to bring peace and stability to a country (Ajami, 1992).

Another effect of Egypt’s defeat in the Six-Day War is that it divided Arab leaders into those who finally adopted Western political and economic models and those who continued to embrace the rhetoric of messianic governments. Leaders such as Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi of Iran, King Hussein of Jordan and King Faisal of Saudi Arabia exemplified the former, while Ayatollah Ruollah Khomeini of Iraq and Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi of Libya comprised the latter.

Because of the aforementioned divide, the idea of interdependence among Arab countries was rendered almost impossible. Furthermore, the triumph of the Iranian Revolution in 1979 introduced the concept of “political Islam.” After Khomeini overthrew the Shah, Arabism became synonymous to the establishment of Arab states that are based on the sharia (Islamic law). Countries such as Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon, Turkey and Afghanistan followed suit – the success of the Iranian Revolution made them view Islam as the only solution to the poverty, corruption and disorder that Western political and economic models allegedly caused them. At present, “political Islam” is still the basis for the ideology of terrorist groups such as the Al-Qaeda and the Hezbollah (MSN Encarta, 2008).

Arab nationalism or Arabism was originally a path to peace unity. The prophet Muhammad came up with it in order to stop the carnage that was very rampant in pre-Islamic Arabia. During the time of the Ottoman Empire, progressive Arabs used Arabism as a means of inspiring their fellow citizens to join in their struggle for independence. But Arabism gained its current notoriety when it was used as a justification for mindless violence. Under the guise of “unity among all Arab nations,” senseless wars were waged while the real causes of division – conflict due to poverty and corruption – were left unresolved.