The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs

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9780060981037: The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs

The spirit of nationalism and self-determination swept through the Arab nations in the aftermath of World War II, as it did elsewhere in the world. The new men of the Arab world - Nasser, Ben Bella and others - saw a great future, yet modernity has not found suitable expression. In no Arab country today is there democratic process, freedom of speech, or security, guaranteed by law, for the individual or for property. Despite technical assistance and aid flowing into Arab countries and the stupendous wealth produced from oil, the vast majority of ordinary Arabs remain poor and violence is endemic. The author argues with extraordinary persuasiveness that the Arabs are caught in a closed circle from which they have not been able to escape, a circle defined by deeply rooted tribalism, religious and cultural traditions. It gives a completely new understanding of processes and events in the Middle East.

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About the Author:

David Pryce-Jones is the author of many works of non-fiction, including The War that Never Was about the collapse of the Soviet Union, and Paris in the Third Reich. He has also written nine novels, of which Inheritance is his most recent. He lives in London.

From Publishers Weekly:

Following the end of colonial rule in the Middle East, the newly independent Arab nations did not become progressive and free: they are despotic; most persecute religious or ethnic minorities; all oppress women; none has participatory institutions. In a scathing and provocative critique, Pryce-Jones ( Paris in the Third Reich ; Cyril Connolly ) blames these dismal conditions on what he sees as a Muslim reversion to tribal and kinship structures as well as slavish obedience to complex codes of honor and shame that prevent concepts such as open debate, democracy and accountability from taking root. With Islamocentric shortsightedness, Arabs understood Nazism in terms of German revenge for humiliation suffered in World War I. Arab leaders admired both Hitler and Lenin as careerist conspirators who made good. Pryce-Jones sees the same tribal, king-of-the-hill mentality at work today in the Palestine Liberation Organization, a careerist group built around a few audacious personalities who arrogated the right to speak for a whole people.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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