A Land of Aching Hearts: The Middle East in the Great War by Leila Tarazi Fawaz

By Leila Tarazi Fawaz

The nice battle remodeled the center East, bringing to an finish 400 years of Ottoman rule in Arab lands whereas giving upward thrust to the center East as we all know it at the present time. A century later, the stories of standard women and men in the course of these calamitous years have light from reminiscence. A Land of Aching Hearts traverses ethnic, type, and nationwide borders to get well the non-public tales of the civilians and squaddies who persevered this cataclysmic event.

between those that suffered have been the folk of larger Syria―comprising glossy Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine―as good because the humans of Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt. past the moving fortunes of the battlefield, the quarter used to be devastated by way of a British and French naval blockade made worse by means of Ottoman conflict measures. Famine, sickness, inflation, and an inflow of refugees have been daily realities. however the neighborhood populations weren't passive sufferers. Fawaz chronicles the initiative and resilience of civilian émigrés, marketers, draft-dodgers, squaddies, villagers, and townsmen decided to outlive the struggle as top they can. the correct mix of ingenuity and practicality usually intended the adaptation among lifestyles and death.

The war’s aftermath proved sour for plenty of survivors. Nationalist aspirations have been quashed as Britain and France divided the center East alongside synthetic borders that also reason resentment. The distress of the nice struggle, and a profound experience of big sacrifices made in useless, could colour people’s perspectives of politics and the West for the century to come.

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Rulers and ruled, sultans and subjects, empire and province, millets and guilds, these were still the familiar dichotomies that defined life in the late nineteenth century, as they had for centuries before it. 3 And yet the integration of the Middle East into the world economy, and the social, cultural, and political disruption it caused, loosened expectations that had been moored to centuries of tradition. Again, at the heart of that process stood the Industrial Revolution. 10 A L A N D O F A C H I N G H E A RT S The European industrial breakthrough powered the Middle East toward modernity as nothing else could have done so comprehensively.

But even while the congress highlighted a common yearning for greater freedom, the delegates differed in their outlook. Coastal Syrians who had more experience with Europe were on the whole more intent on a pluralistic decentralization than those who represented the remote interior. 58 To summarize the proceedings, “in a general Ottoman reform there should be autonomy for the Arab provinces, with Arabic as an official language there and in the Ottoman Parliament, and local military ser vice. ”59 In Egypt, the political evolution toward nationalism took place in a different context than in Syria or Iraq.

But despite this public Arab weariness, the Young Turks should not be understood as synonymous with Turkish nationalism, a popular belief that the historians of the Young Turks reject. In fact, the Young Turk umbrella sheltered 22 A L A N D O F A C H I N G H E A RT S many non-Turks, non-Muslims, and Arabs. Indeed, the leadership remained steadfastly committed to an ideologically multinational empire. In fact, Arabs sent their sons to schools in Istanbul, and shared similar outlooks with their Turkish counterparts in a world where privilege and connections put them on top of the social order.

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