Continuum, 9780826490551, 145pp.
Publication Date: May 1, 2007
Essential reading for anyone interested in the Middle East today. The perfect antidote to prejudice, ignorance and racial injustice.
The level of noise about the Arab world has been steadily rising. In the pastfifteen years outsiders have twice sent armies to war in the Middle East to liberate Kuwait from Saddam and then to overthrow him in Iraq. Chronic strife has also afflicted Algeria, Sudan, Lebanon and, by extension, Syria. Palestinians and Israelis have seen long periods of violence. The disaster of 9/11 has precipitated "The War on Terror" and scarcely an Arab country since has been free of terrorist attacks or the tension of retaliatory operations against terrorist groups.
Futurologists forecast that by 2025 the European Union will need up to a hundred and ten million new migrant workers, if European populations are to maintain today's proportions of workers to pensioners. Many of these migrants are expected to come to Europe from Arab countries. Yet a rising level of general migration, a sub-trend of globalization, has already made immigration a hot issuein elections in European countries.
Among the consequences of all of this has been an appalling amount of ignorance, prejudice and hatred of Arab people everywhere. Sir Mark Allen's Who is an Arab?is a passionate and highly informed attempt at an antidote. The book looks at what defines the Arab as a person, the influences and conditions which tell us what the Arab is like and, perhaps, why. The book is more concerned with the people themselves than with history, battles and dates. Also, entering into the spirit of the conviction that we can easily miss the personal dimension, the author shares much of how his own experience shapes his point of view. His knowledge of the Middle East and Arab world today is matchless.