Wednesday, January 24

History... On the Go

I am writing this from the computer station at AUC's Library, tomorrow is my final exam...

Yes, I'm not taking my winter break and decided to take an inter-term session to take an extra course ... What a nerd!


well, the course title is Survey of Arab History. It's a very interesting course that covers the region of the so called 'Middle East' since Greek times until the Twentieth Century... Meaning that we had to cover almost 2500 years of civilization (and un-civilization) in 21 days!

So, amid the 100-pages-a-day daily assignments and the weekly midterms... I got the flu!
in CAIRO !
the coldest temperature in winter here is like 20 degrees!

So, I spent 3 days in bed and hence I missed 800 hundred years (the entire Ottoman Empire era!), and today we covered nineteenth and early twentieth century with the two World Wars, and talked about the birth of Arab Nationalism, Palestine and 'Arab Socialism', which, by the way, in no means is similar to socialism of Marx.

And tomorrow is our final exam.

I really learnt a lot from this course... Not in terms of gaining information, I almost knew all that history since I was in grade 6 thanks to Saddam's socialist regime that made me study the history of all Arab countries for the last thousand years! ...

But, I learnt that history is not merely the information of the past... For that is called Past. History is the present study of the present records of the past, and the changes that happen in societies (vis-a-vis the continuities that are in societies), and how these events had influenced other events in taking place or prevented them from taking place. In other words, the cause and effect of the past events.

History, therefore, leads to the understanding of natures of societies, states, dynasties, religions, and most importantly, human.

I believe that those who think who know history just by knowing events and dates, or those who know history just by names (especially those who believe that "great people make history") are extremely superficial. History is a key in understanding politics, economics, sociology and anthropology, even to the present.

That's in my opinion the main reason for Bush and Blair to have this complete failing strategies (especially regarding their foreign policies) and loser governments... Both believe that they can write history as they want, both don't realize that history is going to write them.

So, to Bush and Blair: grab a book and read history before you make more stupid decisions about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Iraq, or anywhere in the 'Middle-East'.

I always wonder when the White House will realize that it's not 'middle' and start calling it the Extreme East instead.

It sounds even better, EE!

I'll get back to my study now.

meanwhile, you have to go read mom's revisit to history... And leave a birthday comment on the Olivebranch Network because tomorrow (Thursday) is their birthday!


Anonymous said...

What Arab history? Arabs were bunch of barbarian herds living on the outlayers of the Persian and Roman empires. What exactly do they teach you that involves Greeks? By the time Arabs took over the region Greeks were long gone.

sara said...

Where did respect go now?!

Boring old swot said...

I'm interested in history too and what I'd like to know about, is, what happened to Arabian women in history?

If you can find out, please elucidate. You will probably need to look carefully at paintings and read between the lines like everyone in Europe does, at least, anyone who tries to find out what happened to their sisters.

You might find that heavy-duty head-wear was not worn by ancient Eastern women of high (or royal) standing because heavy duty head-wear was of an out-doors and practical nature for agricultural laborers, and so forth, to keep off the sun and shield the wearer in dusty weather.

Look for women of status in very old paintings (before photography) and check out their clothes. They might wear a few flimsy veils and things but what's the bet their clothes will be fashionable items that show off the wearer's "assets" rather then items designed for modesty.

You probably won't find as many paintings of working class women because they couldn't afford portraits - but you can be almost certain that some biblical portraiture will be drawn from working class models who might of been the artists' wives and daughters.

This is something you, as a young netizen, nerd or not, should be interested in - because you can bet your nerdy 3am bedtime that sooner or later you're going to meet a feminist and you might as well be prepared.

elman said...
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