Sociology and Statesmanship

Modern pattern of life spread in the East along with other manifestations of European civilization. The prevalence of both elements had an immediate effect on social behavior and its basis. In this process, the good and the bad faced each other as is normally witnessed in all quick changes.

Seldom does any social change take place without changing the family, common traditions and the relationship between the classes.

This rapid change left a deep impression on all the three phases of life particularly the family. Education, the emancipation of woman and the development of requirements of life worked together to lessen the urge for polygamy. The educated man wants a wife in order to share with her a life full of understanding and sentiment. At the same time, he does not like his daughter or sister to be exposed to the hazards of having a co-wife and to the disputes between the wives of a polygamous husband. The emancipated woman, on the other hand, seeks a husband who would share with her a life full of love and affection. She wants him to treat her as a partner in his domestic and psychological life. It is a fact that the cost of living and expenditure on his sons' education art so high that one husband cannot bear the responsibility for more than one family.

International law banned having slave girls, all avenues of having more than one wife through slavery or underhand means were closed. Previously, slave girls were taken by well-to-do families as a mark of nobility.

It was noticed that Egyptian families became keen to celebrate, within their houses, occasions which were not familiar to Easterners before adopting European culture. These included the observance of marriage anniversaries, birthdays of fathers, mothers and sons and the observing of festivals observed only by Westerners such as the New Year and so on. On these occasions they indulged in gambling and drinking which were not known hitherto in family circles, these became permissible now.

By this strange mixture of ways of life the Eastern family gained much on one hand but on other accounts it lost. The Eastern nations borrowed from the West leisure hours and outings. Not all of these habits were in agreement with demands of family life and education of children which were the responsibility of parents. In some societies feminist emancipation mean release from all bonds including those of sincerity and loyalty and faithfulness to husbands and sons. The result was that the structure of families, following the Western pattern, collapsed. Eastern society was subjected to hard tests which it is trying today to avoid, it is still continuing to avoid the hazards. This process will go on until society reaches a stage where stability is achieved and the demands of society and family are fully met without any clash.

After contacts with the European civilization relations between the classes in Eastern nations did not change much. Europe prevented the setting up of big industries in the Eastern countries and monopolized their markets reserved for their products only. The farmers and landowners were obliged to stick to their post and industry was at a standstill with the result that not one single group of workers of one place put up a demand for its rights collectively as was the case in big industrial capitals.

Europe also stood, indirectly, in the way of the reconstruction of classes in all Eastern countries, regardless of different economic resources. It did not do that purposely but the result was the same. European capital poured into these countries and funds, banks and companies were established to exploit the rich and poor peoples alike. Due to this factor the division of classes was delayed as they had to face the foreign capital.

Except the cooperative movement which appeared on a small and limited scale in cities and villages, the economic relations of the classes did not change to keep pace with the political strides made by the Easterners in achieving freedom and securing legal recognition in international dealings. Regarding the construction of the classes it could be said that the educational facilities and the overcrowding of cities have doubled the power of the middle class with the result that its voice is now heard in the field of national polices. The poor class still depends on the middle class in its claim for rights and in submitting complaints. But during recent years, especially at the end of the World War II, and a as result of the cry for justice and the securing of rapprochement between the classes during and after the war, this class began to gradually achieve independence of thought.

If reference is made in our talk of social economy, or the economy connected with the spirit and manners of the society, it may be mentioned that among the newly-introduced things in the Muslim East, which could not be ignored, is that this area was generous in allowing the establishment of banks and accepting dealings with small interest which was not considered as excessive usury forbidden by the Holy Quran.

If we take into consideration the efforts made by the Eastern nations in all fields it is clear that its political awakening preceded the social awakening by one or two strides. It is in their national interest that these nations maintain a balance between their efforts in the political and the social fields after exhausting their major force. This, however, followed their first awakening to achieve their national objectives and establishing representative governments.

In another chapter we discussed in some detail nationalism and representative government. Concerning political reconstruction it could be added that the clashes which took place between the West and the East had their effect on the government's machinery rather than the activities of the people. Each government with some sort of freedom adopted the military system and set up on modern lines which was known as national or civil courts. Before abolishing privileges enjoyed by foreigners, these nations had no option but to borrow generally the European jurisprudence and legal system.

Among the results of the contact between the Arab and European civilization which cannot possibly be ignored is the fact that the European policy was met in the Arab East by a new force in politics known as pan-Arabism. This force is not confined to the politicians and leaders alone. In fact, it derives its strength from the awakening of the people and the urge to revive the Arab legacy which flourished two hundred years ago. Pan-Arabism is a popular force among the Arabic speaking population everywhere.

People given to making hasty conclusions are prone to say that it was due to planning by the European and have the misconception that it is a maneuver and a result of some conspiracy. This judgment was passed as regards pan-Arabism since it was noticed that European policy is in harmony with it and has no plans to make it a failure. But this undoubtedly is a deviation from correct thinking. European policy, however powerful and capable of planning and maneuvering has no inclination to take sides with a shadow. It does not create something out of nothing or establishing a movement devoid of every logic in which millions of people take part.

The politicians do make use of slogans and movements after their coming into being, but they do not create them. They do not even understand what is coming in this sphere. There were numerous international conferences held in the 18th and the 19th centuries, none of them cared to admit the peoples' rights or the right for self-determination. They did not refrain from doing so because they were unwilling to deceive or to indulge in plotting. They simply did not find any sign of a movement for these rights among the people. But when there was something in the air, it was frequently referred to in the speeches of the politicians, There were references to this in government programs and proceeding of the conferences and this resulted in increasing the number of independent people year after year.

The Arab awakening is an accomplished fact. It is a natural movement and there is no doubt about it. It came into being despite the hostile European policy and it is not the choice or the creation of the Europeans. The Arab awakening was consolidated between the two world wars and it has come to stay. It has no mind to retreat.

Early in the 19th Century Ibrahim Pasha was asked while fighting the Ottoman State : «Is there a limit to your conquests?. He replied «The will go on until I reach a non-Arabic speaking land». He meant to say that he wanted to establish a pure Arab state without expanding it beyond its logical frontiers.

At the same time Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Abdel Wahab proclaimed in Nejd a revolt against the Ottoman authority and amassed around himself the Arab tribes to secure independence from foreign domination.

Arabia, at that time, suffered no foreign domination except the nominal sovereignty and an indirect control exercised by foreigners. But it did not touch her home affairs at all. The state of affairs were such the princes of Nejd, Kuwait, Hedjaz and Yemen stood to gain much and had to give very little to the Ottomans. The Arab Emirs enjoyed independence in the cities and the desert alike especially in the areas where the Ottoman soldiers could not penetrate except by permission issued by the Arabs themselves. Iraq was close the border stations and was defended by the state armies. Otherwise her position, in general, might have been similar to that of the Arabian peninsula.

North Africa could defend her independence and safeguard the possessions of her princes and the peoples against the French by onslaught.

As regards Syria and the Lebanon, the peoples welcomed the movements for unity with the other Arab nations, the Levantines were in continued contact with the Nile Valley and Arabia. The open and secret relations between the Arab princes and Muhammad Ali the Great were a constant anxiety to the Ottoman rulers.

European policy took up a position of hostility towards the movement. It wanted to demoralize the Arabs and to keep them in the grip of the Ottoman state. Europe wanted the Arabs to remain as deprived as possible of their right to sovereignty and independence.

This opposition, however, met with only occasional success. The Arab nations resumed their activities to achieve their objectives. There was in Egypt an (Egypt for Egyptians) movement; the Sudan was in revolt against the Turks and all foreigners. In Arabia, a unified appeal for independence emerged which suffered at intervals from rivalries between tribal chiefs and provincial princes. The Syrians, the Lebanese and the Iraqis joined

the "Young Turk" party which promised them a «decentralized» government, which meant at Arab administration for Arab countries, to be established according to their will and by their own people.

At this stage of the Arab cause European policy either betrayed the Arabs or tried to obstruct their march towards independence as far as possible.

With the outbreak of the World War, Pan-Arabism resumed its work, moving sometimes in the right direction and sometimes in the wrong. The European countries competed with each other in winning supporters from among the Arab nations which had achieved independence or aspired to it. When the war ended, all the Arab nations were agreed in demanding liberty and asking, in the name of Arabism, the establishment of a league in which its members can exercise full and complete independence.

Despite the fact that Europe opposed and tried to demoralize the move, yet it encouraged it at intervals without any planning.

The British, for instance, encouraged the Egyptians to proceed with their call of" Egypt for Egyptians" because this would eventually lead to separation of Egypt from the Ottoman state. The British, on the other hand, tried to suppress this move as it was an open revolt against the British domination and could prove a hindrance to British expansionism.

The French founded in Syria schools printing presses and academies to publish the Arabic books, propagate Arab culture and to receive the old Arab heritage. In doing so, France was motivated by a desire to separate the Arabs from the Ottoman state. She had no inclination to see the Arabs immune from foreign greed.

In North Africa, the French adopted another course of action as they were the only rulers who were against an awakening or a religious or cultural league coming into being in that area.

The Germans also tried to win over the pan-Islamic movement in their favor. It aimed at making contacts with both the Turks and the Arabs alike. By pushing through this movement, the Germans aspired to bring under their control some of the Arab countries to reach India and Asian countries more easily. In order to realize their dreams the Germans persuaded Sultan Abdel Hamid to construct roads to facilitate communications throughout Syria and Arabia. They wanted their dream of «From Berlin to Baghdad» and «From Baghdad to India» to come true.

European policy faced, at that time, a force which benefited them either through their opposition to it or through their support of it. The notion that Europe created the popular Arab force is nothing but a contradiction of hard facts; it is denial of history at the same time. This force enters today a new phase, not due to foreign polices or external influence exercised by the British or Americans, but because of its love of existence.

Great Britain may have interest in cultivating friendship with the League. But if Britain were to cultivate the Greeks or the Italians it would not be fair to say that Britain created Greek or the Italian nationalism. It is also unfair to state that she was in a position to ignore both nationalisms or to frustrate their goals in case of a change of British policy in the near or distant future.

It is clear now that the Arab League or pan-Arabism is an old and a natural movement. At present, in particular, it has gained by its quality of being natural. It admits the rights of countries and seeks cooperation among neighbors in all matters, particularly in big international issues. The Arabs want their countries to be independent and to come closer to each other in an attempt to secure cooperation for realization of common interests which are apart from those secured in the past or the present, or those which are yet to be secured in future. These interests cannot be realized through individual efforts. The Arabs like to be given the chance to take part in big world issues which concern them directly, or indirectly through other peoples of the world.

Pan-Arabism has a political future which will be connected with international affairs and changes and the nature of relations between the people and governments. The Arab awakening is a fact which is not only political in nature - it originates from the realities of life and not from the plans made by a state and leaders.