Friday, November 20, 2009

End of LA, and beginning of modern Islam

This week found the end of the interesting and emotionally riveting book Leo Africanus. I liked this book quite a bit because it was able to relay key historical events and social customs and the status quo of the time in a way that was easy to understand, internalize and see with multiple perspectives. Seeing history through the microperspective really gave the otherwise objective historical events some humanity.
We moved on to modern day dynamics with Islam. The statistics regarding the Arab/Muslim's preoccupation and prioritization of the "Israel problem" to be an interesting point. The conclusion from the statistic even more important. While the "Israel problem" continues, countries are often in states of emergency that allow leaders to seek respite from having to address internal problems with jobs, infrastructure, etc. While the citizens see the "Israel problem" as one of the most important things to address, how and when will they push for other changes (infrastructure, jobs, etc). The third article talks about three things that allowed Islam to flourish in the past, partial control, freedom of movement and heteroglossia. These three principles have been largely violated in modernity and because of this trangression, the world of Islam is no longer as it was nor as "successful." These principles are not unique to Islam, but are needed for any global type system to work. In the present day, sovereigns have tried to take complete authoritarian control of their regions, borders have restricted movement, and states (in conjuction with total control) have tried to force a single orthodoxy on their people. The idea is that if we go more towards these core principles, a successful global system is likely.

I found the connection, relevance and importance of government in violating the three core principles of the past very interesting. By directly violating the idea of partial control and recognizing others forms of authority outside of the sovereign government, the governments now have to face the problems associated with authoritarian states. This includes, having to censor and restrict cultural beliefs. This leads to the violation of heteroglossia. It seems like the violations reinforce and perpetuate eachother.

One question that I think would be interesting to think about would be if there was a single event or a small group of events that occurred close together that shifted the balance from the core principles to not the principles. What changed that gave rise to these authoritarian regimes, etc?

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