Friday, November 20, 2009

Finally Settling Down and The Arab World

This week we finished reading Maalouf’s Leo Africanus, and also read two articles about the Arab world. At the end Leo Africanus, Hasan, known now as Leo Africanus, finally settles down for a life with his family after around 40 years of moving around. It begins with Hasan marrying a new woman because a Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church requested him to. Once the new pope comes to power he starts making new laws that Hasan opposes. Hasan begins writing and distributing articles against the new pope that wind up getting him imprisoned. The pope ends up getting poisoned and Hasan is released, which is when he finally decides to “retire” from traveling and settle down. We also read “Special Report on the Arab World,” and an article by Mohammed Bamyeh called “Global Affinities Beyond the State: Lessons from the Historical Structures of Muslim Society.” In the “Special Report…” it talks about the violent history of the Arab world, but it also proposes that there has been modernization and progression in the Arab world in the past years.

In the “Special Report on the Arab World,” I found the sheer facts amazing. I found this article to be more interesting than the other. One thing that truly stuck out to me was in the letter Mr. bin Laden wrote to Mullah Omar where he talks about how “75% of the world’s oil was found in the Persian Gulf region and that ‘whoever has dominion over the oil has dominion over the economies of the world.”’

The other part in this article that I found particularly interesting in the “Special Report on the Arab World” was how they worked back along in a string of events to possibly find the jumping off point that let to America’s “War on Terror.” The author of the article believes that “the year Saddam invaded Kuwait” in 1990 was a changing point that provided the way for multiple events including the attacks on September 11th. So what I was wondering, is if you believe that one event or outcome can be traced back years, decades or centuries to one event? Or do you believe that there are many different things put together to end up with an outcome? Any thoughts?

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