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Being Arab is a brilliant exploration of the current political and intellectual stagnation of the Arab world, by one of its most prominent journalists.
In explaining how the region arrived at this point, Kassir turns to the past, revisiting the Arab “golden age,” the extraordinary nineteenth-century flowering of cultural expression that continued into the twentieth as, from Cairo to Baghdad and from Beirut to Casablanca, painters, poets, musicians, playwrights and novelists came together to create a new, living Arab culture. Considering the huge impact of modernity on the region, and the accompanying shockwaves that turned society upside-down, Kassir states that the current crisis in Arab identity lies in the failure to come to terms with modernity, turning instead to false solutions such as pan-Arabism and Islamism.
Being Arab is a clarion call, urging Arabs to embrace their own history, to reject Western double standards and Islamism alike, and to take the future of the region into their own hands.