New age in the history of the Middle East

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It's worth noting the unique moment in the history of the Arab world. Below are well-thought-out excerpts that help to contextualize this phenomenon:

The people, for perhaps the first time, feel that their future is in their own hands. And it is on a grand scale, from Morocco to Iraq: all the Arab world is touched by this.

So what can we expect to come? The short answer: it's too soon to say. (...) Amidst this uncertainty, there is however one thing I'm sure of, and that is that we are beginning to enter a new age in the history of the Middle East. And what's exciting about this new age is its optimism.

What's going on in Bahrain and why?, Ali Al-Jamri

"Considerations sur le malheur arabe" is an attempt to analyse the prevailing mood in the Arabic world today. It is written from the viewpoint of one of the shrewdest and most incisive Arab intellectuals, and it seems correct and pertinent in many of the points it makes. He places his hopes in the positive consequences of a process of cultural globalisation that could draw Arab countries closer together while also enabling them to open up to the outside world.

In his view, the main problem of the Arab world has been its inability to stop yearning for the "Golden Age" -- a phase of Arabic history that must in any case, he insists, be reinterpreted and reassessed. Besides, says Kassir, Arabs are forgetting another, more recent, part of their history -- a period that could offer numerous grounds for renewed hope.

Kassir sets out to demystify the "Golden Age". It's important to him to emphasise the contributions made by various other people's to this great period of Arabic history. As Kassir sees it, the Islamic religion was just one of several components that contributed to the universalism of Arabic culture at that time.

In his reading, "Arabic history, a history of grand empires" turns out to be "an accumulation of cultural experiences; indeed, more than that: an accretion of cultural diversity."
Samir Kassir and the Arab malaise, Susan Javad