Knowledge Is Power. Orientalism
“Knowledge is power” is one of the most famous ideas introduced by Francis Bacon in the 17th century. A number of attempts and suggestions are offered to comprehend the idea of knowledge and its translation into power. In fact, knowledge is the issue that empowers people because it helps to make decisions, analyze actions, and investigate the outcomes of each phrase told and activity made. Arab societies have been developed considerably during the last several decades, and one of the reasons why this could happen is the possibility for the Arabs to use their knowledge.
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The explanation of this fact can be traced to the theories developed under Orientalism. Orientalism is the style of thought that is based on the distinctions between what is usual and what may happen with time (“Orientalism” par. 2). The core of Orientalism lies in the portion of knowledge the Western representatives have about the East and the abilities to use that knowledge to spread power over the world and implement the required hierarchy of power. For example, the United States created movies and stories about the Arabs without considering the details of this nation. As a result, the terrorist attacks took place in 2001 explaining it as the American mistake to believe that one nation can tell the world how to live (Little 42). Knowledge and power were interrelated in that case, and the outcomes were dramatic for both countries.
Islam as a problem in the Arab region
A number of misunderstandings are discovered when people try to comprehend the essence of and the relations between Islam and Muslims because some people identify it as the religion of peace, and some treat it as an example of an evil religion (Esposito 10). The leaders of different countries share their opinion that the Islamic world, as well as the Arab-Islamic world, should change. However, it is wrong to believe that all Muslims are Arab and that all Arabs are Muslims. Nowadays, this fact is far from being true because some Egyptian Arabs, Syrians, and even Israel people are Christian, and the representatives of Turkey and Iran are Muslims.
The same terroristic attacks of 2001 can be used as an example of when religion and ethnicity became the problem in the region. Some people were eager to turn into extremists to prove their positions, and some people could not treat all Arabs the same way regarding them as a threat to society. Stereotypes played a crucial role in the process of shaping attitudes (“American Attitudes toward Arabs and Muslims” 3).
Arab nationalism and Islamist movements
Though the process of forming a nationalist self-view among the Arab representatives could be traced in the middle of the 1800s when the adaptation to New Easters conditions of the European concept of patriotism was observed (Dawn 4), the idea of true Arab nationalism, as a crucial ideology was introduced in the 1950s and developed in the 1960s. It was defined as freedom from Western influence and a chance to become a prominent nation. Still, the relations and contradictions that took place between Islamists movements and Arab Nationalists were complicated because both parties did not want to look for alternatives but focused on the promotion of their powers.
The example of pan-Arab nationalism proved that weak reasons and poorly grounded theories did not help the nation to survive. Besides, the contradictions nationalists had with the representatives of Turkey, France, and Britain (Rogan 8) because of the necessity to make the Arabs dependent deprived the nation of the opportunity to protect human rights and pan-Arab dreams.
American Attitudes toward Arab and Muslims 2014. PDF file. Web.
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Dawn, C. Ernest. “The Origins of Arab Nationalism.” The Origins of Arab Nationalism. Ed. Rashid Khalidi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991, 3-30. Print.
Esposito, John, L. The Future of Islam, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.
Little, Douglas American Orientalism: The United States and the Middle East Since 1945, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2004. Web.
Orientalism n.d. Web.
Rogan, Eugene, L. The Arabs: A History, New York: Basic Books, 2009. Print.