Cross-Currents in Arab National Feeling:
The Islamic World is Shaken by Modern Tensions
It was not until after World War I that the Arabs became conscious of themselves as a people. Before that, all the Arabic-speaking countries of Asia, with irrelevant exceptions such as the British protectorate of Aden in Southern Arabia, formed part of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. It must be remembered that of the present seven autonomous Arab states none existed as an independent state during the school days of most Americans, and among them only Egypt formed a national entity thirty years ago.
If asked, an inhabitant of the Arabic Asia of the early 1900′s would have described himself as a Moslem or Christian of such and such a denomination, a subject of the Sultan, a member of such and such a tribe, or an inhabitant of this or that village or town—but it would hardly have occurred to him to call himself an Arab. Today the chances are he would answer quite differently. What has brought about this change in the national consciousness of the Arab?
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