The Great Syrian Revolt and the Rise of Arab Nationalism by Michael Provence

By Michael Provence

The good Syrian riot of 1925 used to be the most important and longest-lasting anti-colonial insurgency within the inter-war Arab East. Mobilizing peasants, staff, and armed forces veterans, instead of city elites and nationalist intellectuals, it used to be the 1st mass stream opposed to colonial rule within the heart East. The rebellion did not free up Syria from French career, however it supplied a version of renowned nationalism and resistance that is still effective within the heart East this present day. every one next Arab rebellion opposed to international rule has repeated the language and strategies of the good Syrian insurrection. during this paintings, Michael Provence makes use of newly published mystery colonial intelligence resources, missed memoirs, and renowned reminiscence to inform the tale of the rebellion from the viewpoint of its individuals. He indicates how Ottoman-subsidized army schooling created a new release of leaders of modest historical past who got here to insurgent opposed to either the French Mandate rulers of Syria and the Syrian intellectuals and landowners who helped the colonial regime to operate. This new renowned nationalism was once unheard of within the Arab global. Provence indicates compellingly that the good Syrian insurrection used to be a formative occasion in shaping the trendy center East. (2006)

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Many who took part in the uprising were killed or exiled from Syria until the late 1930s. The failure of the revolt removed them from political contention. The mandate power and leading Damascus politicians could ignore the exiled insurgents and their uncompromising nationalist visions for more than a decade. Despite its ultimate failure, however, the revolt had the lasting effect of permanently drawing disparate regions together under the idea of a Syrian-Arab nation. In spite of the determined efforts of the mandate power to divide Syrian society permanently, the revolt helped allow Syrians to imagine themselves as a unified nation.

Their dress, their actions, and their language testify to the existence of a common rural Arab culture, centering on ideals of bravery, honor, and common historical memory. 35 During the period of the revolt, the mandate Service des Renseignements (Intelligence Service) compiled daily intelligence bulletins. The bulletins often ran to twenty or thirty pages and covered all events known to the colonial authority in the mandated territory. They included spy reports and the minutes of meetings held by political parties and rebel groups.

Those who tacitly insist that the existence of subaltern national consciousness must conform to elite models will be apt to deny the existence of such consciousness altogether. Orderly categories and tidy theories exist principally in the minds and representations of intellectuals, whether elite nationalists or their chroniclers. I resist the urge to impose order where little was evident and to tidy the ragged edges of a truly vital and uncompromised example of subaltern resistance. Following Partha Chatterjee and others, this book emphasizes and identifies the strengths of the ambiguous, the fragmentary, and the theoretically untidy.

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