A Land of Aching Hearts: The Middle East in the Great War by Leila Tarazi Fawaz

By Leila Tarazi Fawaz

The nice warfare remodeled the center East, bringing to an finish 400 years of Ottoman rule in Arab lands whereas giving upward push to the center East as we all know it this present day. A century later, the studies of normal women and men in the course of these calamitous years have light from reminiscence. A Land of Aching Hearts traverses ethnic, type, and nationwide borders to get better the non-public tales of the civilians and squaddies who persisted this cataclysmic event.

between those that suffered have been the folks of higher Syria―comprising sleek Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine―as good because the humans of Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt. past the moving fortunes of the battlefield, the quarter used to be devastated by way of a British and French naval blockade made worse through Ottoman battle measures. Famine, disorder, inflation, and an inflow of refugees have been daily realities. however the neighborhood populations weren't passive sufferers. Fawaz chronicles the initiative and resilience of civilian émigrés, marketers, draft-dodgers, infantrymen, villagers, and townsmen decided to outlive the struggle as top they can. the correct mix of ingenuity and practicality usually intended the variation among lifestyles and death.

The war’s aftermath proved sour for lots of survivors. Nationalist aspirations have been quashed as Britain and France divided the center East alongside synthetic borders that also reason resentment. The distress of the nice conflict, and a profound experience of big sacrifices made in useless, could colour people’s perspectives of politics and the West for the century to come.

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Extra info for A Land of Aching Hearts: The Middle East in the Great War

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By the twentieth century, the port cities of the eastern and southern Mediterranean served as the beating heart of Middle Eastern life, sustained by transfusions of people and materials through newly established transportation arteries. 12 This ancient city, situated in the western Nile Delta on the Mediterranean coast, equaled the greatness of its conquering founder. As the central hub of nineteenth-century southern Mediterranean trade with Europe, it burst with entrepreneurs, activity, and importance.

13 By the time its stock exchange was opened in 1883, Alexandria resembled more a European than an Egyptian or Ottoman city. A CHANGING MIDDLE EAST 15 By 1907 Alexandria’s population was estimated at over 400,000, with large communities of Greeks, Italians, English, and French, in descending order of size; Greek Orthodox and Jews freely attended their religious services and performed their rituals. Even Coptic Christians, descendants of the dominant pre-Islamic Egyptian Christians but by then reduced to only 2 percent of the population, thrived in Alexandria’s urbane cosmopolitanism.

By the eve of World War I, the Mediterranean Sea had been reduced to a European lake. This European political and economic penetration jolted territories controlled by essentially the same Ottoman dynasty for centuries. For four hundred years, from the early sixteenth to the early twentieth centuries, much of the Arab world was ruled from Istanbul as part of the Ottoman Empire. Spanning thirty-six sultans, the empire had humble origins, stemming from a Turkish principality that had been converted to Sunni Islam.

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