By Muhsin al-Musawi
As a dramatic new period of Iraqi politics unfolds, Muhsin al-Musawi indicates how artificially imposed notions of constitutional monarchy and secular nationalism did not take root within the Iraqi sensibility, and as a substitute provoked a broad-based counterculture of resistance. In a penetrating old research, Musawi demonstrates the sights of sectarianism and faith during times of career and oppression.
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Additional info for Reading Iraq: Culture and Power in Conflict (Library of Modern Middle East Studies)
28 Yet, Sa¯ti‘ al-Husrı¯ was also blamed for ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ his nationalism, which some Iraqis thought of as lacking sufﬁcient Iraqiness. His reﬂections on people whom he described as Iranians, including the renowned poet Muhammad Mahdı¯ al-Jawa¯hirı¯ (d. 30 In other words, cultural lenses offer themselves differently as they color things with one’s own predilections, for Sa¯ti‘ al-Husrı¯, as a non-Iraqi and ardent ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ nationalist with a strong Ottoman education, could not digest a culture that was in opposition to his education, especially to his brand of nationalism.
16 It is worth mentioning that alJama¯lı¯’s doctoral thesis on the “problem of Bedouin education” drew attention to Ibn Khaldun, especially in respect to the movement from nomadic life to urbanization. 12 reading iraq While questioning the generalization in the statement, he quoted it, nevertheless,17 as it was popular among researchers in the ﬁeld at the time to lean on Ibn Khaldun, especially in keeping with the demand for knowing the Arab East. The statement alerts readers to the “depravity, wickedness, dishonesty, and the inclination to help themselves by all possible means” that are common traits among Bedouins who move toward urbanization, according to Ibn Khaldun.
55 These became his symbols to legitimize succession as the custodian for the tomb. Nature helped him, too, in making that year one of rain and fertility, and therefore as signs of his blessed presence in the village community. All this is told in an ironic way, for the son as protagonist turned out to be the craftiest villain in the emerging Iraqi elite after getting his doctoral degree from London University. Acculturation was not of much help in his case. The hybrid intellectual found himself in the middle of an elite in Baghdad, presumably the renowned nationalist club, Na¯dı¯ al-Muthanna¯, whose members spoke then of serving the grand issue of Arabism, towards the unity of the Arabs, through a vanguard party or club, whose membership should be based on purity of blood: “But my father is of a Persian extraction as I indicated before, and my wife is English.