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Cairo and Egypt almost fifty years ago

Reader comment on item: The Arabs as Seen Fifty Years Ago

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Mar 8, 2012 at 10:23

Dr. Pipes

As usual you are right on target in your article: "The Arabs fifty years ago." There is no doubt that Desmond Stewart's article does not fit with the reality of the Arab world fifty years ago or even now

The great German historians have alerted us long time ago about the nature of historiography and that writing any historical text is not any different than writing fiction and it only represents what the author believed "what really happened" and now we the readers can look back and realize that Stewart's remarks and conclusions were flawed.

Albert Hourani wrote about the "Liberal age" in the Arab world but he alerted the reader that it came to an end before the second world war, but it seems that Stewart was not aware of such conculsion

I also wanted to bring to your attention a book that was written by the Australian journalist James Aldridge in 1969 so it is just about the same time period and the book is "Cairo, Biography of a City" and I do believe it is a must read for any student of modern Egypt

It is a well written book. However, after liviing in Egypt for a long period of time he was unable to tell about very basic things as in the case of the difference between the Islamic hijab and the very Egyptian head-cover called tarha. Again authors only see what they know

But he goes on in believeing that Hourani's "Libreral age" is still marching on and on page 310 he wrote:" Like all religions Islam has suffered serious distortions over the centuries and as with all Middle Eeastern religions what was a good moral system for half a dozen desert tribes one or two thousand years ago is hardly a sound one now for an industrial nondesert society"! He sound very much like Stewart

But in the next paragraph he wrote:"On fridays the mosques of Cairo are always crowded ...." but he was unable to tell the reader what this could mean except that you can see the poor and the rich sharing the prayer mats and this is his evidence of "The only virtue before God in islam is this egalite."

I do believe that back in the 1960's and before the rise of radical islam world wide authors the likes of Aldridge and Stewart were hoping that that the Arab world will be another "West" and no more


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Submitting....

Daniel Pipes replies:

I read Aldridge's book in advance of going to Cairo for the first time in 1971 and it made a favorable impression on me. I arrived there expecting to see a city becoming more Western with time.

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Reader comments (39) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
< In 2062, tell me how Im doing > [6 words]Jay1Mar 12, 2012 21:24194308
2The dark age [67 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
YovenMar 10, 2012 14:29194229
1Dominant religion [116 words]UgriMar 12, 2012 04:10194229
15Cairo and Egypt almost fifty years ago [409 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
dhimmi no moreMar 8, 2012 10:23194157
Arabs' imperial past [58 words]BenMar 7, 2012 09:18194079
6Islam was indeed different 50 years ago [133 words]saraMar 6, 2012 19:43194036
9Re:Sara [384 words]Rohit PatnaikMar 7, 2012 02:50194036
2Going out to the kings of the earth [178 words]UgriMar 7, 2012 03:10194036
from exotic to unicultural [117 words]mythMar 7, 2012 07:23194036
2This was a miniscule liberal elite [84 words]AsokMar 7, 2012 12:19194036
1Response to Rohit [269 words]saraMar 7, 2012 18:22194036
I agree, Rohit, with some caveats [558 words]saraMar 8, 2012 17:23194036
11Sayyed Qutb and el-ikhwan [504 words]dhimmi no moreMar 10, 2012 07:29194036
1Historical details [265 words]saraMar 10, 2012 17:45194036
What lands? [55 words]Amin RiazMar 23, 2012 14:44194036
2Lands that were at any time considered Muslim lands [85 words]saraMar 26, 2012 19:00194036
5You also forgot [174 words]Peter HallMar 26, 2012 19:57194036
taqqiya [12 words]cmtljnpkirptsvji1683Jul 7, 2013 08:14194036
Go back 92 years [22 words]smg45acpMar 6, 2012 19:20194034
The Arabs as seen over a century ago [618 words]Isa AlmisryMar 11, 2012 00:30194034
Isa, your comment just doesn't make sense! [18 words]Peter HallMar 14, 2012 03:59194034
This Was My Comment. [303 words]Isa AlmisryMar 16, 2012 00:29194034
9I guess it took a while, but you have shown your true position [547 words]Peter HallMar 16, 2012 20:33194034
Colouring Racism [242 words]Amin RiazMar 23, 2012 15:03194034
8... Amin, the master of double standards. [483 words]Peter HallMar 24, 2012 05:30194034
1peter [91 words]cmtljnpkirptsvji1683Jul 7, 2013 08:48194034
2Your Views are rather narrow! [292 words]Peter HallJul 8, 2013 20:53194034
Fifty Years Ago [188 words]Peter HerzMar 6, 2012 18:55194029
The Arabs As Seen Fifty Years Ago [196 words]JudithMar 6, 2012 14:28194014
1I can only wonder who had funded such misinformation. [80 words]David FiresterMar 6, 2012 12:30194007
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5What is the Opposite of Fantasy? [698 words]Ron ThompsonMar 6, 2012 12:24194005
2The coming dark age. [134 words]
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Asif W.Mar 6, 2012 12:22194004
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1Islamic tolerance [35 words]trans-parereMar 6, 2012 11:59194000
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Daniel Pipes Seen From 2062 [51 words]
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DaveMar 6, 2012 09:10193982
12012-onward will make the 60's seem like the 50's [24 words]Michael Hanni MorcosMar 7, 2012 00:21193982
1Camel [28 words]AlbertEl.Mar 10, 2012 17:17193982

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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