An Interpretation of the Arabs
by David Pryce-Jones
Following the end of colonial rule in the Middle East, the newly independent Arab nations did not become progressive and free: they are despotic; most persecute religious or ethnic minorities; all oppress women; none has participatory institutions. In a scathing and provocative critique, Pryce-Jones ( Paris in the Third Reich ; Cyril Connolly ) blames these dismal conditions on what he sees as a Muslim reversion to tribal and kinship structures as well as slavish obedience to complex codes of honor and shame that prevent concepts such as open debate, democracy and accountability from taking root. With Islamocentric shortsightedness, Arabs understood Nazism in terms of German revenge for humiliation suffered in World War I. Arab leaders admired both Hitler and Lenin as careerist conspirators who made good. Pryce-Jones sees the same tribal, king-of-the-hill mentality at work today in the Palestine Liberation Organization, a careerist group built around a few audacious personalities who arrogated the right to speak for a whole people.