Viorst on despotism, "the Arabs' most pervasive political instituion"

“In fact, a strong argument can be made that Islam, the heart of Arab culture, sets the limit of personal and social development in the Arab world. Despotism, the Arabs' most pervasive political institution, is surely its offshoot, even though Islam has sometimes been at odds with its despots.”

Milton Viorst. 1994. Sandcastles: The Arabs in Search of the Modern World. New York: Knopf. pp 357-8.

Hmm, what do you think? Fair or unfair?


cjk said…
The question shouldn't be fair or unfair. The question is, is it accurate?
It is accurate.
Abu Daoud said…
I found Viorst to be a very insightful interpreter of events in the Middle East. He doesn't just descend into this shallow sort of Western triumphalism, assuming that progress is inevitable and that the Muslims will eventually see things our way (the right way) and come around to all those great ideas like human rights and women's lib.

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