International Relations of the Middle East
Orientalism by Edward Said examines carefully how the Western Countries perceive the Islamic nations. He explains the culture of imperialism and complex relationships between the West and the East. He challenged what the Euro-American scholars referred to as Orientalism (Bilgin, 2004). Orientalism is a set of thoughts and a pattern of developing generalizations in the Middle East. The author shows that the myth of oriental was possible due to the dominance of European and American culture in the region (Varisco, 2012). Orientalism covers analysis on literary texts on European imperialism and domination. In addition, he noted how Western media engaged in constructing Middle Eastern cultures. Therefore, he suggested that media has the ability to dominate, change, and gain power over Orients. The Western countries’ culture, ideas, technology, and thoughts has helped to shape the Middle East countries over the decades.
Besides, people in the Middle East were depicted as always in dire need of Western powers to achieve change. The region experienced political, economic, and social oppression for a long time (Bilgin, 2004). The Arab spring revolution took place at the time when the United States held control in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and the attention was focused on other countries such as Lebanon and Palestine (Varisco, 2012). The Western powers often supported most of the dictators such as in Tunisia and Egypt. After the Arab springs revolution, the Western rhetoric was spread via culture of Orientalist knowledge.
Most notably, some individuals noted that Arabs who received training and learned the strategies of non-violence in the United States and the Gene Sharp theory led the “non-violence” form of revolution in Egypt and Tunisia (Harlow, 2012). Western ideas and thoughts coupled with western technology such as Twitter, the Internet, and Facebook helped the Arab spring revolutions and supposedly shaped these revolutions. Therefore, for any change to take place in the Arab nations, it must be influenced by the Western thoughts, technology, or ideas (Halliday, 1993). In addition, although the Western interventions do not take place directly, these indirect tools shaped the revolutions.
Edward Said work on Orientalism suggests that in Arab language the word “revolution” does not occur. The revolution word ‘thawra’ in Arabic is derived from the word thaara which means moved by sexual desire. The Arabs witnessed rapid change due to the Western infiltration in the region from the growth of Western modernity. Said notes that the people in Middle East are typical of sexualized and gendered Orientalists, therefore, they were only beneficiary of ideas and acts of progress and pleasure from Western nations (Varisco, 2012). Many individuals in the Middle East do not own any agency.
The Western campaigns on democratization have influenced revolution in Egypt against Hosni Mubarak and similar exercise in Syria (Bilgin, 2004). Western nations including the United States speak of the desire to mediate in Syria and Libya since people want the change and freedom.
Orientalism is the subject to change over time; hence, it is referred to as manifest Orientalism since it means stated views. However, latent Orientalism is consistent; hence, it does not change easily (Shihade, 2012). In addition, latent Orientalism is more difficult because it is acceptable and unquestioned as conventional wisdom (Varisco, 2012). Media,