The Levant Reconciling a Century of Contradictions

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Mazen Hashem



Although the revolution in Syria is unfolding within the modern political
boundaries of this country, its proper understanding is not attainable
without putting it in a larger historical context, which includes the adjacent
geographical areas of the Levant, Bilad al-Sham. Without such a broader
view, the appreciation of the complexity of the Syrian case is not possible,
nor accounting for its consequences and anticipating its future.
Probably, in no case, is the mess of colonial legacy more visible than it
is in Syria. The pathway of this legacy marks the future development of the
country, and its implications are facing the revolution today with arduous
challenges. The complexity of the Syria case is not limited to the political
dimension; it is also complex at the meta-cultural level. Furthermore, the
change in Syria has consequences for the region as whole ‒ it will institutionalize
the Arab Spring as an unavoidable political force, and it will energize
the process of cultural reformation and the recovery of a civilizational
Muslim identity ...

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