Episode 1 - Why Unity?

The Arab World is a loose, yet complex amalgamation of 22 countries in which a pan-Arab identity is the proclaimed ideal by both leaders and masses alike.

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In the early 20th century, an independent Arab world started emerging from decades of colonial supremacy in the Middle East and North African region. In those days, the race for statehood among Arab fledgling countries was taken over by a hasty struggle for unity.

Although strong divisions existed among Arab leaders, social movements and intellectuals concerning what unity meant and what practical form it should take, the consensus was emerging that an Arab association of some sort was necessary for an Arab revival.

The mix of anticipated independence and Arab nationalism steered efforts among Arab states toward a new regional order, one which today we call the Arab World. But was there ever a 'unified' Arab world?

The story of the struggle for Arab unity is entangled with the modern history of the Middle East and both are steeped in conflicting ideologies, revolution, oppression, betrayal and war.

Unity was intended to free the Arab east of Ottoman occupation
Arab unity was intended as a way of ridding the Arab east of Ottoman occupation and - for Christian proponents at least - of creating a secular society in which Muslim and Christian Arabs would be equal.

General shots of the Arab world and a series of vox pop segments that reveal the breadth of definitions of unity and Arabism and introduce viewers to the idea that if Arabs do not have a single definition of either concept today, this may well be because, even historically, unity and even Arabism has always meant different things to different people.

This introductory episode tackles issues like identity, loyalty and self determination and asks the question, will Arabs ever address the gap between the reality and dream of unity?

Watch part one of this episode of A Question Of Arab Unity? on Youtube

Watch part two of this episode of A Question Of Arab Unity? on Youtube

The first episode of A Question Of Arab Unity? will air Monday, January 28, 2008, at the following times GMT:

Monday (06:30, 14:30)
Tuesday (11:30)
Wednesday (10:30, 20:30)
Thursday (03:30)
Friday (02:30, 13:30)
Saturday (17:30)

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