{Free Audible} What Went Wrong? Western Impact & Middle Eastern Response Author Bernard Lewis – Freepe.co

For Centuries, The World Of Islam Was In The Forefront Of Human Achievement The Foremost Military And Economic Power In The World, The Leader In The Arts And Sciences Of Civilization Christian Europe Was Seen As An Outer Darkness Of Barbarism And Unbelief From Which There Was Nothing To Learn Or To Fear And Then Everything Changed The West Won Victory After Victory, First On The Battlefield And Then In The MarketplaceIn This Elegantly Written Volume, Bernard Lewis, A Renowned Authority An Islamic Affairs, Examines The Anguished Reaction Of The Islamic World As It Tried To Make Sense Of How It Had Been Overtaken, Overshadowed, And Dominated By The West In A Fascinating Portrait Of A Culture In Turmoil, Lewis Shows How The Middle East Turned Its Attention To Understanding European Weaponry, Industry, Government, Education, And Culture He Also Describes How Some Middle Easterners Fastened Blame On A Series Of Scapegoats, While Others Asked Not Who Did This To Us But Rather Where Did We Go Wrong With A New Afterword That Addresses September And Its Aftermath, What Went Wrong Is An Urgent, Accessible Book That No One Who Is Concerned With Contemporary Affairs Will Want To Miss

10 thoughts on “What Went Wrong? Western Impact & Middle Eastern Response

  1. says:

    This is a scholarly look at the interactions between Islam and other civilizations, primarily European Christianity, and secondarily India and China It is filled with interesting bits of information and comprises a pocket history under 200 pages and analysis of Islam Although it is a short book it reads much longer It is a worthwhile read, but I suspect that it s primary value will be as a reference.May 21, 2018 Bernard Lewis passed away today The NY Times Obit covers the controversy engendered by the opinions of this Middle East expert Bernard Lewis, Influential Scholar of Islam, Is Dead at 101 P 6For centuries, Islam represented the greatest military power on earth its armies, at the same time, were invading Europe and Africa, India and China It was the foremost economic power in the world, trading in a wide range of commodities through a far flung network of commerce and communications in Asia, Europe, and Africa importing slaves and gold from Africa, slaves and wool from Europe, and exchanging a variety of foodstuffs, materials, and manufactures with the civilized countries of Asia It had achieved the highest level so far in human history in the arts and sciences of civilization Inheriting the knowledge and skills of the ancient Middle East, of Greece and or Persia, it added to them several important innovations from outside, such as the use and manufacture of paper from China and decimal positional numbering from India It is difficult to imagine modern literature or science without the one or the other It was in the Islamic Middle East that Indian numbers were for the first time incorporated in the inherited body of mathematical learning From the Middle East they were transmitted to the West, where they are still known as Arabic numerals, honoring not those who invented them but those who first brought them to Europe To this rich inheritance scholars and scientists in the Islamic world added an immensely important contribution through their own observations, experiments and ideas In most of the arts and sciences of civilization, Medieval Europe was a pupil and in a sense a dependant of the Islamic world, relying on Arabic versions even for many otherwise unknown Greek works.P 53In an Islamic state, there is, in principle no law other than the sharia, the Holy Law of Islam The reforms of the 19th century and the needs of commercial and other contacts with Europe led to the enactment of new laws, modeled on those of Europe commercial, civil, criminal, and finally constitutional In the traditional order the only lawyers were the ulema, the doctors of the Holy Law, at once jurists and theologians The secular lawyer, pleading in courts administering secular law, represented a new and influential element in society.P 54Westerners have become accustomed to think of good and bad government in terms of tyranny versus liberty In Middle Eastern usage, liberty or freedom was a legal not a political term It meant one who was not a slave, and unlike the West, Muslims did not use slavery and freedom as political metaphors For traditional Muslims, the converse of tyranny was not liberty but justice Justice in this context meant essentially two things, that the ruler was there by right and not usurpation, and that he governed according to God s law, or at least according to recognizable moral and legal principles P 100If one may admit, in a limited professional sense, the existence of a clergy, there is no sense at all in which one can speak of a laity among Muslims The idea that any group of persons, any kind of activities, any part of human life is in any sense outside the scope of religious law and jurisdiction is alien to Muslim thought There is, for example, no distinction between canon law and civil law, between the law of the church and the law of the state, crucial in Christian history There is only a single law, a sharia, accepted by Muslims as of divine origin and regulating all aspects of human life civil, commercial, criminal, constitutional, as well as matters specifically concerned with religion in the limited Christian sense of that word,P 103The reasons why Muslims developed no secularist movement of their own, and reacted sharply against attempts to introduce one from abroad, will thus be clear from the contrasts between Christian and Muslim history and experience From the beginning, Christians were taught both by precept and practice to distinguish between God and Caesar and between the different duties owed to each of the two Muslims received no such instruction.

  2. says:

    This is so vague and incoherent of a book, I can only describe where it is factually wrong because Lewis is so inconsistent with his terms that I can t address his themes Colonialism apparently wasn t that bad At least 400,000 civilians died in the French Algerian War alone , the Ottomans were a military disaster except for the whole gates of Vienna thing , Muslims apparently decided to become shut off on their own accord from Europe never mind mass expulsions from Spain.And what does Lewis even mean by the Islamic world And what did go wrong He never answers these in any consistent way Useless, utterly useless.

  3. says:

    Full of historical mistakes and misconceptions The author is clearly biased, and presents some of his ideas as if they were well known facts If you really want to know what went wrong, read something else by a trusted author I recommend A History of The Modern Middle East by Cleveland.

  4. says:

    11 2001 .

  5. says:

    I ve always shuddered when considering Bernard Lewis That condition will likely continue.It is interesting that Lewis repeats the question who did this to us throughout this slim polemic The question asserted by Lewis regards the slipping of prestige from the Ottoman Empire to the embarrassed Middle East of the late 20C Such was the question bandied about across the United States after the righteous struck Manhattan.These alleged clashes of civilization might be constructs or crutches Said taught me that They do fuel a great deal of opinion as well as policy across the globe.

  6. says:

    What went wrong The Middle East, once a power to be reckoned with, is now noted for its poverty, political weakness and the under education of its people Some say it is the fault of outside powers Professor Lewis looks deeper, seeing this not as a cause but a symptom He explores why the region was vulnerable to those outside powers.He notes that some have considered the causes to be military, economic and or political weaknesses Attempts to modernize in these areas have met with military failure, continued poverty and democracy without freedom For root causes Lewis looks to the culture, specifically, the historical and current role of women, attitude towards science and the role of music.I was glad to see a serious discussion of the role of women as a cause for poverty, etc Having half of the population hobbled in participating in the economic, political, intellectual and cultural life, by its very nature, dumbs down the environment Also, what kind of grown ups are expected to result from having the sole parent responsible for raising children limited in experience of the real world A sheltered life and a sub standard education do not prepare anyone for the many roles guiding, role modeling, advising, advocating protecting a parent or caregiver must play.Although replete with examples, music is the weakest discussion Lewis analysis works for me if music is seen as a proxy for the characteristic ignoring shunning of western life and culture he discusses clothing, learning languages, marrying outsiders diversity separately Lewis shows a long history of insularity In music, as with science, the culture looked inward and did not easily absorb new ideas Both music and art have been suspect by some Middle Eastern religious leaders There is a history of not just censorship, but total prohibition in different parts of the Middle East.Lewis shows how insularity stunted the political development of the region While it received ambassadors it did not send them It used messengers who would deliver and return With this system and no foreign languages studied spoken, generations of experience in diplomacy were lost.Often books that result from synthesizing lectures, articles, etc., are disjointed or repetitive and don t read well together This book, does a reasonable job of joining of 3 lectures and previous publications.I recommend it for anyone interested in the cultural roots of the problems in the Middle East.

  7. says:

    This is a strange book It manifestly fails at answering the questions it raises but I still ended up enjoying it for its unexpected historical gems and erudite prose As a contemporary Muslim I am intimately concerned with What Went Wrong, so to speak, and how the ills of contemporary Islamic civilization could possibly be remedied Due to Lewis own background this book was heavily focused on Ottoman Turkey, almost completely ignoring the vast majority of what constituted the Islamicate throughout history On one hand this results in a wildly blinkered outlook On the other, I respect him for sticking to his strengths and not attempting to weigh in on things outside his expertise In the end, however, Lewis doesn t even properly define what s wrong let alone outline how it got to be wrong or what might be done about it The book is like a collection of interesting things Lewis has come across over the years, that an editor has tried to arrange in a chronology to explain the historical trajectory of Islamic civilization specifically the Ottomans That s about it But within that there was some fascinating stuff like an Ottoman firman in response to the French Revolution and a French writer s rather touching reflection on the Middle Eastern perception of time.Any review of Lewis has to acknowledge the problematic political views he held later in life Consider that the acknowledgement This book came out in 2002 and was clearly a pastiche of his other research pasted together to respond to a rush of post 9 11 interest By the standards of much of today s hateful propaganda Lewis sounds like a positive Islamophile He s not perfect, but one could easily find worse sources of guidance And regardless of what one thinks of his politics I have a problem with them, for the record he was a formidable historian, not to mention an elegant writer.

  8. says:

    Page 144 my book speech of Kemal Ataturk in 1925 That same might and power which, in defiance of a whole world, made Istanbul forever the property of the Turkish people in 1453 , was too weak to overcome the ill omened resistance of the men of law and to receive in Turkey the printing press, which had been invented at about the same time Three centuries of observation and hesitation were needed, of effort and energy expended for and against, before antiquated laws and their exponents would permit the entry of printing into our country.There are some interesting observations on the history of the Middle East For hundreds of years this region was at the forefront of civilization in science and art and of human relations for example women could own property and slaves had entitlements But for the last two to three hundred it has lagged far behind developments in the West and in fact in many cases has regressed It is near the bottom for human dignity the treatment of women It has to import technology and scientific knowledge As the author points out, Civilizations like China which was also exploited by the West and was a basket case one hundred years ago is now an economic and technological giant.The author attempts to answer What went wrong I don t feel he quite succeeds Some of the chapters were meandering and I found it annoying that he jumped back and forth chronologically in time As one example he discusses slavery, but this is at the same time period when it existed in the United States so I was left wondering why it was even brought up.He provides several examples of how over time Middle Eastern countries had to import technological products, particularly for warfare He makes the distinction between modernization which many want and Westernization viewed as contamination and in contradiction to the teachings of Islam One of these was the emancipation of women in Western society, which made little inroads in the Middle East despite some internal attempts.The author suggests that Islam may be one of the root causes of What Went Wrong Religious leaders in Islam, modeled recently to some extent on the hierarchical structure of Christianity, have used Islam to enforce autocracy and the subjugation of its people, particularly the repression of women Since the advent of the Ayatollah in Iran in the late 1970 s most Middle Eastern countries have regressed in human rights terms, with religion being much pervasive Perhaps the only country with some degree of stability and democracy is Turkey which under Kemal Ataturk became secular in the first half of the 20th Century That too has changed in the last 30 years.

  9. says:

    Bernard Lewis s What Went Wrong begins with the question Why did Western countries advance in science, technology, trade, and other areas of social and economic life and Middle Eastern countries, especially those considered part of the Muslim world, did not Lewis then proceeds, throughout the bulk of the book, to address topics unrelated to the book s central question The reader is treated to excursuses on warfare in the Muslim world, for example, and issues related to the Muslim world s reluctance to accept Westernization and technology and ideas and attitudes association with modernization, but not much in the way of a connection to pushing some thesis or other answering the question Then, finally, in the conclusion of the book, Lewis returns to the central question, and feigns an answer Lewis writes To a Western observer, schooled in the theory and practice of Western freedom, it is precisely the lack of freedom freedom of the mind from constraint and indoctrination, to question and inquire and speak freedom of the economy from corrupt and pervasive mismanagement freedom of women from male oppression freedom of citizens from tyranny that underlies so many of the troubles of the Muslim world But the road to democracy, as the Western experience amply demonstrates, is long and hard, full of pitfalls and obstacles.I don t even necessarily disagree with the conclusion, but what is there in the way of argument that this is the correct position to assume And is this Lewis s position If so, why not have established it upfront as the thesis and then made the remainder of the book an argument and provided support for this thesis Probably because this book was originally a series of lectures he had given that begin with some kind of topic, like Islamic warfare, for instance, and then each meander for 20 or so pages without a thesis.

  10. says:

    In this sleek and informative book, noted Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis examines the interaction between the Islamic world and the West It s a fascinating and illuminating book.At one time, the Muslim world was the richest, most powerful, and culturally advanced civilization on the planet The Muslim empire encouraged education and learning, treated its minorities reasonably well, traded with its neighbors, and conquered every army it faced Because of its obvious superiority, the Muslim world felt that no other culture or nation Christian Europe, India, China offered anything of value Muslims paid little attention to what was going on inside those countries, beyond what immediately affected them So when Europe advanced through the Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment, the Muslims missed it Suddenly, their armies were losing Suddenly, they were losing previously won territories to backward nations like Russia Even Napoleon himself successfully invaded Egypt.But it went beyond the military Europe and other regions were catching up to Islamic knowledge and surpassing it Many Muslims belatedly realized they had better keep a closer eye on the Western world, and maybe even learn from it But not enough Muslims agreed, and though Muslim embassies were established in western capitols, and many Muslim ambassadors wrote alarming books about the rapid advancement of the West, the Islamic world fell further behind, in military and economic terms It is still trying to catch up.In the meantime, the Western world was having its own effect on the Muslim world Some influences were eagerly adopted, others resisted, others adopted grudgingly So when you hear Muslims today bemoaning the corrosive Western influence of their culture, they have a point It s been going on for centuries, though, and Muslim nations haven t always handled it well Lewis examines every aspect of Western influence art, music, time, technology, and It s a surprisingly exhaustive account for such a slim book Short or not, the book is a vital tool for gaining an understanding of the Muslim world today.