Nationalism and the desire for independence among most inhabitants of the Middle East were common themes seen this week. Many nations have controlled parts of the Middle East for centuries, so the desire for independence has long been wanted and needed. The Middle East has been controlled by other nations for centuries up until recently in the 20th century. Europeans used the Middle East for trade posts, because it was in the middle of Europe and Asia so it served as a midway point between the two continents and it is surrounded by water which makes traveling and trading by sea easily accessible. Then when Europe began focusing on trading with the West, the Middle East’s economy declined which brought more resentment towards Europe and fueled their desire to become independent.
From the Stewart reading, “the post-Ottoman borders and installing a system of external control by European governments, the peace-makers at Versailles often failed to acknowledge the wishes and desires of the local population.” This shows that European powers never cared about the inhabitants of the Middle East and gives us one reason why they wanted independence and praised nationalism. People from the Middle East had no reason to admire or like European culture, religion, or government when Middle Easterners weren’t being treated fairly and given equal rights. So why would they not want to praise nationalism and keep their native culture and religion, and want to change the inequalities and abuse they were facing. From the Palestinian Declaration of Independence, “The Palestinian people was never separated from or diminished in its integral bonds with Palestine. Thus the Palestinian Arab people ensured for itself an everlasting union between itself, its land and its history.” Throughout the history of the Middle East, it endured many rulers, much division, many inequalities and many other negative effects. Through them all, Middle Easterners, Palestinians specifically never let Europeans take away their pride and dignity. As nationalism grew in other Middle Eastern nations, it was always present in Palestine.