Monday, July 08, 2019

1948 academic paper shows Palestinian Arab culture was essentially non-existent

Here are excerpts from The Cultural Life of the Palestinian Arabs, published in The Journal of Educational Sociology, Nov., 1948, pp. 232-239. published by the  American Sociological Association:

The Palestinian Arab cannot boast of any marked creative ability in the field of the arts, such as the theater and music or, because of the opposition of the Islamic religion, in such arts as painting and sculpture. In recent years there have been signs of an artistic awakening in some of the countries, especially in Egypt. As yet this is not the case in Palestine. However, the theater, dance, and music are aspects of art that are closer to the Arab spirit. There are some groups that are attempting to create in these fields, but to date none of them has made an impression on the Arab community. When the Arabs in Palestine want to witness a professional play, they invite a group from Egypt.

The motion pictures shown in the Arab cinema are American and British imports. Such Arab films as are shown are imported from Egypt. In comparison with European standards, the Arab-produced motion pictures are technically poor and artistically primitive.

In the field of literature, too, there is more importing than creativity. The groups that want to read an Arab book turn to the literature of the other Arab lands, especially Egypt.

Since most of the educated among them read French and English, there is not too great a demand for native creativity.
Between 1919 and 1932, 54 Arab books (including magazines and pamphlets) were published, an average of less than 4 books a year. Between 1933 and 1944, 155 books (including all the propaganda literature dealing with the riots) were published, an average of less than 13 books a year.

With the exception of textbooks, not one book had had a second edition. A first edition does not have more than 1,000 copies, sometimes even less.

Political publications have been the most popular type of literature among the Arabs. Most of these rail against  Zionism and the Jewish national home. Several deal with the inner conflict among the different groups and with Arab affairs outside Palestine. The peak of this type of literature was reached during the riots of 1936 and 1939. As far as political books are concerned, to date there has not appeared even one basic book dealing with the Arab community either from a scientific, sociological, or historical viewpoint.

Culturally and journalistically the newspapers suffer from provincialism and a great lack of variety. This is due mainly to the absence of free thought. Opinions, especially those concerning Zionism, are fixed and unchangeable. Even in internal affairs, doubt is never cast on the status quo. Editorials are rarely original. In typical Oriental fashion they abound in epigrams, proverbs, exaggerations,
pedantries, and repetitions in their form and style.

In general, the policy of the Arab press is to clamor for Arab independence, emphasize the importance of pan Arabic unity, and foster extreme nationalism. They condemn Jewish immigration, colonization, and the selling of land to Jews. Even in their propaganda, the Arab newspapers do not express the opinion of the masses, as has been evidenced in the past years by the wide gap between policies of the papers and the true opinion of the average Arab native. This is because the first principle of every public announcement must be a hatred for the Jewish cause whether or not the average Arab shares this opinion. 
Very few books, no theatre, no dance, no music, no arts, newspapers that are only propaganda outlets. All Palestinian culture was imported from Egypt and other Arab states.

Just another proof that there were no Palestinian people to speak of before Israel was reborn.

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