Interpretations and Perspectives of the Great Conflict
Edited By Jarosław Suchoples and Stephanie James
Helena P. Evans - From Noble to Nefarious. Changing Perceptions of the Arab Peoples as a Result of British Encounters in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Palestine, 1914–1918
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Helena P. Evans
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences Zayed University, United Arab Emirates
From Noble to Nefarious. Changing Perceptions of the Arab Peoples as a Result of British Encounters in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Palestine, 1914–1918
Abstract: While the vast majority of those serving in Egypt, Mesopotamia and Palestine were men of Empire, this research focuses on Blighty’s own British officers and soldiers, and their personal reactions to their encounters with the Arab peoples. Aside from the animosities that arise in time of war, the cultural and moral gulf between the British and the Arabs often led to far from harmonious relations. Of course, it has to be borne in mind that the uneventful is unlikely to have found its way into the letters and diaries of the serving officers and soldiers, and therefore, it is possible that relations with the Arab peoples were more cordial than one is led to believe through their writing. However, it is through these depictions of Anglo-Arab encounters that this chapter seeks to explain the change in attitude of the British people towards the Arab peoples that occurred as a result of the Great War. Prior to 1914 the British people had a rather romantic notion of what it was to be an Arab, but this idealised vision mutated as a result of the experiences and attitudes displayed in the writings of the British officers and soldiers serving in Arab lands. Contents of letters...
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