Reflections on World History

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Ch 22: Contending for Islam & Representing Independence

The big question I see in the documents here is what is the relationship between Islam and modernity. Is it possible to make the two compatible? With regard to the images, they have left me thinking about nationalism and how efforts to encourage unity often lead to conflict with others. Is it possible to avoid such conflicts?



  1. Anna B says:

    In Document 22.1 Mustafa Kemal Ataturk discusses and defends his reasons for changing some of the traditional aspects practiced in Islam. One of the main things he abolished was that of the caliphate, by which Ottoman rulers became the leader of the Islamic world. This speech occurred in 1927, when modernization was still occurring at a rapid rate for many countries. During this time, many Islamic countries had gained their own independence as rightful states. If one was to continue to assume the role of caliph, then he would establish leadership over people of differing independent states with differing governments. So Ataturk’s argument here explains that modernity and Islam can in fact coexist, but it means that religion needs to be a matter of private devotion instead of one that was also involved in public life. This modernity that was taking place in the world also needed to take place in religious practices as we see here. By modernizing Islam, Ataturk was not demolishing the religion entirely or the root of what made it its religion, instead he simply found the aspects of it that would conflict with progressing in the world and did away with them. In the speech where Ataturk discusses the fez, a distinctive Turkish hat, he presents the idea to the people that in order to change with the times tradition must change as well. They are not tarnishing Islam, but reforming it in order to be successful in civilization and in the world.

  2. RJ Hunter says:

    In image 22.2, Vietnam displays their pride and independence. Vietnam had been struggling with American interference and they were tired of it. As big as an underdog that Vietnam was, they stunned American military forces and reversed the power in their country. Nationalism I this cased worked out for Vietnam. Communists supporters wanted to reunify their country and drive out the American forces, which consisted of half a million troops, and that is what they did. I do think that problems are avoidable if countries just worry about what is going on inside of their own country. Going to intervene in other countries business I’ll cause conflict every time. So if everyone worries about their on issues, conflict will be non existent.

  3. Jessica says:

    In visual source 22.1, the poster is depicting the African National Congress (ANC). It has a flag to represent the people of South Africa with the colors of green, black, and yellow. Black is representing the people. Green is for the land and yellow depicts the natural wealth of the country. In the background, there is an ongoing mass march of Africans who are holding up flags. I believe the spear and the shield represent armed resistance to colonial rule. The wheel symbolizes the long struggles everyone in South Africa had to suffer through. Also, in the poster there is a hand that is holding these items, but I noticed it was clenched into a fist. This shows power and strength of an united nation because they are struggling to for freedom.

  4. Jonathan F. McKenley says:

    Document 22.4 tells the story of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her struggles with with submission to the religion that has decorated her culture for almost forever. She believes that there is no real connection between modernaty and her islam religion. She doesnt understand how a religious text could support the murderous destruction of innocent lives. She says the treatment of woman, and the fact that Muhammad can not be quesitioned is proof for the fact that the Islam relgion can not adapt to the Western world. I believe that Modernity and Islam are definitely comparible, they have some similarities that still exist today, and some customs that are seen as obsolete and ancient. In generaly the document is very critical of the Islam religion and culture.

  5. Rashundra Martin says:

    The establishment of Islam brought about the Zionist movement which would provide a “home” or rather a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine. Zionism thrived on the basis of the growing Jewish migration from the 1920s to well into the 1940s. The Jewish people wanted a land that they could claim as their own. The Jewish emigrants were presented with two major obstacles: British control of Palestine and the large Arab population that resided in Palestine. a fear arose in the Arabs because they were afraid that they would be overtaken by the Jewish masses. The creation of Israel was the result of the Jewish people’s fight against owning something or someplace that they could call their own. Visual Source 22.3 is a poster in which encouraged donors to give money to the newly established land. Titled “Redeem the Land,” the poster most likely wanted to show that the land would be prosperous in crops given the right resources. Their goal was to use more modernized methods of farming in order to produce a substantial amount of crops. The features of the poster are very vibrant indicating that the land would have a bright future ahead of it. The image projects a rewarding outcome for the land as opposed to the surrounding desert areas.

  6. Sidney Nelson says:

    Document 22.1 is a speech told by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, which was delivered in 1927. After reading his speech about Islamic policies, I would infer that Ataturk had some pretty strong views of Islam. First, he discussed how he thought that it was a foolish idea for the Ottoman rulers to try and unite the whole Islamic world into one. This is because he thought that it would be a burden on Turkey. Also, he believed that bringing all the different races of Islam would be violating the states’ independence. This shows hows passionate Ataturk was about his culture because he wanted to make sure it’s sovereignty remained alive. In addition, he also mentioned how freedom of religion is very important. He believed that the enforcement of Shari’a, Islamic law, should not enforced. Instead, he thought that everyone should have the opportunity to be able to choose their own religion. He didn’t want people to be forced into having to practice Islam traditions.

    Sidney N.

  7. Kameron H says:

    Visual source 22.3 presents an image of Israel painted by Zionists around 1940. This poster was created soley for the purpose of persuading Jewish emigration to the land of Israel. A peaceful mood is created in the poster from the fruit hanging in the side, the farm fields in the distance, and the sunny landscape. The empty field contributes to the persuasive message of the poster with the saying “Redeem the land”(Strayer’s Ways of the world.) The illustration of the empty farm field gives the emigrants an idea of a landjust waiting to be inhabited. The fruit hanging and the bright colors of the background also serve for persuasion. The fruit growing indicates what type of things could be grown and depicts the land of Israel as very fertile. The bright colors seen throughout the photo crearte a sense of the new beginning that the title of poster intends to bring forth. Noticeably, the image is shown without any people. This is because the Zionists were implying the land was exclusively for the Jewish people. Overall, visual source 22.3 depicts Israel as a Garden of Eden for the Jewish population appealing to the their biblical senses as well as there logical senses.

  8. Daisha B. says:

    In image 22.1 there is a large cry of independence and pride in the African culture just from looking at it. The fought so long for their independence and freedom from foreign places and they were standing up for that. This picture depicts that. The A.N.C. fought for African rights.
    The flag has three colors on it and each represent a precious jewel of Africa. Black represents the vast majority of the population, green is for the rich land, and yellow is for the gold that long provided the wealth for their country.
    I would even say that there is a defense in this poster and a little bit of aggression. The fist holding the flag is tight and you can see the strength in the arm. It shows that they stand their ground.

  9. Arian Amiri says:

    Visual Source 22.4 is poster created by Abdel Rahman Al Muzain in 1984 portraying a Palestinian farmer commemorating Land Day. This Poster given then name “A Palestinian Nation in the Making” shows how Palestinians had struggled against Israeli powers to keep what was their land. The poster shows a large man with a pickax in his arms maybe to portray that these lands belong to the Palestinians and they put the effort to survive off these lands and do not deserve to have them confiscated by Israelis. In this poster are three doves. These doves could symbolize peace and show how the land was theirs and should not be taken. One on the shoulder looking towards the Sun which gives light and life to the land, which is where the other two doves are located, on the ground looking at the land. The doves could also symbolize the souls of the six Palestinians that were killed in 1976 for their “demonstrations against Israeli confiscation of their land.”

  10. G. Readdy says:

    The image I found the most interest is 22.2 because it involves us, the United States. I find it interesting how most Americans stateside were totally opposed to the Vietnam War, but this image shows Vietnam almost embracing it. It trully is a David vs. Goliath story: America, the global superpower vs. Vietnam, a small Southeast Asia country. The reasons why the underdog won is not fully known, but their sense of nationalism, a country divided before war, was a big factor. The poster depicts an evil, black B-52 fighter jet going down, which would be American, and a Vietnamese soldier holding up flowers as a sign of victory. To reiterate my main point, I found it funny that Vietnam and its citizens took a sense of pride for the war while America and our citizens were strictly opposed and wanted nothing to do with the war. This is a big reason the Vietnamese won the war.

  11. mina-s says:

    Answering the second question.. To be wanting nationalism, there first must have been something blocking the way. To defeat this block, from history so far, there has been revolutions and war. Visual Source 22.2 depicts “Vietnamese Independence and Victory over the United States”. The translated caption says, “Bravo for Hanoi’s Tremendous Victory When 23 B-52s Were Shot Down!”. There is a smiling soldier in the front raising a handful of flowers and in the background there is a B-52 that has been shot, going down with fire. Even with Vietnam, there has been some conflict with others. If people were able to settle disagreements peacefully, it might be possible to avoid such conflicts, but that is really only just an easy answer to say. But also, if it is a country that has been conquered by another, and the conquering country gives it up, such as with Jamaica, that is also another route of which conflict can be avoided.

  12. Carina C says:

    Visual source 22.1 is a poster that represented the ANC’s values and served as an encouragement to other nationalists striving for independence. The African flag symbolizes the pride the ANC and followers had apyet the spear and weapons in the back portray the change from a passive aggressive ANC to a more hands on rebel group. There is a mass group of people on what seems to be a march and there is a noticeable red flag in the back. The flag appears to be a communist flag and maybe the marchers were marching for any type if change and independence not just for the ANC’s beliefs.

  13. Garrett Mitchell says:

    Visual source 22.3 serves as propaganda for the zionist movement. The poster accomplishes its goal by portraying the new Israel as a fertile landscape which is awaiting the Jewish people. The poster shows the land as empty but plowed to show that the new Israel is a place of fruitful opportunities and a form of oasis in contrast to the barren landscape which surrounds it. After the tragic events that beset the Jewish people during the second World War, they sought a place to call their own. If the other images of Israel propagandized are on par with the one portrayed in the book, then I’m surprised more people didn’t try to move to Israel.

  14. Ruby says:

    Kwame Nkrumah played a key role in the development and unifying of Africa. As Ghana’s nationalist leader and first president, he was convinced that the only way Africa could achieve genuine substantial economic development was through union alone. As Africa divided into more than fifty separate countries, Nkrumah wanted to aid in rectifying this problem through unifying the continent so that economic and political development could occur. Written in 1963, document 22.2 is Kwame Nkrumah expressing the importance of a unified Africa and the benefits of Africa being unified so that they may be able to increase development in the continent. In particular, he states three objectives in which a united Africa should seek. First, overall economic planning in a colonial basis in order to increase the industrial and economic power of Africa. Second, he felt they should aim to establish a unified military and defense strategy for protection of their continent. Lastly, Nkrumah felt it was necessary for Africa to adopt a unified foreign policy and diplomacy to give political direction to their efforts towards protection and economic development.

  15. gjones22 says:

    Image 22.2 gives visualization of Vietnamese pride and independence. The people of Vietnam had a strong since of nationalism as the struggle for their pride and independence was still being fought for against the military powerhouse, the United States. The effort to rid Vietnam of America and its ideas and military drove the people to become a very united front, especially those in favor of communism. Opposing ideas and efforts seem to make conflict almost inevitable, especially when each group does not respect the others viewpoint and recognize that it does not have to be there own.
    G. Jones

  16. Joslyn P says:

    Visual Source 21.1 portrays a poster representing the African National Congress (ANC). The organization’s flag is shown with symbolic colors and icons; black representing the nation’s population, green representing the rich lands, and yellow representing the diamonds that brought them great wealth. Symbolic icons include the wheel, fist, spear and shield. I think the ANC used these instead of modern rifles to highlight their traditional weaponry and pay homage to their roots before colonialism and westernization took place. The mass march behind it all ties the poster together to convey the message of unity and nationalism. Overall, I think it had a positive effect on its viewers.

  17. Shamira says:

    Taking into account your question about nationalism and conflict, referring to visual source 22.1, I believe it is possible to avoid conflict while maintaining a pride in your nation. In VS 22.1, there is a South African flag held in the forefront of the image while in the back we see a spear, a wheel, as well as many people participating in what looks like a march. The image gives off a peaceful tone, one that symbolizes unity in the midst of differences. In the mass of people behind the flag, there are people of different shades and colors as well as different flags such as the red African Communist flag. This gives the impression that the South African people are proud of the accomplishment of now being independent, but willing to be equal to the various other types of people and their ideals who live there.

  18. Jamison H says:

    In document 22.4 Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Muslim female activist and a critic to the practice of Islam, writes about the denouncing of her own faith in the Islamic religion. Ali speaks about how for a long period of time after running away from her arranged marriage to go study at a university in the Netherlands that she toyed with the ideals of Islam and soon found that she could no longer live her life by them. In this document she talks about how the principles of Quran do not make sense to her anymore after being enlightened by her time studying in Holland. I think Ali’s answer to the question ” Is it possible to make the two compatible?” would be no, that it is impossible to live a life in a religion that does not promote equality within all of it’s followers and that it could not fit into this new mold of modernization.

  19. Grecia Cortavarria says:

    Doc. 22.2 introduces Khomeini’s perspective on religion. He feels very strongly towards the Sha of Iran and to leading Islamic values in Iran. He mentions the Jewish people on are against Islamic movement and he refers to them as Satan. ” Jewish people, who are the source of all the anti-Islamic libels and intrigues current today. Then came the turn of those even damnable representatives of Satan, the imperialists.” Khomeini makes his point through the telling the people that the solution to their problems is in the laws of Islam and we don’t need to seek elsewhere. He wants to make it clear that living through the Koran is essential to our daily lives and we need to devote our time to it.

  20. Simbuilder5 says:

    Ms. Dworkin’s “Remember, Resist, Do Not Comply” speech was incredibly moving. I appreciate her genuine concern for fixing the systems in place for women to be exploited. Those systems are marriage, relationships, family orders and many others. She’s requesting that every woman that was in the room at the time resist oppression at any cost for change. She talks about the disillusioned people of the past who claimed rape to be just only “desire.” Instead of asking why something happened, Dworkin suggests we focus on the perpetrators who actual commit these crimes. This speech was written the year I was born and I can only imagine the things that happened before I came into the world. One of the last statement’s our textbook states is that one difficulty of living in a new age is that we haven’t actually experienced the past. That is where history comes in. Within our lives we can witness change and like Dworkin suggest, change things ourselves.

    -Winston S

  21. ajones188 says:

    In Visual Source 22.4, a Palestinian farmer is depicted holding a pickaxe looking to the sun while wearing traditional clothes. There is a town of uniform houses behind him. I believe the artist drew him with a pickaxe instead of a rifle because a pickaxe would signify him to be a hard worker. When paired with the doves on his shoulder and at his feet along with his relaxed expression, he looks harmless despite the tool he holds in his hands. The string of homes behind him may state that he and his family have been on the land for years – perhaps centuries.

  22. Samuel says:

    There is not a correlation between Islam and Nationalism. Islam is the love of God whereas nationalism is the love of country. Further, why wouldn’t Islam be connected with modernity, the terrible acts of some angry Muslims is directly instigated by economic powers, the same economic powers that divided up the world amongst the few in the 19th century. Without condoning such drastic measures I would strenuously suggest one to emphasize. Pretending not to understand the frustration of Islamic fundamentalist is an insult and would only lead to more acts of aggression. The religious practices of Islam is ancient and worthy of much research. Although religious practices in general are not as necessary, according to the Apostle Paul, a very, reliable source, it is harmless to a “modern” society never-the-less. In fact, if most of us Christians practice half of the religious dedication of a devout Muslim, we would be better prepared concerning spiritual matters. Subtlety, yours truly

  23. Krys M. says:

    Visual source 22.2, though a merry poster, is also very ominous in respects to the American people during the Vietnam war. The picture created between 1965 and 1975 entitled “Vietnamese Independence and Victory over the United States,” shows a Vietnamese soldier with a bouquet of flowers in his hand. He is smiling with great joy while having a weapon/rifle strapped to his back. This shows a celebration is about to ensue or is already underway. On the chest of the soldier’s uniform is a congratulatory ribbon I presume. This shows that this particular soldier must have been rewarded for an achievement in battle. Meanwhile in the background of the picture is a battle scene with more soldiers weapons and fighter planes. The most striking image in the background would be that of the soon to be wreckage of a US fighter plane (B52). The color scene of this source is what makes it so ominous. The American B52 is colored in all black save the red and amber colors that highlight the plane’s defeat. This is quite an interesting image, especially being that among this war scene this appears to be some traditional Vietnamese architecture that has been left untouched by the battle taking place around it. But why would that be? Why would that specific piece of architecture be included in the background of a poster such as this?

  24. ShanakayW says:

    Visual source 22.1 is a picture of a hand holding the African flag, and a spear, behind the hand is a shield, and a crowd of people, creaming with joy and laughter. The hand holding the flag fist is tight, its veins are popping out; you see the strength and powered in the arm. The spear and the shield represent the long war that the African country fought and the flag represents the Independence that the country of Africa gained from fighting other foreign countries. The crowed of people in the back ground are celebrating the result stemming from their long and hard efforts. It’s visible that crowd is extremely happy about their victory that the American National Congress helped them to win.

    – ShanakayW

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