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What is theHusayn-McMahon Correspondence?

This is the correspondence in form of letters that took place during the First World War as the British forces were fighting the Turkish forces, between Husayn who was an Arab and McMahon from Great Britain.

The battle ground was in the Middle East as the Ottoman Empire controlled the south which encompassed Hijaz. This also included the holy cities of Muslims, Medina and Mecca, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Kuwait (Palestine facts, 2009). The letter that was written to McMahon in 1915 on July 14th from Husayn wanted the British to guarantee the independence of Arabs which would be under the Sharifitian government controlled by Arabs.

Why do the Palestinians refer to this correspondence when they talk about the Britain Policies?

This government that made up of independent Arabs would include the Palestine Fertile Crescent, Arabian peninsula, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. McMahon who was acting on behalf of the government of Britain corresponded with Husayn and agreed to support the independence of Arabs after the war but this was to be subjected to certain exclusions and reservations (Palestine facts, 2009). The Palestine region was claimed to be under some of the Arabian territories that were guaranteed independence by British if Husayn helped them in defeating the Turks from Ottoman. The correspondence between the two was legally unbinding but Husayn successfully launched an Arab revolt, defeated Turkey and crowned himself the king of Arabs. The other agreement was for Britain to guarantee that there was no external aggression in places that were considered holy by the Muslims.

The British policies in Palestine are different from the ones in the WW1 since Britain greatly supports the sovereignty of Israel which is seen as a foreigner who invaded the Arab world in the Middle East. This contravenes the Husayn-McMahon Correspondence since Britain was supposed to ensure the independence of all Arabs, but some land belonging to Palestine e.g. the Gaza strip is controlled by Israel. The Palestinians consider that Britain has failed to protect their holy cities as they have shown strong support for Israel where the holy city of Jerusalem is situated (Palestine facts, 2009).

The experiences of Lucy Bushill Matthews in Middle East

Lucy converted to Muslim when she was nineteen years old due to her contact with great Muslims and other bad ones. However, she wanted to learn about all the Muslims. What attracted her to Islam was the moral code which was clearly stipulated by the Koran. Lucy enjoyed this great sense of morality during her stay in Middle East since the laws stated that people were supposed to treat each other with respect and brotherhood according to the Islamic law. The Sharia law states that women should wear a hijab and Lucy adhered to this attire which she considered decent. She also brought up her children under the Islamic law which had such high morals and this please her parents greatly.

Lucy was not spared the Sharia laws which degrade, discriminate and humiliate women. This caused a lot of untold suffering since she was a woman from the west. The Muslim world under Sharia law is a world dominated by men where women have no place. Although the temperatures in the Middle East are beyond the boiling point, women are obligated to wear veils that cover them from head to toe when going out into the open and they also have to be accompanied by a male relative to protect their morality. Lucy was not spared these rules and she suffered a lot as she had to wear a veil despite the boiling temperatures.

What is the Persian Iranian nationalism?

The Persian Iranian nationalism was a nationalism that was created by the phalavi dynasty which was ruled by Reza Shah who was the last ruler before the Islamic revolution took place. He helped in shaping the nationalism of Iran as he infused it with distinct secular ideologies (Yousefzadeh, 2004). He managed to diminish the influence of the Islamic ideologies in Iran and insisted that his country should be refereed to as Iran instead of Persia as it was known by then. Iran stands for the Aryans land and the main aim why Reza chose this name was to show that there was a significant racial difference between Arabs and the Iranians who were Aryans. This doing by Reza aimed at de-emphasizing the Arab and Islamic influence on the history of Iran (Yousefzadeh, 2004).

When and how did it develop?

The Persian Iranian nationalism developed when Reza took the throne as a shah in 1925 until 1941 when an abdication was forced on him. He shifted his focus from the Arab world to other great dynasties that existed at that time such as Achaemenid which was ruled by great kings such as Cyrus and Darius the great. The dynastic name that was adopted by Reza for his dynasty pahlavi got the design from the infusion secular tones which were new and Iranian nationalism. Phalavi refers to the name of an ancient Persian language which is pre-Islamic and it means a champion. The wrestling champion of phalavian originated from Persia as people were responding to the invasion that Arabs had carried out on Persia as they tried to spread their Islamic rule (Yousefzadeh, 2004). Reza failed in trying to infuse a new nationalism form in Iran. He tried to convert Iran into a republic as he wanted to emulate what his idol from Turkey Mustafa Kemal had done (Yousefzadeh, 2004).

What were the salient features of Persian/Iranian nationalism during Reza Shah’s reign?

Reza encountered a lot of resistance from the mullahs in trying to lessen the influence of Islam on Iran. Despite these hardships, most programs by Reza successfully diminished the Islamic role in Iran. He ordered men in the army to shave off the beard which was held highly in the Islamic culture. Conversely he insisted that women did not have to wear the chador that kept them veiled from head to toe to protect their modesty. He also created a powerful Iranian military bringing about new army ranks which rivaled the religious ones held by the mullahs.



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