Amongst the turbid and dysfunction that is the Middle East lies the nation of Egypt. Egypt, a major country of the Middle East, is habitually considered stereotypical of Middle Eastern civilization, but further research guides one to the conclusion that Egypt is far from a generic Middle Eastern country. Egypt has a strong tradition of nationalism that has been formed during its history, giving it a national unity that is often non-existent in other Middle Eastern nations (1). This, as well as other advantages that Egypt has gained during its past, has allowed it to rise above the problems plaguing the rest of the Middle East and to form basically its own unique society, which is notably different from that of its neighboring nations.
Hannah Arendt is the author of The Human Condition, a book which is an effective aid in the explanation of the difference between Egyptian society and the rest of the Middle East. The Human Condition covers several aspects of different societies throughout history, but the focus of this paper will be on her discussion of private and public realms as well as her definition of a society. The two civilizations she uses to describe these distinct realms are ancient Greece and present-day America.
Ancient Greece had a highly structured society in which private and public lives were considered separate. A private realm consisted of the house and all that was entailed within it (2). There was a master of the house. The master of the house was the only one allowed to participate in the public realm and the only one considered a citizen. The public realm took place in a city setting, in which a large gro...
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... Arabs: 221
17 - For further information on the Egyptian false sense of pride: Ajami, Fouad. The Dream Palace of the Arabs: Chapter 4
18 - Women and the Family in the Middle East: 25
Ajami, Fouad. The Dream Palace of the Arabs. New York: Vintage Books.
Arendt, Hannah. The Human Condition. New York: Doubleday and Company Inc., 1959.
Fernea, Elizabeth Warnock. Women and the Family in the Middle East. Texas: University of Texas Press, 1985.
Heikal, Mohammed. The Sphinx and the Commissar. USA: Times Newspapers Limited, 1978.
Hinnebusch, Raymond A. Jr. Egyptian Politics Understood. Cambridge, London: Cambrigdge University Press, 1985.
Simon, Reeva S. Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East. New York: Simon and Schuster Macmillan, 1996.
Westbury, John. The Egypt of Nasser and Sadat. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983.
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