“Understanding Syria” by William R. Polk

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"Whether in enclaves or in neighborhoods, each non-Muslim community dressed according to its custom, spoke its own languages and lived in its unique cultural pattern; it appointed or elected its own officials who divided the among its fellows the taxes it owed to the empire, ran its schools and provided such health facilities and social welfare as it thought proper or could afford. Since this system was spelled out in the Quran and the Traditions (Hadiths) of the Prophet, respecting it was legally obligatory on Muslims. Consequently, when the Syrian state took shape, it inherited a rich, diverse and tolerant social tradition." Polk

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There will be two more parts of this document.  I will publish them on SST.  pl

Download PART I UNDERSTANDING SYRIA

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7 Responses to “Understanding Syria” by William R. Polk

  1. Babak Makkinejad says:

    One quibble: I think “Ba’ath” is better translated as “Rebirth” – in the same sense as a Christian is “reborn”.

  2. b says:

    Excellent Mr. Polk. Thanks.
    May I additionally recommend on the Baath party (and the various CIA involvements in Syria):
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/posts/the_baby_and_the_baath_water

  3. Castellio says:

    An effective use of the website: making available more information for those who want it, delivered as the author intended.
    Thanks.

  4. Lars Moller-Rasmussen says:

    Babak Makkinejad,
    The word “Baath” can mean “resurrection, resurgence” as well as “mission”, according to my Arabic dictionary (Elias Collegiate).
    Lars Moller-Rasmussen.

  5. nick b says:

    I enjoyed reading this. I look forward to reading the rest, especially appendix B. I hope that in the following parts Polk might return to how distribution of resources in Syria will continue to effect this nation, or perhaps, these nations.

  6. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I understand that – by the word’s root is also used to indicate the initiation of the Prophet’s mission – he was “re-born” after that night in Hera.

  7. Ingolf says:

    Wonderfully informative. Thank you.

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