Ever wondered about the roots of pan-Arabist nationalism? The Moor Next Door has a longish essay, Three Nadhras of Michel Aflaq, which explores the ideas of a Syrian founder of the Ba’ath party, Michel Aflaq. Nouri notes that Aflaq died in Iraq in 1989. Based on the essay, Aflaq’s reinterpretation of European political ideas of the 1930s – notably including fascism – underpin the Ba’athist response to colonialsim. Fascinating.

Personally, I have always sort of understood post-colonial nationalism as a misguided rerun of the European rise of the idea. The point of contention, I guess, is whether or not the construction of a national identity is necessary in order to practice a politics of modernity. After all, the European county I have the most knowledge of and which has the longest-standing democratic form of governance confederated well before the national ideal became important in Europe and consequently has, count ’em, four national languages.