With the mandates and treaties, the direct pressure from the West toward the establishment of Western social institutions intensified. At the same time, the indigenous drive to establish national power and prestige by taking from the West was also gaining ground. Hence technical and administrative change accelerated rapidly.
All the new institutions were based on an entirely new conception of the political entitythe national state with the government claiming to represent the social unit to which the ultimate loyalty of all its citizens should be given and ready to interfere in the lives of all sections of the population, not merely to maintain order and the status quo, but to produce a permanent state of change along a path of eternal improvementthat is, to pursue "progress" and "civilization." The old divisions into religious, language, and local communities, and into townsmen, villagers, and tribes, which still existed which, indeed, had in some cases been strengthened by the period of conflict and insecurityhad theoretically no place in the new scheme of things, with which they were plainly inconsistent.
But the new central governments had the benefit of the new techniques and methods of administration. They controlled professional armed forces, which made rebellions unsuccessful, and they were learning how to exert control over the daily lives of their citizens on a scale these semiautonomous peoples had never experienced. The new means of communicationmotor car, telephone, and radioworked in the same direction, bringing parts of the society into contact, forcing them to see themselves as bits of the nation rather than as the center of their own universe. Communities that had been almost self-contained social systems of their own became parts of a single social system with the government and its Westernized servants firmly at the top.
The people who have lost most by the change are the tribes. One-time independent Bedouin communities have been "pacified," and in many cases settled as fellahin. The new technology has deprived many of them of their main sources of incomecamel-breeding and caravan escortand the modern weapons in the hands of regular armies make their resistance to governments much less effective. The new frontiers cut across the tribes' normal routes of migration and upset their traditional pasturing practices. Their raids became either a disturbance of the national peace, or worse still, aggression against another state. They are no longer the cream of Middle East society, but by the new urban standards barbarians, who must first become peasants like their former subjects before they can begin to achieve "civilization." The working out of the confusion from the Ottoman land reform has meant that in many cases land held by complex tribal customary rights has been registered as the personal property of the sheikh, who is thus converted from a political head into an absentee landlord. Very large areas of Iraq seem to have been settled on these terms since 1920.(3) In Syria, the Jezira area, which was formerly uninhabitable because of tribal activities, is now being cultivated by "merchant tractorists" who pay rent to the sheikhs.(4)
In Turkey, also, the nomads living in the Taurus Mountains and in the east have been under pressure to
settle. The only practically important tribally organized people inside Turkey were the Kurds. The Turkish
army has been in action against them several times, from 1925 to the middle 1930's. Normal administration
is now in force in all Kurdish areas, and assimilation by the teaching of Turkish seems to be proceeding
Villagers have also been subject to the civilizing and nationalizing pressure. The degree of political and economic integration of the villages into the national life of Turkey is striking. The great national effort of the war of independence, and the symbol it gave the nation in the person of Ataturk, made the population, which was already fairly homogeneous, nationally loyal from the beginning of the republic, ha spite of the government's attacks on religious symbols and institutions. The villagers certainly had a great deal to bear: they were told by legislation how to lay out their villages; they were made to wear hats like infidels; they were subjected to a European code in place of their own sacred law; their religious orders were made illegal; and the training of their imams was prohibited. Finally, they were forbidden to write in the sacred Arabic script, and their children were taught the script of the Franks. What averted the direct impact of this series of attacks on their way of life was the absence of an administration capable of enforcing the reforms in detail. Probably this relative inefficiency saved the regime from reactionary rebellion. As the administration has increased in scope and efficiency, so the reforms slowly have reached the villages piecemeal. Only the hat law was rigidly enforced at the time of its enactment. But now the administration is reaching the villages. The headman receives a stream of official ordersthe village houses are to be renumbered, a statement of village accounts is required, an electoral role must be submitted, all dogs not actually required to protect sheep must be put to death, and so on. The office of headman has become unpopular. His official duties, even though frequently evaded, are liable to cause trouble with the authorities, or with the villagers, his neighbors, or with both. They often require him to extract money or information from his fellow villagers. All headmen I have come across are accused of embezzling funds, and all of course have strenuously denied it. Almost all were young men between twenty-five and forty years of age, usually with influential senior kin alive. All with scarcely an exception said they wanted to resign as soon as possible and would never undertake the office again, and in many cases a two- or four-year term of official office (5) was in fact broken by retirement. One result of this is that neither the headman nor anyone else could really exercise any leadership or exert pressure to settle village quarrels. This in turn leads to more recourse to urban institutions and personnel, thus intensifying the process of the decline of rural autonomy.
At the same time, the usefulness of the government has become more obvious locally. Government credit has increased greatly, and one of the main annual administrative contacts for all villages and most villagers is the paying of the old Agricultural Bank loan and the drawing of a new one after the harvest each year. Roads and road overseers have appeared in villages, water conduits and fountains have been built officials arrive to assess the harvest in bad years for a debt moratorium, medical officers of health make occasional visits, and village health officers and midwives have settled in some villages.
The villager himself goes off to town much more often than he did, hours away in a bus or lorry, instead of days away on foot or donkey. The volume of migrant labor, though it is not, as far as I know, measured by official statistics, has risen very greatly. All these contacts with a self-consciously progressive middle class, which ostentatiously uses a different etiquette (they do not, for example, normally remove shoes when entering a village man's guest room) has made the villager very ready to pour scorn on his own way of life and accomplishments. He sees himself at the bottom of the national scale of social rank.
This process of urban interference to improve village life has gone much less far in Syria and Iraq. With
minor exceptions, Syrian governments have been too preoccupied with staying in office to do very much about organizing social services to attack the villages. The peasants on the whole have not been subjected to a stream of officials. On the other hand, as Gullick (6) makes very clear for Lebanon, private enterprise has taken a hand. Buses and trucks, radios, and even some technical agricultural and irrigation change have arrived, though we have as far as I know no recent detailed information on the effect of these on the structure of village society.
In Iraq, the situation is similar, except that distribution of landholding is even more recent and is oven more heavily in favor of the large landowning class. In spite of vast expenditures on dams, and also on roads, bridges, water works, hospitals, and so on, practically nothing has so far been spent on social services for villagers. This is hardly surprising since the government is necessarily dominated by large landlords who do not want middle-class officials wandering about in their villages suggesting reforms. Not only is the first reform suggested likely to be a reduction in the landlord's share of the crop, but middle-class officials are used by the villagers as allies against the landlord's political influence. This is what one would expect a priori, and is clearly brought out in Dr. Salim's study of marsh Arabs.(7) On the other hand, the vast public works that the oil millions have financed have meant plenty of work for sharecroppers who have given up the rural struggle and decamped with their families to town. Whereas at least until very recently the proportion of urban to rural population in Turkey was roughly constant, in Iraq, by all reports, people arc moving into the towns. The sheikhs of Amara complain that they are losing workers at a rate that will endanger agricultural production.(8) Village awareness of belonging to the bottom rung of a centrally controlled state cannot fail to grow when many kin and ex-neighbors are living in the cities, being paid wages out of national oil revenues.
The Egyptian situation is still different. A central government has existed for a long timeon and off for a century and a half. The villagers have never had the same autonomy. In recent years both landlord and government have worked to introduce higher output through technical improvement and even social improvements through health clinics and such. The newly liberated estates of the great landlords, now formally owned by the cultivators, have been organized on a basis of officially controlled co-operatives, in which the economic and administrative functions of the landlords have been taken over by professional organizers.(9) The crowning example of government interference with villagers is the program for the settlement of the new villages in the newly reclaimed Tahrir Province. Peasants picked by psychological tests are to live in uniform clothes on a strict and thoroughly uplifting routine.(10) It would be interesting to know what is actually happening, sociologically speaking, in these new villages.
It is not only the pressure on villages and their integration into the national social system that is growing rapidly. The urban classes are becoming more dependent on the villagers, both politically and economically.
National power and prestige depend very largely on the productivity, in an agricultural country, of the peasants. The politicians may not always see this too clearly, but they all know that "backwardness" is weakness and at least for this reason seek reform in the villagers.
The peasants are also becoming a more important political factor. Any attempt at a secret ballot election in
which the votes are really counted and published is bound in countries with large peasant populations to
make the village vote important. In Turkey, the Democratic party won the 1950 election by appealing to and
organizing in the villages and they increased their vote in 1954 by the same technique. Officials arc very much more polite to villagers than they used to be; village taxes have been reduced; the official price of grain, which is bought by a government organization, has been raised; and many villages have acquired water works and new roads. In Syria, the Baath party claims and works for the support of village sharecroppers, and in Egypt both the Wafd and Nasser have sought village support. This conscious dependence, however limited, of the townsman on the villager is something entirely new in the Middle East. It is precarious, because elections are not politically essential. Yetand this in itself is interestingthe politicians continue to talk about and to hold elections.
Not only has the traditional relationship between town, village, and tribe altered radically. The new nations have also had to deal with the minorities. Here again the most striking changes have been in Turkey. Mustafa Kemal saw the problem very clearly. The bitterness left by the Armenian revolts and massacres and the war of independence against the Greeks was too violent for these minorities ever to accept loyally citizenship in a Turkish republic. By the time the Treaty of Lausanne came to be negotiated, massacres had effectively removed or driven into safer lands most of the Armenian population of Anatolia. The members of the Greek Orthodox millet were a more serious problem, but this was solved by their bodily exchange with Greece, by the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), for Moslems living in what was to be Greek territory.
The various Shii sects in Turkey were officially ignored. Their leadership and organisation were indirectly attacked when Mustafa Kemal abolished all the meeting places and organization of the dervish orders, since it is clear that these orders, though ostensibly Sunni, had close relations, at least rurally, with Shiis.(11) Shiis are classed as Moslems for census purposes, so that no accurate figures for their numbers can be given. They do not seem to be numerous among the educated class in Turkey and do not seem to present any political difficulty.
The policy toward Sunni minorities is similar. In the Circassian villages, for example, Turkish is spoken in the schools and by the schoolmasters, and this seems to be accepted as right and proper. Only the Kurds, who include both Sunni and Shii tribes, are numerous enough to form a politically important non-Turkish group. They, too, are taught Turkish, and the policy of Turkification seems to be working so far. It has been said to me that it is the educated Kurds, so far few in number, who object to this policy. But the Kurds are not a united people, and many at least accept cheerfully the status of Turkish citizen.
The official end of the millet problem came in 1926. The Treaty of Lausanne guaranteed the legal equality of the minorities, and this meant that so long as the Sharia or a code based on it was still applied to Moslems, the millets had to have their own personal laws. Partly in order to end this permanent institutional symbol of the non-Turkishness of part of his population, Mustafa Kemal hastened the introduction of a European code of law.(12) With this the last remnant of any formal recognition of minorities in Turkey disappeared. This did not end the social reality of ethnic and religious distinctions, but with a vast homogeneous majority, Turkey was able to claim justifiably to be a modern nation-state.
The Arab states were in a different situation. Their minorities were more numerous, and they were less
bitterly hostile to each other. They even had all been united in getting rid of the Turks. Moreover, except for