What happened in the Arab world in the 1970s? What is the Arab world? Where is the Arab world? How have and do the politics of the Arab world impact regional and global politics? What is the history of the occupation of Palestine and the conflict with the State of Israel? How have the oil-producing Arab countries impacted international politics and economies? In the dominant USian imagination I inherited, most ideas about world history come from the History Channel, Hollywood, or uninformed and misinformed parents, pastors, profiteers, and professors.
A new two-part documentary from Al Jazeera, The Arab World in the 1970s, a film by Mohamed Omar with subtitles, explores these and other questions, centering the agency, autonomy, and struggles for political and economic power on their own terms between Arab countries throughout the region and across international borders.
"In a two-part series charting the 1970s in the Arab world, we revisit a decade of great change and long-term effects in the Middle East.
The first episode follows the politics of the time: the 1973 Arab-Israeli war; independence for former colonies; how oil transformed the Gulf economies; the toppling of governments by military coups; and the rise and fall of hopes of Arab unity. These stories of the shifting sands of the 70s are told by many who were there, covering journalism, defense, politics, industry, activism, and diplomacy."
"The second episode looks at the risk-taking Arab cinema and theatre that challenged censorship and forged new cultural forms…[it] follows huge growth in the region's creative productions, mainly political cinema, and theatre, against a backdrop of important political developments."
The archival footage, video, photographs, press conferences, and interviews from television and radio with journalists, politicians, academics, philosophers, musicians, actors, business leaders, and military personnel explore the general intricacies and intimacies of "the 1970s, a decade of war and peace, of discontent, and of profound change."