Contemporary borders of the Middle East resulted from the
There were long-term effects of European control in the
Middle East. Iraq suffered about 80 years of dictatorship and war, followed by
what seems to be more war and control by outside forces. Palestine continues to
shrink. During WWI, the British promised Zionists and wealthy European Jews a
homeland in Palestine if they would help in the war effort, but they had also
promised Arab leaders control of it as well. After the war, Britain gained
control of Palestine and allowed more Jewish migration, creating conflict with
the existing Arab majority. After WWII,
Palestinians were compelled to accept Jewish refugees from Europe and to make
way for two states. Israel was founded as a Jewish state in 1948. Remaining
Palestinian lands are controlled by the elected Palestinian Authority, but it
is not yet a nation. In 1987, Palestinians began the Intifada (“Awakening”), a sometimes-violent
resistance to Israeli military occupation that involved bombing civilian
targets in Israel. Israel responded by arresting thousands and attacking
civilian targets with helicopters and jets. The 2nd Intifada began in 2000.
Israel responded by building a fence to surround Palestinian land.
European countries impoverished by WWII recognized that
they could not maintain some colonies and negotiated with them for
independence. They included India and most British colonies in Africa: Ghana,
Uganda, Nigeria, etc. and African colonies such as the Congo, Angola, Cameroon,
Togo, Rwanda, etc. South Africa became independent but passed rigid apartheid
laws that created racial conflict from 1948-1990s.
Africa has also suffered long-term effects from WWI. The first
world war caused an important social change in the relationship among Africans
and Europeans. Hundreds of thousands of peasants in Africa made enormous
sacrifices for the European Allies. Peasant soldiers from French North Africa, French
West Africa, and East Africa died from the war, and some of those who didn’t
die were disabled. There was also destruction of infrastructure, devastation
and diseases in Africa, as a result of the war. After
WWI, the world-wide opinion of colonialism changed, but specifically in Africa.
Before WWI, colonial powers had no one to answer to for their actions. In 1919,
the conference of Versailles looked at the colonial past of Germany and decided
that it did not conform with the new standards of morality, which were to
govern the administration of the colonial people. This new outlook is one of
the reasons that they withdrew its colonies.
In the Middle East today, Christian-Muslim conflict is
still an issue at hand. Religious conflicts have also been on the rise in
Africa. It is important to note that these conflicts spill over from the Middle
East, where radical groups such as Al-Qaeda are present, and even North Africa.
I believe these conflicts are largely a result of earlier events and can only
be dealt with by looking at the past and learning from it.