Ottoman Brotherhood

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Notions of Brotherhood throughout the Late Ottoman Period:

In Ottoman Brothers, Michelle Campos attempts to dispel the misconceived notion of the role of ‘ethnic nationalisms’ in the last Islamic Empires disintegration. By utilizing a wide range of sources, Campos illustrates how the Ottoman Empire was far from a ‘prison of nations’, where ‘natural nationalisms’ slowly deteriorated the national composition. That it was, in contrast, a melting pot of ethnicities sharing in the faith of newly acquired liberties. Campos’s specific focus on Twentieth-Century Palestine highlights the broader challenges faced by the evolving empire as a whole. Amongst these challenges is the overall failure of the Ottoman bureaucracy to deliver the promises encapsulated in the 1908 revolution. However, it would be the rise of foreign infiltration through capitulations, communal rivalries, costly wars and territorial concessions that greatly weakened the Ottoman state and expedited its demise. The roots of the Ottoman revolution resided in the education of the populace throughout the Hamidian period. As Campos cites, between the years of 1876 and 1909 approximately ten thousand new elementary, middle, and high schools were established. Along with this lower education came a rise in law, medicine and military science schools as well. In a sense, literacy and loyalty were thought to be intertwined in maintaining the integration of the empire, as schools were established in regions that seemed politically sensitive like Crete, Cyprus, and Macedonia to combat growing ideals of nationalism. Ironically, instead of becoming more loyal to the Ottoman sultan, education made these individuals more loyal to the state. Ottoman’s became more aware of their predicament, as education enabled them to contrast their position with the outside world. As a result, individuals began to formulate ideal notions of government and engaged in debates on the meaning of citizenship. In summary, the subsequent...
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