Wither Wana: Reflections on the Arab Uprisings- softcover
Author: Chandra Muzaffar
Publisher: International Movement for a JUST World
Weight: 215 g
The acronym in the title of this book requires some explanation. WANA stands for West Asia and North Africa. I prefer this term to 'Middle East'.
WANA describes a geographical region that embraces almost the whole of the Arab world and other countries in that space such as Iran and Turkey. Because it is geographical, it is ideologically neutral. WANA has been used by organisations and individuals for some time now but it remains the choice of a minority.
It was the British India Office that invented the term ' Middle East' in the 1850s, at the height of colonialism, to denote Arab countries and their neighbours. For me in Malaysia and most others in Asia or even in other parts of the world, the region the British had in mind was certainly not in the Middle of the East. It was a clear case of how colonial perspectives have shaped maps and names, The fact that the vast majority of people continue to use the term 'Middle East' is proof of not just the enduring impact of the colonial discourse in the post-colonial era but also of how our own thought process and outlook have been shaped so deeply by that discourse.