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6921 - European Colonialism in the Levant and Diasporic Politics in Argentina, 1920-1946

The death of King Faisal of Iraq in September 1933 provoked an outpouring of sympathy from Arabic-speaking immigrants residing in Argentina, marking the loss of a premier symbol and leader of Arab nationalism. Many Arabs in the Americas had long supported the fight against European imperial designs with donations, volunteers and material aid during the interwar period. At the same time, the death of the Iraqi monarch also brought to light the deep political schisms within this diasporic community. Using Arabic-language press published in Argentina, this paper explores the internal debates of this immigrant community to show the multiple understandings of European colonialism. The role of the French in Lebanon and Syria was more consequential in dividing the community than the perceived Zionist threat in Palestine. Political ideologies weighed heavier than confessional identities as immigrants implemented various strategies to support families, the revolutionary forces, or the colonial states. This paper will contribute to the growing scholarship on the Arabic-speaking communities in the Americas and Diaspora Studies by focusing on the transnational political considerations and exchanges these people confronted. Furthermore, the paper will highlight that this community did not possess a monolithic relationship to the colonial experience in Greater Syria and initiated a series of relationships, publications and public events in relation to French and British imperialism.

Keywords: Diaspora, Argentina, Syria, Lebanon, Transnational Politics

Author: Hyland Jr., Steven (Wingate University, Ud States of Am / USA)

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