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Arabs, The - A Living History, Part 1 - The Making of the Arabs

(50 mins) The first film in this important series introduces the viewer to the rich variety of life, opinion and history that exists in the region we call the Arab world ­ the lands which stretch from the mountains of Morocco to the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula, from the valley of the Nile to the Eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

Why do the 180 million people who inhabit these lands call themselves Arabs? As he journeys through this crucial region our writer and guide Basim Musallam talks to man and women from the four corners of the Arab world and searches for the source of the Arab identity which he and they share. The film starts in his troubled home city of Beirut; moves to Cairo; to the bustle of Kuwait; to the ancient and beautiful land of Morocco.

With a rich mixture of historical and living imagery and through the encounters with his own generation of articulate, questioning Arabs, Basim Musallam, shows how modern Arab political identity crystallised early in the 20th century, and how the Arabs drew, as they still draw, on the historical and cultural achievements of their medieval forebears.