For over a century, people living in the Middle-East have been involved in both a search for identity and a constant attempt to assert that [lost/found] identity. Al-Rawda is a product of that context.
The book is intended for an Arab audience struggling within how to deal with modernity as articulated by the West. Much of the vocabulary used for these discussions are translated into Arabic as opposed to have emerged from within. Although, etymologically, words like freedom, politics, culture, state, prosperity, and secularism are products of a close-nit semantic web in European languages, when Arabized, they are dismembered and the implicit consistent relationship between them is lost in translation.
Al-Rawda is an attempt to put the Arab reader in western shoes so that he can think like a westerner and understand the outlook of western political philosophy today. The intention is to make it so accessible and acceptable; the reader becomes confused when confronted with the paradox inherent in comparing his outlook with that of the ‘other.’ My next goal is to do the same for the western reader. When the two confused groups get together, without hiding behind false confidence, a genuine discussion can ensue.
Al-Rawda provides a semantic web that integrates the keywords of western political philosophy, all derived from one root word (rwd). Thus the Arab reader is able to taste their relationship and make the logical leaps from one concept to the other. The story line follows a young boy from a traditional tribe that is colonized by the advanced Rawda. He moves to the capital Rawda on scholarship as he learns philosophy and confronts the paradox of clashing cultures.