By that time, however, the Palestinian national movement, represented by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), had failed to live up to its claim that it represented the genuine “secular” alternative to the humiliated Arab nationalists. The PLO’s blunders in Jordan and Lebanon — in which it intervened in the domestic affairs of both countries and intimidated local communities — deprived the leadership of the pretense that the movement was different from the rest of the Arab regimes. Finally, the civil war in Lebanon, which began in 1975, decisively killed the fleeting moment of hope and promise that was Beirut.
The word utopia comes from Sir Thomas More’s novel Utopia (1516), and it is derived from Greek roots that could be translated to mean either “good place” or “no place.” Books that include descriptions of utopian societies were written long before More’s novel, however. Plato’s Republic is a prime example. Sometimes the societies described are meant to represent the perfect society, but sometimes utopias are created to satirize existing societies, or simply to speculate about what life might be like under different conditions. In the 1920s, just before Brave New World was written, a number of bitterly satirical novels were written to describe the horrors of a planned or totalitarian society. The societies they describe are called dystopias, places where things are badly awry. Either term, utopia or dystopia, could correctly be used to describe Brave New World.