Friday, October 06, 2006

Observations on Arab Culture

This is written by an anthropologist that went to teach in Saudi Arabia. There is some very good and juicy stuff in there. It is going to piss off a lot of people, especially I think, the neocons and multiculturalists in different ways. The fact of the matter is despite that they are in fact human too Middle Eastern cultural Arabs are not Americans in their outlook. They don't just wear different clothes. They really do think differently. Anyone that has gone out and spent time in another culture has seen this. This is brought home time and again with respect to my marriage: my wife does not think like I do nor like most of my friends that I knew/know getting to this point. Ukrainians are simply not Americans either. Oh, to be sure, she is assimilating. Very successfully for that matter. That came home when we all went back to Ukraine this May/June. And also to be sure, the goal post of what 'Americans' think is pretty flexible and wide ranging.

He paints a rather broad brush. Egyptians != Saudis != Lebanese != Moroccans != Tunisians. My favourite coffee shop is run by some Orthodox Christian Lebanese (Aroma Cafe in downtown Oakland for those that care). They're obviously going to be different just based on religion. Yet, they're Arab.

At any rate, read the post and think about it. Don't just knee jerk.

I saw this via Gene Expression.

1 comment:

Allen Marshall said...

--- EXTREMELY thought provoking-- unfortunately it doesn't provide any easy answers.... but it does highlight how anyone discussing Muslim/Middle East issues is probably oversimplifying things in PROFOUND ways he is not even aware of.

In the U.S. (perhaps the Western World in general) I sometimes get peeved by single issue points of view that I might not share with friends/family or co-workers--- but in general I think I tend to be MORE amazed by how much I feel I share a common world view/life experience with hundreds and even millions of other people.

What I just now read of 'Arab culture' describes a world view that is TRULY alien to the way myself and 99% of people I have ever known operate.

-- again, fascinating/thought provoking stuff