I’m extremely disgusted and horrified by the assassination of Rafiq al-Harrii in Beirut this morning. I just called my very good Lebanese friend Amal and she is shattered. This could herald a civil-war style conflict in Lebanon. It really is bad news.
My thoughts go with all the Lebanese people right now. May God give them strength, patience and tolerance in these very difficult times. And above all may the Almighty protect their beautiful country.
I’m so sick of this whole region. Mere words cannot convey my frustration. It is endless chaos.
your arguement is well thought out, and to tell you the truth, I agree with 90 percent of it. I have stated many many times that the leaders of the Arab world are horrible people, exploiting their citizens, and only care about themself. When I used to have a column for my college paper a few semesters ago, this was my basic arguement about the politics of the Middle East, from an Arab American’s perspective.
So, knowing this, do we just complain, stereotype the Arab people and say they are worthless? Well, we can do that if we do not care for change, or if deep down inside we just dont like Arabs. But, I am one and I am a human being and if there is something wrong with anything, you work hard to fix it. Pracitcally every nation has had its ups and downs throughout life. As time moves on, things change for the better, or for the worse.
Imagine if women in the early 1900s just complained about America and their fellow Americans because they did not have the right to vote? If all they did was complain, then I probably would not have the same freeodms as my brother has today. Imagine if Blacks in America just complained and didnt do anything when it came to their rights? They would probably stil be slaves in this country. The women of America and the Blacks of America fought for their freedoms. When it got hard, and their lives were threatened, they didnt sit back and just complain. They kept on working hard for what they deserved.
The only way the Middle East will modernize and see peace and prosperity thoughtout, is if the people of this region make their voices heard and do something about it. If all Arabs do is complain and put down their own race, and not do anything, then i guess they will see their home go up in flames.
I didn’t mean to come down on you too hard. But the Valley is a nice place. I go there a lot. I certainly am in no position to criticize people for commenting on the Middle East while living in the US, and I often get criticized by people in the ME during discussions since I have lived there only briefly, and unlike many of the people I wind up discussing things with, I have never served in the military over there.
I think the above conversation above must be taken in the context that it is an internal conversation, and therefore with a grain of salt. Two Arabs complaining about Arabs is very different from two guys from Kansas complaining about them. It is more of a release in this instance. Plus this is all after what was a pretty traumatic event.
I think you made some good points that people should stay positive and keep trying, but I think one would have to be pretty naive to think that the Arab world by most conventional measures is lagging way behind much of the rest of the world. Don’t get me wrong, individually, many Arabs are nice, smart, and personable, but collectively, the region (excluding Israel obviously) is a huge underperformer.
Some reasons have been put forth – people leaving and getting educated and not returning for example. That is a good point, and one that causes a bad cycle as you need a good place to attract people back. Much of the world has that problem.
Personally, I currently subscribe to thoughts about this similar to those put forth in Victor Hanson’s “Carnage and Culture”. That basically most non-western cultures have certain characteristics which make them less adept at certain aspects of progress. Hanson focuses on warfare, as he is a military historian, but much of it is tied to economics, as weak economic systems don’t encourage people to innovate or mass-produce and often have poor educational systems as well. I think the region has been slow to come off of a very poor economic system inherited from the Ottomans – one where banking was very weak, so there was not much incentive for major innovation or capital or ability to mass produce things. In addition, I think that scientific and historical study in much of the region is still not completely objective and divorced from religious/political philosophies. There appears to be a pack mentality in much of political discourse and the region is for some reason often very suspicious and wary of adopting change, including new technology (like bicycles in Saudi Arabia). Combine that with the fact that much of the region has been able to coast through these bad traits by exploiting the rest of the world’s need for oil, and not much change has occurred until very recently. The habit of blaming Israel for bad thing puzzled me a lot. The US I can understand, but I would think it would be embarassing to blame so much of one’s problems on a tiny nation of 5 million people with no national resources.
Oh, and I have had Hummus. Many different kinds, with many different people.
Amir, please follow these conversations closely. I never compared where I live to the middle east, and i can never. please understand that, because i hate to repeat my self.
i dont live in a bubble. there are still terrible things happening in my city, yet i still have a positive outlook on life. That is the whole point of what i am trying to say.
i hope you can read all the comments and tell me what you understood out of them. all i know is i was telling everyone life goes on and you hope for the best. but if you guys just want to complain, and sit and do nothing, then fine, do that. no one is forcing you to do anything.
If you haven’t eaten Hummos before, it is a real tragedy. But if you had, then this post is your place.
“safe little secure world”. Hmmm, let’s just see how safe it is. I live in the San Fernando Valley. My parents are very protective so I really don’t go any where. I don’t blame them because look at what we deal with…”
C’mon. The San Fernando Valley is a beautiful little bubble compared to most of the world. Memories of Nairobi are coming into my head. That place has crime!
I live in LA. I have lived in the Middle East. Never been to a bar in LA and had the person next to me say “Gee, I wonder how the inside looks, I haven’t been here since it blew up”.
And that is just security, doesn’t even touch on economics. If you think the Valley is a bad place, you really haven’t been much of anywhere.
This is a fascinating conversation to follow. I won’t comment on the substance of most of these posts because it really isn’t my place, but it has been interesting.
But the one I make is different. Ask those who tasted it (has no bleach in it- but they are all dead now). It is the ground garbanzo beans with taheeni and lemon and olive oil. I will not tell the rest of recipe. It is proprietary.
Are you guys talking about the hummous they sell like at Costco or as well the kind they make in middle eastern restaraunts out here? the one from costco is not good at all;)
Yep! Heard that from accredited sources too.
What the hec… Clorex !
I, too, often wondered why the hummos they make in America tastes and looks nothing like the kind they make in the Middle East. Someone once told me that they use Clorox bleach in the Middle East to give hummos the texture, taste and color it has.