Of Lawrence, Saudi Arabia, Arabs & the West
A few comments came from Laura. In one of those Laura says: “We ought to be prejudice towards our own civilization because it is superior to islam, which is a misogynist culture that brutally oppresses women and is anathema to our western ideals of tolerance and freedom and so forth. Stop perpetuating the PC garbage that all cultures and civilizations are equally worthy. A civilization which sanctifies ‘honor killings’, practices beheadings, hangs homosexuals among other medieval, barbaric practices is not worthy of our respect. It amazes me how so many western liberals, claiming to champion the rights of women and gays, tolerates and defends such brutal fascism in the name of multiculturalism.
My reply was: “Laura has a point. But the issue here is different. We live in a world that has diversity – cultural, religious, economic and political. It is foolhardy to hope to change the people and their lifestyle overnight by invading countries. By doing that we create a climate of confrontation and violence. Change is inevitable.
We need peaceful campaigns not forcible conversions, especially when the other religionâ€™s roots go back deep in history. If one studies Islam it has seen its glorious past as well as brutal past and present. There was a time in history when women enjoyed great respect in the Arab world.
The rise of Wahabis, or extreme conservatism, in Islam was owing to murderous factional fights between Arab tribes in recent times. Although this movement suppressed the intra-tribe violence and fights, there has been no powerful reformist movement to restore basic social/political freedoms.
So anger, hurt and retribution on the part of the West would not solve any problem. Please remember that the US has been supporting such Arab regimes in the recent past. This has complicated the issue because the Arab common people are not necessarily happy or support their rulers.
It is the common people (especially women and children) who are suffering the most, caught between their own rulers and now the might of the US and western forces.
I wish to add that from experience gained during my stint with the Saudi Gazette that it would not be right to believe that the Arab population fully believes/supports the stance of their rulers. As I said earlier their is enough dissent. But the Arab population, not much unlike the American/British population at present, is a helpless witness to the doings of their leaders/rulers.
I wish to give a few samples of visible dissent in a newspaper. Please click here for my earlier post.
Recently, I discovered that the Saudi Gazette has a web edition. I read an interesting discussion about ‘arranged marriages’. Remember this article appeared in ‘ultra conservative’ Saudi Arabia. To read it please click here. Then there is another article on drugs and teens.
I also recommend that those interested in the subject may also read my post on “Legendary Gertrude Bell of Iraq and Arabia”. Please click here..