The Middle Eastern culture has more or less been continuous for close to three thousand years (from roughly 9th century BC). Islam, adopted by the Arabs from the early 7th century AD is a comparative new addition to their rich culture. Islam has never-the-less had a significant impact today across around 400 million people. A high quality of life and comfort has always been a keen interest for the Arab culture. With wealth brought with oil and gas in the Middle East, this has emphasised the appreciation for the finer things in life.
So, what does this suggest? It suggests a diverse and rich culture emphatically focused on maintain dignity and solace.
Simple understanding between people is the answer.
I’m working my way through a great book right now. It’s called “The Assault on Reason”, written by Al Gore. Al does a wonderful job following on his “An Inconvenient Truth”, where in common language he helps us to understand the critical and devastating impact that we are having on our planet due to global warming.
This latest treatise, published in 2007, I purchased during a recent trip for Dubai – capitalist center of the Middle East. I was hooked when I read a small section:
We know that Cheney himself [Vice President under Bush], while heading Halliburton, did a considerable amount of business with Iraq – even though it was under UN sanctions at the time. And we know that Cheney stated in a public speech to the Institute of Petroleum in London in 1999, more than a year before becoming vice president, that over the coming decade the world would need, in his opinion, fifty million additional barrels of oil each day.
Where is it going to come from? Cheney asked, and then, answering his own questions, he said: “The Middle East, with two-thirds of the world’s oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies”.
Then, in the spring of 2001, when vice President Cheney issued the administration’s national energy plan, the one that had been devised in secret by corporations and lobbyists that he still refuses to name, the report included this declaration: “The Persian Gulf will be a primary focus of U.S. international energy policy.”
So with that I have been reading – and learning – about a whole series of interrelated events that do a very good job in explaining exactly what is happening in the region right now. It really is amazing stuff.
‘Here’s my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose.’
‘The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’
‘The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.’
‘Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.’
‘I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress.’
‘The taxpayer: That’s someone who works for the federal government but doesn’t have to take the civil service examination.’
‘Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end a nd no sense of responsibility at the other.’
‘It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.’
‘Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.’
‘No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.’
‘If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.’
You’re not surprised to see a goat in the passenger seat
You think the uncut version of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ is provocative
You think every one’s first name is Al
You need a sweater when it’s 40 degrees celsius
You expect everyone to own a mobile phone
Your idea of housework is leaving a list for the houseboy
You believe that speed limits are only advisory
You expect all police to drive BMWs or Merc’s
You know whether you are within missile range of Iran
You believe that the definition of a nanosecond is the time interval between the time the light turns green and the time that the guy behind you begins to blow his horn
You can’t buy anything without asking for a discount
You expect all stores to stay open till midnight
You understand that ‘wadi bashing’ isn’t a criminal act
You make left turns from the far right lane
You send friends a map instead of your address
You understand why huge 4x4s must slow down to a snail’s pace whilst crossing a speed bump yet hurtle through a wadi at 100kph
You think that ‘Howareyou’ is one word. So is ‘Mamsir’
You think it perfectly normal to have a picnic in the middle of a round-about at 11pm
You know exactly how much alcohol allowance you have left for the month
You have a moon phase predictor on your computer
You never say Saturday instead of Friday or Sunday instead of Saturday anymore
You accept that there is no point in asking why you are not allowed to do something
You expect queues to be 1 person deep and 40 people wide
You realise that the black and white stripes in the road are not a zebra crossing, just bait to get tourists into the firing line
Seeing guys welcome each other with a kiss and hold hands while walking no longer distracts you
You carry 12 passport size photos around with you just in case
You can tell the time by listening to the local mosque
You think its a good night if there are fewer than 10 men for every woman in a bar
Phrases like ‘potato peeler’, ‘dish washer’, ‘coffee maker’ and ‘fly swatter’ are no longer household items but are actually job titles
You start to say ‘Insha’allah’ when you actually mean ‘Never!’
Habibi isn’t just the ex-president of Indonesia
You overtake a police car at 130KM/HRA
Problem with your car AC or horn is more serious to you than a problem with the brakes
Remember when you were a kid and you would draw a house?
How many stories and how many windows did you draw? A door? Two windows either side? A bent chimney???
I’m was judging a childrens’ drawing competition today. The chilrdren range from ages 3 to 14.
I’m looking at a house here: 6 stories high, 21 windows… (At the top is written “My House”)
The trees in the garden are full of ripe fruit.
Another one – 6 stories, 18 windows, a jet and full apple tree…
Programming is all done by the time you are 5 years old…
Bet you can’t guess where I live?