Friday, June 10, 2011

Mistaken Western Views of the Middle East

Tammy Camp writes a helpful post titled "Western Fallacies shattered in the Middle East". She is currently travelling in the Middle East and writes:

My favorite banter went like this:
Silly US Friend: “Tammy, Osama Bin Laden has been killed.  It’s dangerous over there in the Middle East.”
Tammy: “I think I’m in the safest part in the world now. Don’t you think Al-Queda’s just a little mad at the US?”
Silly US Friend: “Oh, yeah you have a point.”
The local perspective of Osama Bin Laden’s death was not one a westerner would expect.  When I sat down for a chit chat with people in the region the response would be very similar to this:
“Osama Bin Laden is a bad representation of the Middle East. One black sheep has caused a decade of discrimination and shame upon people in our region and of our culture. We are relieved this is finally over.”
About the "region":

First I would like to address the idea of a “region.”  Although Egypt and Libya are considered Middle Eastern countries, they are in Africa. Yes, Africa… know that other continent?  My travels usually take place within the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) which most in the region consider to be the main parts of the Middle East which lies in the continent of Asia. Yes Asia, not Africa.
So saying that is dangerous for me to travel in Kuwait because it is not safe in the “region” is like saying don’t travel to the United States because 100 people are protesting in Alaska. The world is a big, big place. 
 On women:

On the flip side, I find the women in the region to be extremely lucky.  Rather than a common US casual relationship that leaves women asking themselves, “Is he into me or not?” it is very clear in the region.  Women are sacred and treated with the upmost respect.  The truth is, the women are the ones running the show in the Middle East. No joke.
Read the whole post.