This post by Rants and Rave’s blogger, Stephen Browne, “Observation on Arabs”, provides an interesting “birds eye” view of the Arab mindset, that describes the stark cultural differences that exist between the modern West and the Muslim/Arab Middle East. What prompted his writing, was the recent interview of the Christian Science Monitor’s Jill Carroll, the American journalist that was captured by Sunni jihadists in Iraq, then later released after 82 days. Browne observes that:
“I’m sure the details will prove fascinating, but the upshot of what she has learned is that the Islamists are – gasp! – different from us! Furthermore, I believe that she’s beginning to suspect that they are really not very nice people.”
Browne also describes his own initial understandings of the region, (though I disagree with his take on Israel) and how they were challenged once he was in the Saudi Kingdom for a one year stint. What is also interesting is the reception he receives back home by his fellow libertarians who are aghast over his changed perceptions:
“In the case of the Kingdom, I went there with a certain sympathy for Arab grievances, a belief that America had earned a lot of hostility from “blowback” from our ham-handed interventionist foreign policy and support for Israel etc. I came back with the gloomy opinion that over the long run we are going to have to hammer these people hard to get them to quit messing with Western Civilization. And by the way, among “rational, fair-minded” non-interventionist libertarians, not a damn one of them has asked me, “What in your experience caused you to change your mind?” Instead what I get are gratuitous insults followed by insufferably condescending lectures about how wrong I am.”
I can’t help but find a similarity in the response Browne receives from his Libertarian friends upon his return from the Kingdom, and the one Finnish author, Taisto Huuskonen received upon his return from (formerly) Soviet Russia. Huuskonen was ridiculed and slandered by his former comrades over his stark appraisal of Soviet life, claiming it not to be the paradise Finnish Communists believed it to be.
More here. KGS