S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The soul of the Middle East

The Soul of the Middle East: (title link is Google search for soul+Middle+East)
"What a presumptuous subject, for a female blogger living in the Southwestern part of the United States, to choose," one could say. How would anyone like me ever begin to understand anything about the subject? I speak none of the languages nor have I ever traveled there. But I have had an enduring fascination with the region for some decades, long before our nation got so involved.

Most of us have so little personal experience that we are culturally ignorant. I have eaten at an "Egyptian" restaurant. writer Saad Fayed provides a little list of favorite Mideastern foods, all of which I have tasted.
It seems to me that the leaders of our nation are having a difficult time understanding, as well. If we really understood we would not have made so many serious miscalculations in our foreign policy decisions about the Middle East.
Information is power, as the cliche goes. Understanding what is going on in the Middle East is a challenge for the average American, because the mainstream media is not very well versed on the subject. However, regular reading from the top two U.S. newspapers, who have Middle East Sections, would be a good place to start. Here are links to those specialized sections in The Washington Post and The New York Times. Both papers have significant bureau presence in the region, a very expensive proposition, by the way.
Two additional papers from which I receive regular and essential news feeds are The BBC Middle East section, and Aljazeera in English. Those two perspectives are invaluable for any kind of broader understanding of what are often vastly differing views of reality. They clearly have their own biases, but so does the media here in the USA. And I just discovered another excellent resource through my googling, the Asia Times Online - which has a good Middle East section. The Middle East lives next door to South Asia, which is contiguous to Asis proper. A huge majority of the world's population resides in India and China, both of whom are part of our global economic system.
The world of blogging offers another resource for gaining understanding of that far-away region. Blog communities TPMCafehas a section called America Abroad, focused on foreign policy. And the DailyKos tag, "Middle East" returned 14 pertinent posts within the past month. I have a diary at that site and my own post, "Middle East Fascination drew 18 comments, the most I have has since beginning the diary. So the interest must have been there for a few "Kossacks."
One if the most widely read individual bloggers on the subject of the Middle East is Professor Juan Cole, who writes Informed Comment. And it is a well informed blog. Americablog posted a link to Crooks and Liars recently about how difficult it might be to be a Muslim living in the United States.
In conclusion, Fayrouz Hancock blogs regularly and wonderfully at Iraqi in America. And "Riverbend" is the widely admired writer of Baghdad Burning. Reading these two Iraqi-born women is essential to understanding the soul of the Middle East in my opinion.


Today's post at my "creative" blog, Southwest Blogger is fun puzzle that will mess with your head.


Nadim said...
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Nadim said...
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