Saturday, June 26, 2004

Differences between Arabs and, well . . . everyone else

This piece is actually pretty interesting on the differences between Arabs and westerners. (Ignore all the anti-Western Junk in the piece, that is useless.)

The article states that Arabs and westerners share most values, only we express them differently. I really don't know about that, but there are a few useful things that westerners should take seriously when thinking about the Arab world.

For example: "Americans value personal liberty, while Arabs sacrifice individual freedoms in favor of the collective identity of their religious, family, tribal, ethnic or national groupings." . . . Americans like to behave according to clear rules and explicit public statements, while Arabs tend to engage others on the basis of relationships that are constantly negotiated and renegotiated, based on implicit rules of fair reciprocal treatment. Americans negotiate their political relations on television; Arabs do it in the privacy of their living rooms."

These are useful things to keep in mind.

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