Friday, January 30, 2009


I know I've been hard on my Arab brethren, and maybe I generalize a bit much about Arabs. Certainly Arabs do not all act or think alike. There are many things about Arab culture that I love, like the food and music, for example. Some of the best Arabic music has been made by Lebanese, who overall may be the most beautiful people in the world. Beirut has always been known as the Paris of the Middle East, and it's where my parents spent their honeymoon in the late 60s. But Lebanon was plunged into sectarian civil war in 1975 and did not re-emerge from it until 1990. It took years for Lebanon to rebuild its tourism industry, and I hope to visit Beirut soon. Every Lebanese I have met in person has been very friendly, and I will not allow one Lebanese Australian on the blogosphere to taint my views of the Lebanese people. The sectarianism that tore apart Lebanon still exists today, although it may be well hidden and not discussed openly. It seems to have resurfaced with the sectarian conflict in Iraq. In the summer of 2007 my sister and I had lunch at a Lebanese restaurant in London. The owner asked us where we are from. We told him we were born in Iraq. He asked what part of Iraq. We said Baghdad. He said "Baghdad is huge. What part of Baghdad?" We knew where he was going with his questions, and finally my sister said that our parents are Najefi. He smiled and said "EHLEN wa SEHLEN!" I guess it's hard not to identify with your sect when your fellow Shia or fellow Sunna are mass murdered, no matter where the murder takes place. But the situation in Iraq is calmer today, and it is time to move on, time to make peace.

Here is a good song by the Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram:

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