The Right Coast
September 17, 2004
Political Ignorance in the Arab World
By Ilya Somin
Iraqi blogger Zeyad on the reasons for widespread anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism in the Arab world:
Try to imagine it this way: starting with your early childhood you hear adults around you blaming 'Jews', 'Israel', 'Zionists', 'infidels', 'colonialism', 'imperialism', 'the West' for all the ills of your society. At school you are taught a flowery refined version of Arab and Islamic history. One in which the Ummah was the center of the world. You revel in the glories of your ancestors ..... You then learn about the conspiracies against the Islamic Empire and its divine message for humanity. Colonialism. How the west came to enslave your countrymen and plunder your riches for centuries. You look around you at the Arab and Islamic world today and you wonder what went wrong. How can such a glorious 'chosen' Ummah suffer such a pathetic fate.
Read his whole post!
As Zeyad notes, "the process above is not exclusive to Arabs or Muslims." We faced a very similar problem during the Cold War, when the societies of the Soviet bloc were probably even more closed than those of the Arab Middle East today. Just as during the Cold War we found ways to cultivate the Sakharovs, Lech Walesas, and Vaclav Havels of the Communist bloc and spread their message to their people, so today we should do the same thing with the Arab world's Zeyads. And we must do a far better job of it than the we have so far.