Thursday, May 13, 2004

Emasculating Arabia,2763,1215415,00.html

Fascinating article.

Two choice, rather unrelated, bits:

Defining the orientalist project, Edward Said wrote of how occidentals feminised and infantilised Arabs, crediting them with 'feminine' traits like intuition and an incapacity for reason (so Arab magicians figure large in the mythology, but Arab mathematicians not at all), and rendered Arabia as pliant, sensuous, passive, awaiting penetration by the rational masculine west.

This is an illuminating remark. Is 'the Arab' unique in this regard, I wonder, and do the roots of such an 'orientalist' project fall in the realm of race differences or class differences, or does that question not make sense at all?

If the Industrial Revolution had birthed in the Fertile Crescent, how different would the world be?

"A released detainee, quoted by the New York Times on May 10, says: 'I realised [the Americans] came to obliterate a whole society, a whole civilisation' - a thought so old and so commonplace that one might hear it uttered, world-wearily, in any Arab cafe, anywhere across the globe...'American humiliates Arab' is not news."


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