The Arab Mind
Is there such a thing as an all-encompassing Arab Mind that ties us all together & sets us apart from other people?What if anything do all Arabs have in common?What are our unique cultural traits?Generosity?Warmth & hospitality?The concept of shame & honor?Over-infatuation with our own eloquence?The tendency to get carried away with our own rhetoric?Moralism?Idealism?Emotionalism?A Lack of Pragmatism?The herd mentality?False pride & bombast?
I hate to sound like a bookworm but my first posting is going to be a book. Not because I agree with its content or even because I enjoyed reading it. Quite the contrary infact for at least one of them.
It's important to me because it made an impression & I can't stop thinking about it.
The book is Rafael Patai's "The Arab Mind". Being an Arab, it was a novel experience to read a book about Arabs by an Israeli. I think it was the first time I got a chance to see 'us' as we appear to 'them'.This is not a book about war or geopolitics or strategy. It's an anthropological study of Arab culture. By an Israeli no less.
Am not going to deny it made me feel quite angry & frustrated in some parts. It is quite prejudiced. But not prejudiced enough to dismiss entirely as racist drivel unfortunately.
It is interesting to think about how much of what passes for mainstream Arab culture today comes from Islam & how much of it is just that. Mainstream Arab culture.Which force is more powerful in our societies today?Islam dressed up as Arab culture or Arab Bedouin culture dressed up as Islam?