2007/12/28

A Reason to be Depressed

I went nearly a month and a half without posting, and some of that was because I was in the US and had only limited internet usage. But the other thing was that I was depressed about a lot of things - I can chart my moods here in Al Ain almost exactly by the number of blog posts that I make per month.

Anyway, this comment at The Corner, the National Review's group blog, was the last thing that I tried to blog about before I gave up.

I really don't know what to say about this. It is so very frustrating when people do things like this, especially when it is out of ignorance. I emailed the author, who, evidence here not withstanding, is not a hateful or stupid person, to explain that this was not a reason to be depressed at all, but happy and hopeful. Just look at how Mrs. Bush's trip was covered in the Gulf News, with three articles, all very positive.

Understanding starts with context. One of the first things that I noticed when I came here was that I had a hard time interpreting behavior sometimes. The example that always stands out to me was my first shopping trip to Carrefour. I had only been here a few days and had not met many people outside of the hotel. An Arab kid (about 10 or so) rammed the cart he was pushing into the back of my legs. When I turned around, he and his father were just staring at me blankly. Back home, I would have expected an apology. So I was confused. Was was being slammed into like this just normal behavior that everyone expected and so did not apologize for, or were these two being jerks? In the US, I would have known. Here, I had no cultural context to put the incident into.

Of course, I have also met Ms. Lopez's counterparts here too. I once had a conversation with a co-worker in which I tried (and I'm pretty sure failed) to convince him that there are millions of Americans that dislike the worst excesses of Western culture. He could not believe it. He told me that he might believe that there are a few thousand, but not millions. It was like trying to convince an Islamophobe that most Muslims hate terrorism. And like them, he had no first hand experience with what he was talking about. He had formed his opinion based solely on what he had seen in the media.

4 comments:

Cairogal said...

I actually wrote Ms. Lopez an email about this.

Driving Manual said...

Hi,

I had a similar experience recently. I'm parked in front of Spinneys and this non-Emirati Arab guy tries to hop into his behemoth of an SUV. He was already parked at an odd angle to the parking lines so it was a bit tight. Rather than gently opening the door, he thwacks it open and here I am sitting in the car. Anyway I get out, saying "Watch the door there buddy!" He jumps in, reverses out, glares and says "Do not park your car if you do not want people touching it!". What a moron. No apology, no hesitation, just an arrogance and disdain.

Dubai Guy said...

Although unrelated to this post, but I wrote about about an incident I witnessed at a car park in december 2006. Here is the link: http://dubaiguy78.blogspot.com/2006/12/anger-management-islamic-way.html

Marcus Aurelius said...

A lot of the blogs I read expressed similar reactions.

I don't know, I was raised to follow abide by host's rules when I am a guest in their house.

In addition to the comments about context, is I recall having classes with young women dressed like those next to Mrs. Bush and a couple of seats away were young women in jeans & t-shirts.

Most of these blogs reacted in ignorance and I was disappointed in them. Part of this was follow on from Nancy Pelosi's visit to Syria where she decked out in similar garb to meet with the opthamologist. So, when this picture of Mrs. Bush is published the Left went "Ah-hah!".

I too had a similar incident. I parked my car, my gf (who is now my wife) went out to do some shopping and I got out and just hung by my car. A local started backing out and run the nose of his Patrol into the side of car. I started banging on the side of his car and asked him rather desperately to stop. He looked at me and basically told me no problem.

Hehehe, no problem for him, I am sure he was used to a new patrol monthly. Thinking back on it, I am lucky in my desperation to get him to stop damaging my car I did not put my hand through his open window and touch his wife.