Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Arab Mind by Ralphael Patai

I sent a copy of my latest book to Jennifer Schneider. She responded by telling me of a book her father had written entitled “The Arab Mind”. I immediately ordered a copy and just now after three weeks of tortuous reading I have finally finished reading. I say that, not to disparage her father but due to the overriding conclusion of how antiquated and stuck in time these people continue to be. This book was originally printed in 1973. This newest edition was updated in 1983. Mr. Patai was an accomplished author with over 30 books written. He lived in Palestine for 15 years as a youth before immigrating to America. He died in 1996. Chapters are devoted to every aspect of Arab life including music, arts, Arabic language and Bedouin values which were transformed by Islam. Conflict, it appears, is a necessary ingredient for Arabs, whether tribal, countries or religions. The formation of the State of Israel in 1948 has become the unifying goal of all to erase this stain on what they consider to be their holy ground. Whatever their shortcomings are, Israel is blamed. Only destruction of the Jewish people will free them and allow them to succeed. They do acknowledge that Israel has been the winner of the three wars with Arab nations because of their intellectual prowess in all things of a science nature. Wouldn’t you think they could be intelligent enough to understand and emulate their success themselves and thereby raise their standard of living comparable to Israel? Destroying Israel will only plunge the entire Middle East into a downward spiral even more than today (my comment). The ages old tradition of demeaning women is thoroughly documented from the practice of cutting them as young girls to decrease their pleasure of sex acts, to rejoicing over a male birth and irritation over a female, to the preferential rearing of males and ignoring the needs of girls, to deny women and girls the right to education, to forcing them to cover themselves with burkas, to keep them in the home unless accompanied by a male relative, to divorcing by just saying “I divorce you”. Until they finally realize what a precious source of wisdom and input women can make they will forever be a lost culture. It can’t be ignorance as the West has clearly shown how productive women can be. I don’t even accept that Islam is the cause. It is not religion; it is that the men are not willing to share their power equally, what a tragedy that today in the 21st Century barbaric behavior continues, and in effect making slaves of females. After the Yon Kipper war in 1973 the Arab world declared victory. They had been thoroughly beaten by Israel but would not admit it. The hostilities were ended by both sides accepting the United Nations edict. Israel gave back the Sinai and bits and pieces of the Golan Heights. The Arab victory came afterward with the oil embargo on Western nations and then the huge increase in the cost of OPEC oil. All of this caused havoc for the West. It took a long time to recover. In the decades to follow the tremendous influx of wealth changed the Arab world dramatically. In some countries great structures were built, health and education became free for the citizens. Others used their wealth to promote terrorist groups. (I particularly single out Saudi Arabia as the most dangerous). Our government continues to assert our friendship in spite of the fact that 16 of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudis. An interesting male Arab attribute is the aversion to getting their hands dirty. They have no problem with women working. With the new wealth they could hire all types of foreign men to operate their oil processes, build their skyscrapers and do all sort of menial work while they drink their coffee. Nothing in this book changed my negative thinking in regard to Arabs and Islam. They will continue their destructive ways until such time as they are confronted and re-educated. I will conclude this with the author’s final paragraph. “At the same time Arab nationalism became tainted by a strong anti-Western streak. While it had to be recognized that the West was the prime mover in bringing about the Arab awakening, in introducing sanitation, general education and other mass benefits into the Arab world, the West assumed for the Arab mind the character of a sinister jinni, a hateful enemy and a convenient whipping boy who could be blamed for all the problems that beset the Arabs. The encounter with the West produced a disturbing inferiority complex in the Arab mind which in itself made it more difficult to shake off the shackles of stagnation. The next challenge the Arab mind must meet is to cease measuring Arab achievements with Western yardsticks and to work for a regeneration of the Arab world by building on its own, by no means negligible, capabilities”. Jack B. Walters October 26, 2013

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