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Muslimitis
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12304
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reality Reply with quote

Dear Mark100,

"Again i will say that those who don't recognise this are in denial.
As an analogy the crime rate may increase dramatically in your city with more rapes muggings etc but because you are not one of the victims it is easy to say life is still the same and you haven't noticed any changes. However the reality is that you are more likely to be a victim of crime and that the law and order situation is deteriorating. If you are unaware of the situation i suppose you will carry on in blissful ignorance however unfortunatley i see the reality."

Reality - quite a comprehensive concept, like Truth. I'm reminded of a passage from Sherwood Anderson:

"In the beginning when the world was young there were a great many thoughts but no such thing as a truth. Man made the truths himself and each truth was a composite of a great many vague thoughts. All about in the world were the truths and they were all beautiful.
The old man had listed hundreds of the truths in his book. I will not try to tell you of all of them. There was the truth of virginity and the truth of
passion, the truth of wealth and of poverty, of thrift and of profligacy, of carelessness and abandon. Hundreds and hundreds were the truths and they were all beautiful.
And then the people came along. Each as he appeared snatched up one of the truths and some who were quite strong snatched up a dozen of them.
It was the truths that made the people grotesques. The old man had quite an elaborate theory concerning the matter. It was his notion that the moment one of the people took one of the truths to himself, called
it his truth, and tried to live his life by it, he became a grotesque and the truth he embraced became a falsehood."

Yes, things have changed in the Kingdom over the past few years. That, I'd say, is certainly true. How those changes affect each individual, however, is going to be very varied. To use your analogy of the city with the increasing crime rate, people would likely respond differently. Some might move, others might live their lives much as before, still others might become so fearful that they would double-lock all their doors and windows and go out on when absolutely necessary. So, which ones are responding "correctly" to the reality of change? I'm sure that all of them would say: "Why, I am". And all of them would be, I'd say, quite right.
For it's not whether the Kingdom has changed that's the issue, I think; rather it's how each individual responds to those changes. And how they respond depends, in my opinion, entirely upon the nature / character / personality of that individual. Is there only one "correct" response? I don't believe so - except that there's only one "correct" response for each person.
Regards,
John
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ohman



Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 239
Location: B' Um Fouk, Egypt

PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John,

Quote:
as long as the money was being used in a way . .(in a way that pleased Allah)


doesn't disturb you?

Saudis were running the show in Afghanistan--who could argue that they weren't.

Perhaps the western educated editorialists for the Arab News and Dubya's hunting buddies (and most but certainly not all of the royals) are quick to point out bin Laden is a wanted man here as well. But if music wasn't the devil's doing, the shebab would be singing his praises.

If the madrassas' curriculum conflicted with wahabi's twisted spin on one the world's most exceptional faiths--for example, if the madrassas taught that women were the equal of men and had the same rights and privileges--do you think the funding would have still been provided?

I teach soldiers--enlisted--the rank and file, sons of the great unwashed not-so-silent majority. This isn't a matter of defending their faith; it is a matter of ridding the world of infidels (with extreme prejudice) because what's been drilled into them is that in the best of all possible worlds, tending one's own gardens is passe.

Saudi Arabia is a freakish country made the more freakish by its veneer of modernization. The abuse of women is appalling and this one issue alone, in my immodest opinion, makes it one of the world's largest pariah states and should receive no less than those sanctions imposed on Libya or South Africa.

Now, if you'll excuse, I'm going back to the job board.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12304
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 4:21 pm    Post subject: Do Not Disturb Reply with quote

Dear ohman,
Sorry, I don't understand. Why should it disturb me? As I mentioned, not only did I talk with Hakim, but I also had some long discussions with several of the attendees of that mosque. From everything I heard, the "brand" of Islam preached and taught there was (once again):

" . . . very universal, very tolerant ... not this other thing that you're seeing out there in the news -- politically oriented, fundamentalist, mean Islam . . .''

So what should "disturb" me?

"Saudis were running the show in Afghanistan." Well, the CIA wasn't exactly inactive there, also.

But it sounds to me like you definitely could use a change of location. I hope the job board offers some attractive alternatives. As I've mentioned before, I'd never have accepted a job working with the military because for me it was vitally important that I enjoy my work. If that hadn't been the case, I never would have stayed as long as I did.
Regards,
John
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Mark100



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 441

PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2004 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnslat

The inference that i have got from some of the posts is that life is going on with little change in the magic kingdom.
This is patently not true.
How one reacts to this change is immaterial.
People will of course as you correctly point out adopt different strategies to different situations and you will get no argument form me on this front.
Having said this many of the strategies that people adopt to survive in Saudi have very negative physiological and physchological impacts.
The cost here may not be worth the monthly paycheck!
What i want to get across to people is that it is a very difficult environment to endure at present and that i wouldn't recommend coming here.
Philosophical debates aside the majortiy of people i interact with feel under more pressure than they did pre Sept 11.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12304
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2004 2:02 pm    Post subject: It's my way or the highway Reply with quote

Dear Mark100,
Guess we're just going to have to agree to disagree. First of all, not everyone will have the same "inventory" as you regarding what has changed. Certainly there have been changes, but the ones that affect you greatly may not affect others so much. Second, when you wrote:

"How one reacts to this change is immaterial."

Now that's a statement I have to differ with. There's so MUCH subjectivity involved in this topic, from what each individual perceives as having changed to how he/she should react to it. People currently residing in Saudi Arabia have posted on this thread saying that they aren't experiencing the same degree of change that you are and that what they are experiencing hasn't affected them as strongly as you've apparently been affected. And you dismiss THEIR estimates/reactions as being "unrealisitic" because they don't agree with yours. I'm sorry, but that strikes me as being fairly arrogant.
From what you've written, I'd say you need to leave the Kingdom ASAP since you are clearly undergoing considerable stress there these days. You certainly have every right to warn people away from going there. However, I don't think you have the right to tell people there, who don't share your feelings, that they are "in denial" and, by implication, pretty darn dumb. Personally, I would go back to where I was working in Saudi Arabia today, if I weren't having so much fun here in the States.
Hope you manage to find a more suitable environment very soon.
Regards,
John
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ohman



Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 239
Location: B' Um Fouk, Egypt

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John,

Maybe I misunderstood you, but as I interpreted your friend's comments on the madrassas. 1. He was sure Saudis weren't responsible for the curriculum in the madrassas. yet 2. if the curriculum pleases Allah, then he also didn't have a problem with what was being taught.

May I ask you--do you feel that the treatment of women in this society is just a cultural idiosyncracy that we should accept because it isn't our concern? Would you dare to offer an analogy to the US and its human rights shortcomings? would that analogy be spot on or skewed? Is freedom of speech and freedom of worship, equal rights across the board for all people merely a naive concept? was Thomas Payne as freak of nature? If the Saudi men were white and saudi women black, would we be expected to allow that this wretched treatment of women here is just "their way" and none of our business?

I don't feel our own barbaric use of capital punishment comes anywhere close to the way human beings are treated here. And at least in the US we can shout our displeasures from the rooftops.

If there was ever a country more deserving of being ostracized from the civilized world and imposed with heavy no qurarter sanctions, it's Saudi Arabia in this day and age.

I am personally disgusted with myself for remaining here with my pat ethos just because the pay check is a fat one. My own hypocrisy does not go unchallenged by me.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12102
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 2:43 pm    Post subject: ????????? Reply with quote

ohman

Your job here is to teach English. You are not here to teach the locals about the merits of the American way.

Your employers are paying you to teach English and not to act as a missionary for the American way of life.

Frankly if you have your attitudes I am surprised that you have lasted as long as you have.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12304
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 3:27 pm    Post subject: Change Reply with quote

Dear ohman,
No, I was simply using the mosque here as an example of how "them that pays the piper don't always get to call the tune". The madrasses that are run by the Deobandi in Northern India, Pakistan and Afghanistan teach and preach, from all reports, a line very similar to that of the Wahhabis.

But your question's a tough one. I THINK any obvious and strong "outside
pressure" on the House of Saud to "reform" Saudi society would be counter-productive. The Royals are VERY sensitive about being seen as "bowing" to the dictates of the "West" as regards reform. Besides, I THINK they - well, at least the practical ones, NOT Naif, for example - know that some reforms ARE necessary - probably not as many as "we'd" like, though - but feel strongly that these have to be done VERY slowly, given the nature of their society. And you know, I suspect they may well be more right than wrong.
I mean, how much of the population do you think would be in favor of many reforms, especially ones as drastic as "we" might llike? I very much doubt the vast majority of the males would go for "equality", and I suppose it's anyone's guess as to how many of the females would. I'd say probably not as many as most might think.
The Saudis are in the midst of a "Future Shock" sitaution that makes ours in the West seem like small potatoes indeed. Societies take a loooong time to change in significant ways, and I think pressing too hard for immediate major "reforms" would be a big mistake. Such changes have to be accomplished slowly, I'm afraid. Perhaps not quite so slowly as the Royals would like, but certainly not as quickly as many in the West would prefer.
Regards,
John
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Cleopatra



Joined: 28 Jun 2003
Posts: 3657
Location: Tuamago Archipelago

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ohman,

You say women in KSA are suffering from a lack of "civil rights" but what do you mean exactly? Most of the restrictions placed on Saudi women are from their families and from society as a whole, not from the legal system. Even if women were allowed to drive few would do so because of social pressure. Also, Saudi women do not by law have to cover their faces, nor are they forbidden to work with men, but cultural traditions mean that most conform to waht is expected of them by their familes.

I'mnot saying that everything is great for Saudi women - far from it (although having said that,most of the Saudi women I knew were reasonably happy). However, I don't know what you propose the outside world should do to help people who really don't want to be helped. In any case, if you look at other countrheis such as the UAE - with more liberal legal systems than KSA - you will see that women's lives there aren't all that different from Saudi women's. Might it just be that what they want from life is not what Western women want from life?
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Bindair Dundat



Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 1123

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 5:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Aw, you're making me homesick Reply with quote

johnslat wrote:

Boy, your post reminds me of what Ishmael said at the end of Moby D i c k:

". . . and I alone am left to tell the tale."


No one here would even dream of questioning the accuracy of your personal impressions, Mr. Slat, but in salon today it was noted that there is considerable doubt whether Mr. Melville would ever have allowed "dromaderies" to slip past his spell-checker.

Concerned, and rightly so,

BD
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Bindair Dundat



Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 1123

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ohman wrote:

I don't feel our own barbaric use of capital punishment comes anywhere close to the way human beings are treated here. And at least in the US we can shout our displeasures from the rooftops.


What do you think of our barbaric use of crack cocaine, Saturday-night specials, and alcohol pops? 50% divorce rates? 60-hour work weeks? Hip-hop and rap culture with their special regard for "ho's" and bitc*es? Sure, we can "shout our displeasures from the rooftops" and keep the neighbors up all night in the process, and if they complain we kick dey muthafu**in' a**es.

Isn't that just grand?

In America we are free to do everything except live sane, healthy, happy lives.

BD,
(Happy that the ME is there so he has a safe place to bring his family)
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12304
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 11:03 pm    Post subject: A whale of a mistake - or would that be a camel? Reply with quote

Dear Bindair Dundat,
Even great Homer (and I'm not talking about Homer Simpson) nods. However, in my defense, let me point out that I was only taking the words (and the spelling - so blame ohman) from the original post.

"Those who remain have turned to television, prayer, chronic self abuse, ethyl alcohol or suitcases brought back from Thailand with enough codeine and Valium to sedate a herd of dromaderies."

Had the words been mine, you can be assured that I would have checked the spelling of "dromaderies" (sic) before posting. Either that or I'd have taken the easy way out and simply written "camels". As for Mr. Melville, I rather doubt he knew D i c k (and I'm not talking about Moby) about dromedaries.

Also, I think you make a good point about the USA's suitability to be the "Moral Policeman" of the world. Pots calling kettles black and all that.
However, I would like to mention that I'm living in America and leading a "sane, happy, healthy" life (OK, OK - there are probably some who'd hotly dispute the "sane" part).
Regards,
John
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ohman



Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 239
Location: B' Um Fouk, Egypt

PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2004 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bindair,
Do you really believe that your points are fair and valid analogies?
I'd like to know.
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ohman



Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 239
Location: B' Um Fouk, Egypt

PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2004 7:47 am    Post subject: Joe Hill--we hardly knew you Reply with quote

Cleopatra,

OK--forget about the Saudi women. What about the inhuman treatment of laborers.

I know, yes. I know. They made a choice. But--if they are lied to, unwittingly, and still make choices based on what they've been promsied, are we in good conscience supposed to shrug our shoulders and tell them T.S., you made a choice, deal with it, deal with your 100 hour work week, your three to four month delay in pay, your sleeping 20 to a warehouse floor with intermittent running water and a company store that eats away at you 100 dollars a month.

What about the Shi'ites who have a kevlar coated ceiling when trying to advance in the job sector? What about freedom of religion? Wasn't China's MFN status tied to relaxing their intolerance of freedom of worship and didn't they respond appropriately? Freedom of speech? Is this a luxury or a basic human right? I'm talking about basic universally accepted human rights of the type the Allies felt worth a fight. Are we so jaded that now we accept these basic precepts as naive, banal aphorisms?
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ohman



Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 239
Location: B' Um Fouk, Egypt

PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2004 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

for christssakes--someone actually nitpicked a typo on dromaderies?
You wouldn't hapen to be one of the whiny gossipy beeatches I share an office with would you?

Here, let me make your day.

I recieved a letter from me mother today. I was vary happy to here from her.
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