It’s always helpful to sample the real world on your own – without the clinical distillation that comes from getting information from newspapers and television…
Earlier this week, I took a taxi from the airport to my hotel, and just happened to have an Arabic driver (I’m usually pretty good at identifying people’s origins based on their voice inflections). Ah, I thought here is an opportunity to get the Moslem thinking straight from the “horse’s mouth”.
Without revealing my genealogy, I learned that Ahmed was from Jordan and he had lived in the United States since 1980. Hmm, I figured I was in the presence of a man that had made a decision to leave his decrepit country over 25 years ago for the modern land of “milk and honey”. I assumed that he would possess opinions reflective of an American citizen.
Naturally, our discussions during the 20-minute drive turned to the Middle East. I was surprised when he quickly offered his opinion that the core problem in the Middle East is the fact that the Palestinians do not have land of their own. When I mentioned that Clinton, Barak, and Arafat had sat down and defined a provisional agreement for a Palestinian country more than five years ago, his response was “I never heard of this.” As the conversation continued, I offered him a variety of historical facts about the Middle East. He swept aside each insight as being fabrications of western media… Wow!
I certainly can’t make wide-sweeping conclusions based on a sample size of one interview. However, as I stepped out of the cab, it occurred to me that even though this man had lived for 25 years with the freedoms in the United States, he could not free his narrow-minded thinking about Jews in the Middle East.