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    A few photos as an impression of the road I am traveling. So if you want to have a glimpse of some parts and times of my life you are welcome to see what I have seen.

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November 13, 2006

Comments

The Raccoon

The Middle East is... somewhat more complex than this, as I have touched upon very briefly in my comment on the previous entry.

It has been so historically (especially Israel in all its incarnations - from Canaan to independent Jewish Clan-States, to the Jewish Kingdoms and onwards). Not only is the ME a vital crossroads (Europe-Asia-Africa-India), it is also rich enough to have birthed and supported some of the world's greatest empires. Egypt, Persia, Assyria... and the list goes on and on.

I believe that you are (as do many in the West) not giving us Middle-Easterners enough credit. We are perfectly capable of digging our own graves, meddling in our own affairs, plotting and scheming against each other, and generally messing ourselves up.

The Turks are also Middle-Easterners. Ottomans were a local player as much as were Koresh and Nebuchadanezzar. Try to imagine a land that is largely desert and mountains, but has a lot of incredibly fertile grounds - concentrated on a crescent-shaped, long sliver cutting across it. A land that has the most important roads in the world. A land in which at least two major, advanced political powers are flourishing at any given time. A land in which hatreds between hundreds of factions go back thousands and thousands of years. A land which is the gateway to the parts of the world every other part of the world connected to it needs to prosper.

Sounds like a recipe for trouble to me. And it is. The same thing that has been going on here for many millenia is going on right now - the locals are playing against each other, each for a different goal (Persian are, as always, imerialistic, Saudis are failing neo-colonialists, Israelis are security maniacs, Syrians are failing colonialists, etc). Each side plays the others for its interests. And yes, other players are involved - Europeans, Americans, Russians, Chinese, Indians. They are using the locals and are used in turn.

But please, Lenny - this Europe-centric attitude is, frankly, racist. And while the European partition of the Middle East has caused a whole lot of trouble, it's a drop in the ocean.

Abed. Hamdan

As you stated above, there are many reasons that made the middle east a critical region for decades, and it will be for a long time.

Again, terms like colonialism or imperialism will make people immediately accuse you of being a conspiracy theorist. So im suggesting you use the new term : Western Interests in the middle east. I don't know why people find it an execuse for occupation, I think It's another synonym for Imperialism and colonialism

lennybruce

Thanks guys for the comments.

Racoon: As you say, 'A land in which at least two major, advanced political powers are flourishing at any given time. A land in which hatreds between hundreds of factions go back thousands and thousands of years. A land which is the gateway to the parts of the world every other part of the world connected to it needs to prosper. Sounds like a recipe for trouble to me. And it is.' Cant agree with you more.

But whether the involvement of the 'West' and other non-indigenous foreign states in planting the seeds of the problems we have today and in continuing to perpetuate them as we speak - along with all the local boys mixing it up on the playground - is a drop in the bucket or a bit more than that is something we can agree to disagree on.

Abed: I think I will take your suggestion and look for different language - 'Western interests in the Middle East' is a good one although it sounds so innocent and almost helpful. :) Hope you are feeling more upbeat.

Naj

Dear Lenny, I want to thank you for participating in my blog, and for introducing me to yours. Your last 2 posts, i thought, are very informative and greatly important to understand some major elemnets of the ongoing tensions. It is mostly important to open peoples' eyes on the real context and how it is percieved, especialy, in the middle east. Best to you, and Thanks...
Naj

lennybruce

Naj,

Thanks for coming by. I really appreciate your weblog. When all we see of Gaza is what the news presents, it is sometimes difficult to remember that the people living there are just that - people - like people everywhere trying to make a living, go to school, raise a family. Weblogs like yours help to make it personal. And hopefully the more personal it can become the more people can see that what is going on there is madness. Keep up the good work and god willing, together, we can get to a place of peace.

Graeme

The Middle East is certainly capable of creating its own problems, which is why we (west) shouldn't be adding any.

lennybruce

Hi Graeme,

You are certainly right but the chances of us butting out any time soon are unfortunately less than zero.

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