Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The War

This is a relatively short post. I'm not going to talk about the truths and mistruths about the criticism's of the war. Instead, I revert my attention to a particular "caste" of people in America that fume at the war and come to far-reaching conclusions about it. Just to let you know, I was born in Israel and as a result, my interest in Middle Eastern affairs has always been quite high. I want to let you in on a little secret. Years before September 11 occurred, I had already discovered something about the common American's knowledge of anything Middle Eastern; it was almost non-existent. When I was in high school, was talking to one of my good (non-Jewish) friends about my upcoming trip to Israel over the summer. To paraphrase him, he asked me if in Israel men have several wives that make do all their work for them. Of course I told him "no," but because he knew that I love Israel, he thought that maybe I was fudging the facts to make it look good. Anybody that's been to Israel knows that men in Israel either have zero or one wife.

Here are some other cases of general ignorance of Israel, and to a larger degree, the Middle East. These are non-fictional accounts:

1) Yaniv: I am going to Israel this summer.
Girl: Oh, I would never go there.
Yaniv: Why not?
Girl: Oh, you know how they treat women there.

2) Yaniv: I'll be gone for the summer, I'm going to Israel.(wearing a Star of
David necklace)
Manager: Are you going on a mission?
Yaniv: No, I'm Jewish.
Manager: So?
Yaniv: (giving her the benefit of the doubt) Jews don't go on missions.
Manager: (Look of confusion)

3) Yaniv: I'll be in Israel this summer. (Still wearing that Star)
Manager 2: Are you going on a mission?
Yaniv: Jews don't go on missions to Israel because it's a Jewish country.
Manager 2: (Look of confusion)

Anyway, those are the funniest out the funny things I've heard people say about Israel. I have also realized that many people didn't know the difference between Israel, Iraq, Iran; the letter "I" must have confused them. The same goes for Libya and Lebanon and Syria and Saudi Arabia, and my favorite one; Pakistan and Palestine.

The point is this; before 9/11, many American's could barely point out where half of the countries in the Middle East were, and now we see people speaking about it as if they became over-night experts. I think this is rediculous. If you don't know anything about a country or countries, where they are, when they came into being, and what their relationship is with each other, or with your country, either shut your mouth or open a book before you open your mouth. Ignorance makes free speech worth less than the Tic-Tac's that you bought to make your opinion-riddled breath smell good. For example, I know almost nothing about the situation between North and South Korea, so instead of expressing a naive opinion, I just ask.

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