Adam’s blogbox: poor Arabs...they’re so screwed, they get all misty-eyed when plucky Hezbollah stands up to mighty Israel
(Note: last week we slammed Israel; now it's the turn of the Arabs.)
Those Arabs. They don’t have much to be proud about. Do they have beautiful women? We wouldn’t know – they’ve got them hidden behind veils.
Have they invented anything new lately? Not much. They didn’t even invent suicide bombing -- that was invented by the Tamil Tigers.
Who are their great writers? Well, they’ve got this poet Adonis, but I haven’t heard of a J.M. Coetzee or a Toni Morrison or an Orhan Pamuk (Turkish, not Arab) sprouting from their ranks.
Do they have a great moral leader -- a Gandhi, a Mandela, a Dr. King, some luminary who’s made a significant difference in Arabia in the last 50 years? No. They had a bunch of Saudi princes who used to gamble oil fortunes away in Monte Carlo a few decades ago. That’s about it.
Do they have a great artist -- an Andy Warhol or a Damien Hirst or an Anselm Kiefer? Nope.
Do they have wonderful governments, who make good laws, serve their people well, and establish ways to run their societies that we can learn something from? Er, no. They’ve got theocracies and dictators who lock their people up and buy everyone off with oil money. In fact, in some oil-rich Arab states, the Arabs don’t work: they import Indians to manage the country and Philipinos to do the work.
Do they make good cars, or design fine fashion, or produce famous wines, or create great cheeses, or stage excellent theater, or come up with beautiful furniture?
Persian carpets. That’s what they do. They haven’t been able to add one more product to this lineup of one for the last eight thousand years. Unless you want to count belly-dancing.
I’m trying to think of famous contemporary Arabs besides blowhard politicos like whoever the Americans have put in charge of Iraq these days, or ideologues like Bin-Laden -- and the only one I can think of is that Saudi prince who invests in the West and is stinking rich.
Have they got a Michael Jackson or a Bruce Springsteen? Maybe they do, but he’s not trying to sell his records all over the world, is he? An isolated lot, those Arabs.
To get really shallow, have they got a famous international film star? Have they got a Gong Li? Or a Jet Li? Little South Africa has Charlize Theron, faraway Australia has Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe, but the whole of Arabia cannot produce a single person who is so beautiful, we love to watch them do dumb things in movies. Oh yes, there was Omar Sharif, but he must be quite grey by now. He was a double-hitter, being a great bridge champ, too.
Heck, I’m trying, I’m really trying to think of great Arabs. Or great things they’ve done. Or great achievements. I know the Arabs discovered zero, and kept civilization alive in the Middle Ages or something, but I’m thinking of the last 100 years. And damned if I can think of a single thing.
It seems the Arabs have contributed zip to the rest of the world – except for oil. And the oil is a coincidence. It just happens to sit right under their under-achieving asses. They can’t even get it out of the ground themselves. Western oil companies do it for them.
So here comes Hezbollah, who runs charities in Lebanon, and affords the Lebanese Shiites something to live for, and little Hezbollah slings a quiver of rockets into Israel every day, and gives the mighty IDF a run for their money, dug in as they are in Southern Lebanon, and what happens … the entire race of Arabs on planet earth go absolutely apeshit.
Sheik Nasrallah! Sheik Nasrallah! Sheik Nasrallah!
Suddenly the Arabs feel a stiffening in their spines. Suddenly they experience a shot of self-esteem. Suddenly they feel they can hold their heads high.
Poor Arabs. If that’s what it takes to make them feel proud, they’ve got precious little to be proud about.