Why does the West hate Arabs?

I wrote this one year ago and I revisited and edited recently when I started the Blog. 

It is now more than one year after the dreadful Danish cartoons and I am looking at it again with an attempt to go counter current. Although these cartoons are outrageous and unacceptable,  they are only a reflection of a behavior, accordingly one has to go back beyond such behavior to get to the roots. Robbins (2000) has described how behavior is shaped, observable behavior is affected by values,  attitudes, personality motivation and perceptions.  We are witnessing a possible case of misunderstanding around different sets of values, while the protest of Moslems is driven by emotions and religious values, the resistance of the west world is driven by another value the freedom of expression. The Arab world puts a lot of value to religion and its symbols, there are red tapes that should not be crossed, while the west has nothing sacred above freedom of expression. One has to remember that Europe centuries ago revolted against religious power and separated the church from the political system, Europe and later the USA has agreed on a set of values that were cherished now for more that 200 years. This separation and revolt did not happen yet in the Arab world and clerics are continuously attempting to gain ground and control of the mind of laypeople.However one has to mention that with the rise of the wahaby Islam promoted through petrodollars has eliminated the red tapes regarding other religions and both Judaism and Christianity were under continuous attack in publications books and media.  The shortfalls of Perceptual short cuts

Perception is defined as a process by which individuals organize and interpret their sensory impressions in order  to give meaning to their environment. In making such judgments one uses shortcuts as Stereotyping and halo effect, which would lead in the first case to a dramatic generalization that is misleading. 

Ever since 1973 and the sudden rise in petrodollars income of gulf countries, and the subsequent behaviors and extravaganza, an image of the ugly Arab started creeping in the collective memory of the western world it was further pictured in some movies as Petrol Petrol in early 80’s. Unfortunately every single behavior confirmed this image. In parallel the political systems, in order to avoid criticism and with the pretext of fighting atheistic communism, allowed a new wave of radical faith that showed a high degree of intolerance. Backed at a later stage with the Islamic revolution in
Iran. This started sending clear xenophobic racist messages that started attacking other faith.
The same mistake happened and with the same pretext in Afghanistan where radical Islamic movements had the responsibility of freeing the country from the soviets, which they succeeded in doing, however they turned their back on their western allies and created the most backward retarded and oppressive political system claiming the so called Islamic state. The practices of the Taliban regime contributed more and more to the ugly Moslem image in the perception of the western world who started reacting. This was culminated by the September 11 incident who has reinforced the image of Arabs in general and Moslems in particular as terrorist, Bin Laden and Zawahry by claiming the sacred war against the west using the Holy Koran verses have helped the west perception to attribute terrorism to one of the three monotheistic religions; Islam. While Bin Laden was attacking the decadent West in the name of Islam, Zarkawy provided videos of decapitation and killing with the two declarations of Islam on the background. It should be taken in consideration that a picture is worth a thousand words and that these images contributed to the perception that shapes behavior.  As suggested perception shapes behavior, however perception has got its own short comings, it is an incomplete process that uses several shortcuts as detailed earlier, Arabs fell in the trap of stereotyping the West as corrupt and immoral.  It is the same perceptual trap that is now bouncing against Arabs.  In brief we are facing two different sets of values, that shape, through perceptual shortcuts on both sides, a distorted image of the other. Dialogue would be the only way to clear the ground.  Arabs today feel victimized and attribute whatever happens to them to an external conspiracy. Heggy (1998) has looked critically on Egyptian culture.  Heggy (1998) identifies three drawbacks of Egyptian contemporary thinking that are: (1)    The wide spread belief of the conspiracy theory. (2)    The cultural loss between various cultures. (3)   The exaggeration in self-praise that he has identified by looking at newspapers titles.These are not defects that are inherently Egyptian but they are seen across the Arab world. It is in the belief of the writer that this conspiracy theory has got favorable land for growth that is seeded by the Arab culture that strongly believes in this theory, and finds relief in attributing various mistakes to the conspiracy. Reasons for being retarded and behind Europe and USA are attributed to a global conspiracy of western world on Arabs to prevent their revival as a force in the world.  It is psychologically rewarding to place the blame on external forces, which leads to more complacency to work and act. If the outside world is against us then we can do nothing. This is complemented by the third drawback this means that Arabs tend to create their own world where they feel comfortable, instead of doing the contrary of admitting self-defects and limitations, most general arguments are emotionally based thus subjective instead of being objective and logical. Again such comfortable artificial world prevents action and mobilization. A fourth defect is also identified by Heggy (1998) in the  separation between sayings and action, in other words the rhetorical and the action where big words are always used in the description of facts even the simplest ones, but all comments are rhetorical  with very little action. To add to that extreme myopia. After September 11, there was a shock among all Arabs, however no action was done to correct the harm Arabs started to talk to themselves defending from accusations but their message was lost because it did not address the target. Again Madrid, and London reinforced the ugly image. In conclusion behind the two conflicting behavior there is enough reserve of fuel that is ready to explode with a very small spark into hatred and xenophobia from both sides. 


2 Responses to “Why does the West hate Arabs?”

  1. 1 Marwa Rakha May 6, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    I enjoyed reading this post a lot. Very nice way of presenting both sides of a story; most of the time, the writer will present the view that is in perfect alignment with his interests.

    I fully agree with what you wrote about the Arab attitude and how they lose perspective in the process.

    As for the West, when I was a kid, the villain was Russian. A decade later, he turned black, then German, and then in a couple of years he became Asian – Chinese, Japanese, or Vietnamese. Now it is our turn … someone has to be the bad guy and the West – Americans in this case – have to save the world.

  2. 2 rafiknakhla May 6, 2007 at 9:15 pm

    you have a point but every time there was a different reason, communism, nazism, etc.. we gave them the reason on a gold plater to become their next vilain

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