Narrow Mindness in The Middle East

I am an Arab. I am a Middle Easterner. There isn’t much to be proud of (apart from the glorious history we have). We Arabs are good at nothing but brag about our past. Those in the gulf brag about their limited-edition cars, gadgets, mansions, women, and the list goes on. But what about the rest of us Arabs? What about Palestinians who are denied the most needed and internationally recognized rights? What about Iraqis? Killed and slaughtered around the clock? Yemenis who are going through their fourteenth Friday this time marking the longest yet most peaceful revolution so far? Arab spring is something we Arabs brag about too.

Then again, the narrow-minded complicated sex-driven all-time-bragging human beings occupying the Middle East are so terrible at judging, thinking, doing most if not everything. And there are a lot of stories that never fail to prove how narrow minded a lot of Middle Easterners are.

A divorced woman, for example, is being looked at as if she is why the marriage failed and leaded to divorce. Think for a moment please. Why can’t it be the man? What if the man was impotent and his wife is not happy with him? What if the man is “too much of a man” for her and I mean being a control freak with his endless dos and don’ts? Why can’t be the man the core of not only this problem, but many, many other problems too?

Why is a divorced woman is being looked at like if she’s a bad person? What has she done wrong if it’s not written for her to spend the rest of her life with the same man? Stop and think before you act.

Then again, comes the narrow-minded full-of-empty-pride Middle Easterner. Oh wait! Not only that but, we are Arabs too! (ya habibi!) okay let me give it to you slowly. Say an Arab guy finds the perfect woman whom he’d want to spend the rest of his life with but there’s one little problem. She’s Pakistani/Afghan/Asian. Arab guy tells his parents. Arab parents get pissed and angry because she’s not Arab. Arab guy is sad. Arab guy isn’t married to the girl of his dreams. WHY? “She’s not Arab, son.” They’d ALL reply.

Let me just make something clear. Don’t we ALL (the majority) have the have religion, traditions, family rules, history in common? Those in the Arabian Gulf will NEVER marry one from Asia. She has to be either from the same country or white. Gulf guy has a lot of money, a fleet of brand new cars, a couple of oil wells, a few mansions here and there across the map. But what about the rest? I tell you why. It’s because we Arabs think that nothing beats it than an Arab woman. I agree to an extent but what IF the girl of your dreams happened to be Asian? Would you just move on and say “No man forget it. She’s not Arab and my parents would never agree on this marriage”

Girls in the Middle East, or Arab girls to be specific, are raised up to the goal that they grow up to get married. Arab girl grows up. Arab girl is married. Arab girl has a bunch of babies and she’s in her early twenties. Why educate the girl and spend a lot of money on educating her while she is going to end up in the kitchen serving a dozen of kids and a sex-hungry husband? Poor Arab girl isn’t educated thus her kids aren’t well educated.

What if we grow our kids up by sheltering them from the world? Do you know what could happen? You’ll have grown young men and women who know nothing in the world. So naïve, unable to socialize with other people. Stupid parents thought that sheltering them is for the better. They only realize how much bad they have done to their kids only twenty years later.

Why can’t we cut the crap and live normally? Why are we racist even when it comes to the little things? Why can’t someone from the city marry a girl from the village and/or vice versa? Why can’t an Arab marry an Afghan? Why do we Arabs become happy and proud when one of us gets married to a white woman regardless of the fact that she’s not of the same religion the guy is?

It is really sad how racist this world has become. We are racist even when it comes getting married. She/he can’t be of another tribe or he/she can’t be from the village/city and/or vice versa? This is even amongst the people of the same country. We’re all human beings after all and neither money nor color will decide the fate of anyone.

Cut the crap and stop being a racist.

Look, evaluate, think, think again, then speak/act.

Nader K.

Note: This is out of what I have been reading and hearing for ages. No personal experience herein at all.

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About Nader Elkhuzundar

Nader Elkhuzundar is a commentator on Palestinian affairs and Co-founder of Beyond Compromise (www.beyondcompromise.com). Elkhuzundar occasionally freelances for The Guardian, International Business Times, and others. He's a social media enthusiast and tech savvy with particular interest in new technologies and analytics, and enjoys reading over Arabic coffee and dark chocolate.
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20 Responses to Narrow Mindness in The Middle East

  1. I have enjoyed reading it and I have to admit that Arab people must wake up from Age of Darkness.

  2. Nirmeen says:

    sorry, but dislike ..
    i just don’t know, you’re really not proud of what you are, and it’s still your opinion as the same here on my side.
    I’d prefer more cheerful words, even if it’s past’s memories, sometimes one step to the past throw you mails to a wonderful future.
    am sure, all what you’ve said is truly right, but somethings must stay behind the seen to avoid discrimination and lot of similar misunderstandings.

    wish u all the best

    • Nader K. says:

      I agree, but things like those mentioned in the article above have always been and will always be there in the Arab/Middle Eastern society. Looking back at the past or dreaming of a brighter richer future isn’t gonna solve the problem.

      • Nirmeen says:

        i didn’t say that literally, i know neither looking nor dreaming would, but some day we’ll learn the lesson, after a huge sacrifice.

        about you’ve mentioned previously “I agree, but things like those mentioned in the article above have always been and will always be there in the Arab/Middle Eastern society.”

        i can tell >> they will NOT be always at the Arab/Middle Eastern society. always, look for what is the best, believe you’ll reach it some how : )

  3. Jenn says:

    Well written article! I believe that it is from within the person that which we fall in love with.. and the rest is of little importance, as long as their a good person. We are all just people, regardless of color.
    There are plenty of people in this world already and we should all be at the point where the woman can decide to wait to have children and finish college first.

    • Jenn says:

      Nader, you really are very bright and compassionate.

      • Nader K. says:

        Thanks Jenn. Sometimes it’s not what the woman’s heart desires (same applies to men but almost no more). Educated parents will for sure support their daughter’s education and push her forward towards learning and getting a job. Marriage can always come. Make benefit of your young age and educate yourself for a better future for you and for your family.

  4. Mirna Miranda says:

    Well Sleepless, once again you touch on a subject that may seem isolated to the Arab & Middles East but in reality it could also be the story of the Mexicans in Mexico (where my ancestors are from) and the Latinos in America. Many of the family values, man/woman relationships, views of women, marriage/divorce sound so similar to the limitations present in your culture. One thing I have learned is that these deep-seated cultural beliefs were founded on inescapable truths of our realities that truly make us different than other societies & cultures. Somewhere hidden in the narrow-mindedness & simplicity lies a treasure of wisdom designed to preserve our uniqueness in the world, our intrinsic beauty and our perception of life! Acceptance is key, Sleepless! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Nader K. says:

    True, but sometimes outdated traditions and ideologies become the hinder thus the need to modernize. With that acceptance is made a whole lot easier

  6. ~Falastiniyeh~ says:

    Salaam 🙂 It’s definitely sad but I think they CAN change someday insha’Allah. The next generations can teach themselves and their kids what’s right & wrong !

    Although you can’t control what you’re attracted to, you can definitely tell your children that beauty comes in every shape,color,culture, etc. I had lot of trouble convincing my father especially whenever a non Falasteeni would want to sit wth me…subhanAllah that made me so angry at first bas laterI said its naseeb khalas .I HATED that and now want to teach my own kids that it’s ok to fall in love with a woman from another culture whether she’s single,divorced,divorced w/kids…aham shi elle enno tkuun Muslima w yikuun ibne mabsoot … the rest doesn’t matter .

    Guys need to do their part & tell their mothers what they like or dont like too…not just keep their mouths shut out of fear that they will hurt them when it comes to things like this.

    p.s I think Asian women are beautiful mashaaa’Allah :p every culture has a unique beauty about them sub7an el Khaaliq 🙂

  7. ~Falastiniyeh~ says:

    When I was visiting my in laws last year and my mother told my 5 YEAR OLD brother in law Inta 7ilu, his response was “ana msh 7ilu, ana asmaraane” Really? at 5 yrs old hes taught that beauty is only whiteness….. it made me cry when my mom told me 🙁 Im far from perfect bas the most time I talk back is when it comes to things like that…I kept saying IN AMERICA they love tannning wilsumur ^_^

    • Nader K. says:

      Wasalam 🙂 You’re very right about this and I truly hope that the coming generations raise aware of such things. Neither Allah SWT nor Muhammed PBUH said that a person of a particular tribe should marry someone from the same particular tribe or anything of that like. Love strikes blindly, indiscriminately and without prior notice.

      All what matters is that the person we’re marring should be -most importantly but not limited to- a good Muslim/Muslimah because otherwise I honestly don’t see the point of accepting the guy’s proposal -you know.

      Frankly, I have a thing for sumur. ba3sha2 elsum3ur haha. He should be happy that he’s asmar. Girls will chase him when he grows up a handsome asmar young man. It’s the environment he lives in, teaching him wrong/faulty concepts.

      If you look at it from a different angle, most of the Arab songs describe the beauty of sumur. Scarcely can one find any that describe the beauty of White ones. (white in skin colour, of course).

      This is absolutely personal point of view and there’s no intense whatsoever to discriminate against any/all kinds of people.

      Thank you very much for coming by! Please enjoy reading other posts.

      • Judy says:

        Do you mean whiteness as in a lighter Arab or white as in European? If it’s white as in European/American I highly disagree. I’m not married do the fact I’m white. And I’m VERY white, I have no tan at all haha. I converted 5 years ago to Islam and every single guy (Palestinian, Syrian, khaleeji, Egyptian), even those who had grown up in the states, ended things after their parents/family wanted them to marry from their race or country. Or even worse they knew they had someone waiting for them at home but still talked about marriage with me hoping they would grow enough balls to tell their parents but never did.
        I see so many converts give up on marriage because they have been broken by this. And a lot of my Asian friends just end up marrying someone ‘suitable’ instead of someone they really love. If you know you are not strong enough to face your parents then don’t even bother looking outside your country/race, or at least say it upfront.
        The Prophet saw said to pick a wife for four reasons, her deen, her beauty, her family, and her wealth. But you should choose for her deen or you will lose. He also ENCOURAGED marring from outside your ‘tribe’ and did so with his wives.
        Anyway great post…i’m glad you are bringing this to light. 🙂
        InshaAllah you will be able to study in the UK. If you ever want to study in the states I’d try to help you as much as I could! That’s how I found your blog, the link going around on twitter. 🙂 🙂

        • Nader K. says:

          Hey Judy!
          Thanks for passing by. You’re right about what you’ve said but then again, this is not what happens in all cases, you know. I’ve heard stories that no human would believe yet it happened.

          I hope you enjoy reading the other posts as well 🙂

  8. Falastiniyeh says:

    lol 3anjaaad 🙂 I’m not racist to anyone especially white people but the arab culture is too much when it’s time for their sons to marry. Iza wa7adeh bidha titzawaj asmarane 3aade bas elzaameh yitzawaj samra (even if she’s beautiful) starts a whole 2ussa haha Allah yihdehum w yihdena. I believe beauty come in every shape/color/etc insha’Allah future generations will realize that as well 🙂 I’d have a problem if my in-laws even start trying to brainwash my kids when they are older , then the Khaliliyeh in me will come out haha

    I follow you on twitter bro,that’s how I got to your website 🙂 Thanks for writing, insha’Allah looking forward to more posts from you !

    • Nader K. says:

      Haha! You’re right! We (sumur) men are being discriminated against :/ but one can only pray for a brighter future, you know.

      And, what’s your twitter name? I didn’t know you follow me on twitter! This is cool!

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