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True Say

August 13, 2006


It seems we can only look at the Middle East and its inhabitants (the Israelis excepted) through one of two lenses: Either we completely ignore the cultural, economic and political differences (including the hugely unequal power relationship between the global hegemon and a collection of fragmented, post-colonial nation states) or we retreat into Orientalist cliches about the inscrutible Arab and/or Islamic soul.

The first view is essentially that of the Marine colonel in Full Metal Jacket who declares confidently that inside every Vietnamese (he used a different word) there is an American, trying to get out. This is also the Cheney administration's official view, expressed every time Shrub reads one of his canned lines about the universal appeal of democracy and freedom -- freedom, of course, being most emphatically not defined as freedom from foreign occupation or economic globalization or the onslaught of a Western-dominated media culture unconsciously bent on conquering the world.

Billmon

posted by Neha
3:09 PM

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