Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A New Step

So, I've been thinking a lot about what I want to get out of my time while in Tunisia.  One of the reasons I came here in the first place was because of my interest in Arabic/Islamic Culture and since being here I've realized how passionate I am about helping Western Society understand this very different part of the world.  

The more I think about it, the more I see the need for a greater understanding of Arabic Culture in not just the general public but also the American government.  What a difference that would make in our foreign policy decisions and in the way we handled diplomacy.

Do Americans have any concept of the honor/shame mindset?  Do we even understand that Western society for the most part functions out of a completely different mindset, which focuses on right and wrong?  How different would the peace talks between Israel and Palestine be if this was taken in as a factor.  

Do most even realize the significance of Baghdad within Islamic history?  It used to be one of the key capitols for the eastern part of the Middle East in the 11th-15th century.  Of course the Islamic world would be quite pissed when America goes and takes the place over, especially considering the Arab world generally assumes that Westerners are all Christians (because generally if you're an Arab, you're a Muslim).  Hmmm...

But these are just a few of the things I've learned since I've been here.  We're so uninformed these days (though it's not like the rest of the world is any more informed than us) and we really need to have a greater grasp of how other cultures think and function.

So, what I've decided I want out of this time is a greater knowledge of Arabic Culture and of Islam.  I'm leaning towards starting my graduate work in the next two years within this context with an ultimate goal of working in/with the government in some capacity dealing with foreign policy in the Middle East and Maghrib.  

We'll see what happens.  It's a new direction for me.  I'm excited.  I'm reading a lot.

1 comment:

Nate Spees said...

Awesome Jack!

Cheers to our futures and what may come!