10 Reasons why you Should Like Arabs
WARNING: There are some stereotypes in here. However, I felt it was fair to use some positive stereotypes since mostly the negative ones have prevailed in Western media.
Let’s do it the David Letterman way and count down from 10:
Number 10. Arabs are not homogeneous. So let me start by saying all that I’m about to say is hard to justify as I am, in fact, stereotyping with the broadest of brushes. Because they are many cultures within a bigger culture. An “Arab” is really only someone who speaks Arabic. They are Christians and Muslims and Druze. There are Arabs who are Israeli citizens, enjoying most of the rights of any other Israeli, and those who are Palestinians trapped in the Gaza Strip living in inhumane conditions. There are rich (Dubai) and poor (Yemen). To say “Arabs” is really like saying “Westerners.” It’s way too broad – but if you know that, it makes it a little easier to understand them. When you know the “them” you’re talking about can’t easily be defined.
Number 9. Arabs make good food. All the Arabs who live around the Mediterranean (North Africa, the Middle East) have the same basic diet as what you’d find in Greece or Italy. Good food and good fun. When these Arabs move to the West, they bring their good food with them!
Number 8. Arabs are happy folk. They tend to laugh a lot. I have never heard as many jokes as I have living in the Middle East.
Number 7. They love traveling and learning about other cultures. I have been consistently surprised at how often I meet people in the Arab world who know way more about me and my culture than I do about them.
Number 6. They are learners. They love information. They’re not always big readers, but they study people. Be careful because they’ll know more about you in a few minutes than you can ever imagine. Their “people intuition” is amazing.
Number 5. Arabs love life. This one’s a bit fuzzy I know, but I often equate them to people from the Midwest here in the States. Good ole boys. Down home. Easy to hang out with and enjoy a good time.
Number 4. They are the warmest and most hospitable of all the cultures I’ve seen. If you are a foreigner, you cannot manage to walk from point A to point B without someone insisting you come in for tea. And then usually get asked to stay for lunch or dinner. And oftentimes they will insist you spend the night. Gotta love that!
Number 3. In the West we’re often told that we don’t discuss Religion and Politics in polite company. No such silliness in the Arab world. Of course, everyone discusses the two most important topics in their lives. They are often confused by our politicians who go there and never discuss faith. God, faith, politics and every day life are intricately intertwined.
Number 2. Arabs are good friends. They understand the power of friendship. They will, quite literally, do anything for a friend. When they say someone is a friend – they mean it.
Number 1. They value family life like no others. They’re often shocked at how they see the West treating our elderly. When they find out that our two daughters go to school in other states – outside of Colorado – they wonder if there are no Universities inside of Colorado. Their families are not perfect, but they stay together.
In the end, I wonder if there is some irony in the fact that it’s our so-called Christian “Social Conservatives” here in the States who could learn a few things from Arabs. Seems like we have a potential partnership with the Arab community and even the broader Muslim community that few have tapped into. Maybe conservative Bible believing Christians could partner with conservative Arabs (both Muslim and Christian in background) in a number of ways that have so far not been thought of. Like social, civic, political – just for the general well-being of mankind, sort of stuff.
And in the end, maybe you should find a family to have over for Christmas dinner this year….You will be pleasantly surprised. I guarantee it.