Myth #2: The incidence of war in modern times in the Middle East is a continuation from earlier times of violence and conquest, and of a culture that promotes violence.
- To say that there is a “culture of violence” in the Middle East is really a nebulous phrase that is almost without analytic purchase: certainly there are values and practices in these societies, such as parading small boys with guns and holding pompous military revues, that are usable for militaristic mobilization and indoctrination, but so are there in other cultures – notably those of the former imperial powers of Europe, the US and Japan. The history of Europe in the twentieth century, and the brutality visited by some of its rulers on their own peoples, far outstrips anything seen in the modern Middle East.
Fred Halliday, “100 Myths about the Middle East”.
Let’s cut to the chase: Sean and I leave for Kuwait in 72 days. The world cup is held once every 4 years. The gestation period of an elephant is 22 months. There are 182 days between solstices. There are 119 days between Christmas and Easter. At 65 mph, it would take you 16 days to drive around the world. Methamphetamine stays in your hair follicles for 90 days. Children (and adults) enjoy 75 days of summer vacation. Aron Ralston had his arm stuck under a boulder in Utah for 127 hours. It’s all relative.
Until that fateful day, August 15, when we board the plane with our bags stuffed with cheese curds and seasons of That 70’s Show, Happy Days, Storylords, and any other television shows filmed in Wisconsin, I will begin my blog that will carry me over from the isthmus to the sandbox.
At the library I found “100 Myths About The Middle East”, which is surprisingly informative and interesting. Since I have 72 days in Wisconsin before Kuwait, that means I will treat you to SEVENTY-TWO myths about the Middle East that I will PERSONALLY (with the help of author Fred Halliday) DEBUNK! Hold on to your turbans, ladies and gentlemen! We’re in for a wild ride.
Why “Aloha Kuwait”?
My well-read father loves irony. Not only does he own a t-shirt that has astronauts on the moon holding beer cans and shotguns, but he has recently acquired numerous t-shirts of comical political juxtaposition. Tasteful? Tacky? Tactful? You decide. For my last birthday, after Sean and I shared the news of our impending relocation to the middle east, I was gifted a beautiful Persian-Gulf-blue shirt with Polynesian flowers bordering the Kuwait Towers and the line “Aloha Kuwait”.
As if upon arrival I will be greeted by women in coconut bras and a lei around my neck. As if I need to bring a waterproof camera, tiki torches, beach chairs, and a skimpy J Crew bikini.