Monday, April 21, 2008

Whatever Happened to the Egyptians?

When I try to answer the question "Whatever happened to the Egyptians?", made famous by Galal Amin's book, I always find myself going back to globalization.

The invasion of Western (mainly American) media, products, food, movies, role models, values, politics, music, ..... is a fact of our lives. And since Newton's third law of motion says: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction" (I am so impressed that I still remember this) it was inevitable, that some of us would choose to resist the Western invasion by adopting values that are on the opposite extreme of the spectrum, thus traditions and values coming from the East of us. The problem is that these values and traditions are actually as foreign to us as the Western values and traditions. This is best described by the joke:

An Egyptian returned home after years of working in a neighboring Arab country. He decided to build a mosque. When the mosque was completed, and he heard the Athan, he locked the mosque and put up the sign "Closed for Prayer" on the door. (I too was not sure whether to laugh or cry)

Does anyone care to come join me at the center of this tug-of-war?

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