Why 100?

Last year I set out to read 100 books, but I ran out of time and only read 75. So this year, I will read one hundred books. And you're my witness :) The only thing stopping me this year is 9 seasons' worth of Seinfeld episodes- wish me luck!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

94. middle eastern conflicts

i've been working on this book for a while.  it read like a textbook, albeit a very interesting textbook, called The Modern Middle East by James L. Gelvin.  i finally learned the background of all the things that people talk about- *warning: i am about to show you just how ignorant i really am* i now know more than the location of the palestine/israel conflict and how yasser arafat ties into that.  i already knew a bit about the iranian revolution, but i got some background on that, too.  and i also learned what rentier states are and how some forms of defying westernization are actually just imitations of what western cultures do (just don't tell the head honchos that!).  i was really frustrated after i read this book.  they spoke about how globalization may either help lessen the tensions and open more of a pathway between middle eastern nations and the rest of the world, but it is also possible that access to all of this information can be what ultimately gives those in power more power because they control it (as seen in saudi arabia).  i was also really frustrated with how the west had meddled with that part of the world.  why do our cultures have to intervene into everyone elses?  yes, sometimes we actually help those parts.  but if you look at how westerners drew up the boundaries of iraq- with little regard for the sparring cultures that they trapped within those boundaries- it is little wonder why there are so many problems there.  and it is even more frustrating because they used to have a lot of the cultural freedoms that we have here today- like secular government (or no real established overall government) and nationalists, westerners and islamists saw that they were going too far and then established strict new rules that threw those nations into the religious state of affairs that people struggle with today.  i'm not really on anyone's "side" at this point, after getting some of the facts, because everyone has screwed up when it comes to what should be done in the middle east.  they really need to be left alone to develop their own culture and allowed to govern themselves, but it is too late for that because they already established corrupt governments to combat other nations meddling in their affairs.  so what to do?  i have no idea.

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