Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Arab insult

The Chicago Tribune, 12/15/08, Section 1, page 1. A picture on the first page shows President Bush dodging a shoe that had been thrown at him by an angry Iraqi journalist. A thrown shoe is a major insult in the Arab world. We can add this to the list of Arab insults. As if we need another one.

The Arab culture is easily insulted. And easily pissed off. Anger management is a major problem throughout the Muslim world. The severity of the restrictions on economic activity, creativity, personal behavior and sexuality serve to keep the population on the verge of boiling over. This is the opposite of capitalism and democracy, which through openness allow many types of expression and release of creativity that channels aggression into much less harmful activities. (Such as our preoccupation with sports, which is an excellent, constructive outlet for human aggression as opposed to violence against other individuals and ‘irregular’ warfare.)

No wonder the Islamic world hates us. We are opposite in just about everything. They don’t have many outlets for many human qualities so they take it out on everyone else. They even take it out on each other, including the ones that they love. It makes sense that such a restrictive culture would tend to be insulted easily. This is one of the few outlets for many of the qualities that are so strictly repressed.


  1. Here is a AP piece from the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and back when we thought the shoe thing was pretty cool:

    BAGHDAD, Iraq — A crowd of Iraqis, with the help of U.S. Marines, toppled a 40-foot statue of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in a main square of the capital Wednesday, pelting it with garbage and shoes and dragging the head through the streets....

    The crowd pelted the statue with shoes and slippers — a gross insult in the Arab world — while a column of U.S. armor sat in the square, a large roundabout ringed with columns in front of the blue-domed Shahid Mosque.