The Middle East will become a world superpower in the next 5-10 years.
This is the theory that I chose to expound upon in the paper I wrote for one of the universities that I’m applying to graduate school for. I believe that it is true that, with time, the region known as the Middle East (and it’s greater region, including the North African countries bordering the Mediterranean as well as Iran , Afghanistan and Pakistan) will come to be a power in the world namely because of it’s ability to influence a good proportion of the world’s population. I believe that, just like European (and American, which is derived from European ideals and ideas) culture and ideas influenced the world for hundreds of years, that the Middle East will become important and emulated.
However, I doubt most of America would agree with me. In fact, to borrow an internet/texting term, they’d probably “laugh their asses off” at my theory.
I came across two articles in the past month which certainly confirm that suspicion (never mind the fact that the United State’s government would probably denounce the idea as ‘insane,’ too, but probably secretly agree with me). The strange thing was that the articles were actually quite positive towards the Middle East and Islam, but the reader comments were….quite the opposite.
The first article discusses a public school, PS 368, in New York City, which has decided to implement an Arabic-learning program for its second-through-fifth grade elementary-school students. I was shocked to find out that a public school (especially one in New York City, where the public school students have high Hispanic populations) would promote a language program for elementary children (this is surprising since American’s don’t believe in learning foreign languages) and, more importantly, that the principal had advocated and pushed for that language to be Arabic.
While Spanish will continue to be an important language, at least in the Western hemisphere, and French will probably main the number-one language of many foreign organizations for some years to come, Arabic is an important language for Americans to learn. As the Middle East expands it’s presence and power, it would only be natural to have some comprehension of Arabic.
The second article, despite being found on a Republican news website, was surprisingly positive towards Islam. It detailed the State Department’s “United States Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally,” and focused on the studies conducted in Afghanistan of women’s rights. 450 imams, or religious leaders in Islam, were trained by Americans on how Islam is compatible with women’s rights (generally, it is, but interpretations are unfortunately the norm when it comes to women). The article supports my theory that human right’s in the Middle East will be solved as these countries gain power, as it points out that previously more hardline imams-a source of authority-were in agreence with the curriculum.
Those who read the two articles, however, were highly opposed to both programs.
“I will never willingly enter the state of new york” reader Jayceon said, regarding the plan to teach kids Arabic. Another reader agreed, pointing out that “your great America is DEAD DEAD DEAD!” Reader NEWMEXICOPATRIOTS insisted that If you want to learn Arabic, go to college, and pay for the class yourself. This crosses every line of decency, she should have her citizenship stripped. ” In a strange way, their ire kind of underlines what I’m trying to say: they are afraid of the Middle East, because they are afraid of the power it can weild and equate anything related to the region as being “part of the enemy.” That seemed to be the general theme: that introducing Arabic in the schools would spell the end of America, Christianity and democracy (none of which would be true with a powerful Middle Eastern region).
Feedback on the Gender Strategy article was a little bit softer, given that Muslim women are the “proof with which America berates the Middle East.” Rather, the ire was directed at the United States government itself, with the general theme being that Islam-and, by default, Arab culture-cannot be changed, cannot be helped. “What a waste of $$$$$. It should have been spent on fortifying American courts to fight sharia!! Because with this muslim prez in the wh ~ sharia is comin’ whether we want it or not,” one reader insisted, thus reiterating the idea that the Middle East and it”s dominant religion were a threat to American power. Reader Ed Reed brought up what I felt was the only interesting point against the program, saying “So what happened to “separation of church and state”? Is this not a case of endorsing a religion?” And while it may seem strange that the US government is meddling in religious affairs, they’re not meddling in America’s religious affairs.
Overall, the article’s confirmed my theory. Americans are not just afraid of Arab culture because the culture is “different” and the region has produced terrorists, but because with it’s unifying religion and the devotion it inspires; oil supply; prime position thanks to American policy, language and newly-democratic attitude the region is poised on the brink of being the Next Big Thing. Just like some Europeans dislike the United States not just for our bad foreign policy but also, importantly, because we are more powerful and wield more influence in the world, so America will come to dislike the Middle East because the Arab countries will grow to be a force to be admired.