Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

I Don't Understand

I was reading an article on Lebanese politics and after a while I gave up because I was reading the words but I didn't know what they meant. 

For example: Druze. I know the Druze are a religious grouping, but I don't know what the content is. I could look it up in Wikipedia, I suppose, but still  I wouldn't really know. I lack the cultural experience to be able, even dimly, to understand what it must feel like to be Druze.

And the same goes for Sunni, Shia, Maronite, Hezbollah....

Cultural experience is everything. I can form a dim idea of what it might feel like to belong to the Provisional IRA  because IRA members and I share a certain amount of cultural experience. I understand rainy northern cities.  I understand terraced streets and council estates.  I understand fields full of cows. I understand catholic.  I understand protestant.  I understand Irish nationalism.  I understand the British empire. And when I say "understand" what I mean is that all these concepts call up a certain emotional response in me. 

But the Lebanon? No shared cultural experience, no emotional response, no understanding.

It would be nice to think that the Western leaders who are currently meddling in the Middle East have the understanding I lack but, given the results of their meddling, I doubt it.
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