Thursday, July 30, 2009

Contestant No. 2 No Druze Nor Arabs Need Apply

PBS's Wide Angle had the story of a beautiful Druze girl who was prevented from participating in the Miss Israel Pageant when the Druze Elders ruled that the swimsuit contest would dishonor her family and the entire Druze community. A very moving portrayal of a young woman's quandary when caught in an ancient cultural vise while living in the 21st century. I have Druze relatives and there was a young friend of my daughters who spoke Hebrew while I watched the Arabic/Hebrew dialogue [my Arabic is rusty, but serviceable].

Sadly, while the Israeli Arab female cineaste kept her emotions from exploding onto the film and her editing taste was impeccable, I could not help remembering The UN Arab Human Development Report which among other deficiencies, points out the following:
Responding to a sense of urgency among Arabs about the precariousness of Arab countries at the start of the new Millennium, the first series of the AHDR (2002 – 2005) brought prominent teams of Arab intellectuals and practitioners together to analyze the three most pressing human development deficits in the region: knowledge, freedom, and women’s empowerment.
[my emphasis]
Wonen everywhere should realize that their individuality is suppressed in many cultures to an extent that Ms. Duah Fares received threats and a group of three Druze men were arrested for planning to kill her---for a beauty pageant!

Perez Hilton, move over. There's even bigger assholes out there than you!

UPDATE The Fifth UN Human Development Report since 2002 has just hit the reading public. :
The Economist comments:
WHAT ails the Arabs? The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) this week published the fifth in a series of hard-hitting reports on the state of the Arab world. It makes depressing reading. The Arabs are a dynamic and inventive people whose long and proud history includes fabulous contributions to art, culture, science and, of course, religion. The score of modern Arab states, on the other hand, have been impressive mainly for their consistent record of failure.

They have, for a start, failed to make their people free: six Arab countries have an outright ban on political parties and the rest restrict them slyly. They have failed to make their people rich: despite their oil, the UN reports that about two out of five people in the Arab world live on $2 or less a day. They have failed to keep their people safe: the report argues that overpowerful internal security forces often turn the Arab state into a menace to its own people. And they are about to fail their young people. The UNDP reckons the Arab world must create 50m new jobs by 2020 to accommodate a growing, youthful workforce—virtually impossible on present trends.

I would quibble on the Arab contributions to science, as many of the math and other discoveries were made by El-Ghawarizm, a Persian who invented logorithms [the bastardized Western version of the eponymous homeland in northwest Iran of the math genius, etc.].

But as far as wife-beating and persecuting their own populations, Arab males and military have no equal on the planet.

No comments :