July 21, 2006

July 21, 2006: Worthington - Convenient Cdns.

Update added below.

Peter Worthington: Convenient Canadians -- "What in heaven's name are 50,000 Canadians doing in Lebanon?"

The estimated 50,000 are roughly 20% of all the Lebanese who have become Canadian citizens -- about 250,000 of 'em.

Excellent! He discusses dual citizenship, etc.

Update & refugee-related: I came upon these later. Hussain Sumaida, one of Canada's refugees who may have been turfed from Canada, wrote a book about being a double agent. Book: Circle of Fear : My Life As an Israeli and Iraqi Spy ... Hussein Sumaida, the son of one of Saddam Hussein's principal lieutenants

Review of Circle of Fear: My Life as an Israeli and Iraqi Spy ... by Hussein Sumaida, with Carole Jerome Washington, DC: Brassey's, 1994. 304 pp. $23.95 Middle East Quarterly March 1996. Reviewed by Daniel Pipes

Some aspects were credible, apparently, some less so.

No less interesting are Sumaida's alternately world-weary and idealistic observations. Repeatedly, he tries to explain the Middle Eastern mentality to Westerners, even as he thinks this an impossibility ("The key to the Middle East is understanding that you can never really understand it"). One theme concerns Middle Eastern thinking:

In our unique system of logic, a theory believed is a fact. There is no intermediary analytical thought. My theory is my belief, therefore is a fact. . . . Our logic is not a straight line, but curled and twisting like our script. Our sense of life and death is not theirs [i.e., Americans']; we laugh where an American cries.

He contrasts the optimism of Westerners (they assume "that someone looking for someone is a friend, not an enemy") with the deep pessimism of Iraqis ("Living under the Ba'th regime, my father always assumed that whatever happened was for the worst"). Sumaida also offers thoughts on ways for Westerners to approach the Middle East:

There's an old cliché about the Mideast that I get very tired of hearing pronounced by "experts" on western news broadcasts. It goes, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." A fatuous oversimplification. Instead I prefer, "The friend of my friend isn't necessarily my friend." . . . There are no such things as allies in the Middle East. There are only shifting sands.


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