The Fetishization of All Things Arabic

Is fetishizing all things Arabic a manner in which we can reach more truth? When has fetishizing something led to more than an obsession, something more positive and substantive that deals more with reality (--the reality of even the spectrum of human emotions or other abstractions--) than singular (or individual) desires?

One can argue there is a fine line between fetishization and plainly good intention. I see this very well. But I am curious as to how we make sure we are not orientalizing (or in the Arabic person's case) reflexively orientalizing where we should not be...in order to make, say, the Iraqi voice ring clearer and build networks that are stronger.

Also, I find interesting how exoticizing things Arabic has contributed to some misunderstanding of the person who is Arabic of culture or race by western peoples. Yes, even I've experienced this...and continue to experience this daily.

I've always said the following as an Iraqi being outside of Iraq and mingling with all sorts of people from all over the world. On many an occasion, when somebody from the west finds out you're Iraqi when meeting even casually, they take either two steps backward or two steps forward.

Sometimes both can happen. They'll take two steps backward, then come forward...slowly or quickly. Sometimes they'll take two steps forward and then go two steps backward. Soon you're dancing salsa. And I'm afraid a lot of misunderstanding occurs in this stepping forward and backward, i.e. salsa dancing. Either because the person is unable to understand, say in my case, that I have a load of other things going on in my life (some predictable and some unpredictable) that might spark me into a freaked out frothing at the mouth fury (or more mild emotional discomfort) that nobody around me will escape. Everybody will salsa! So while I absolutely love meeting new people all the time--and don't plan stopping--I realize there's some salsa-esque maneuvering required in order to have a normal relationship with some people because of conscious or subconscious dissonance with regard to "the other". And if you've read the Iraqi Agora you might be able to find more of my freaking out. It can be effective for blogging. Because I do think the more emotional and personal blogs are more interesting to read. But it's not effective for one's sanity in these difficult times.

Of course, I could be over-estimating about certain situations...but I'm just being frank. You can be Mary.

(I'll write more later about this...I've got to go now.)


Blog Archive