The Hummus Western has become an obsession. I have a way of being consumed by these sorts of ideas, some proclivity for parasites that I don’t understand. Anyway, I have chosen a setting. The Trans-Jordanian Mandate of the British Empire circa late 1920s would be perfect. The growing Jewish population in Palestine would provide a looming sense of dread on the characters, but only a minor theme in a grander concept. The mirroring of concepts between the Old American West and the inter-war Middle East is fascinating. There was the impending, uncontrollable drawing of permanent borders, and the end of autonomy. In the Middle East Winston Churchill and Sykes-Picot divvied up the land, their counterpart being American speculators like Lewis & Clark. Even the sense of grander forces disrespecting local traditions would carry over. The Bedouin tribal culture could be represented in a similar way to the Native American Indian. So many parallels, and enough uniquities (a word that should exist; consider it coined) to be a legitimate entry into the canons of both the Middle Eastern epic and Western shoot-out genres.
The professor for my Arab/Israeli conflict class is tremendous. Academic to a “T”, provocative, and he refuses to pander to the lowest common denominator (in this case; an inane argument over whether or not all Jews are Zionists and vice-versa). I intend to ask him if he needs any research assistance. What a valuable contact to have for future recommendations. Can you tell I’m worrying about getting a summer job?
The following has very little relevance to most of you, but I couldn’t spit this out in class:
Fayyadism – Salam Fayyad is one of two Prime Ministers under Abbas (there is still some dispute about legitimacy). This is a man with a pragmatic plan to solve structural problems in the West Bank. His focus has been to build the institutions of a state before clamoring for recognition. This represents a change of tact for the Palestinian leadership, and I believe a viable strategy with long term foresight. A family with a steady income will not have unemployed sons to enlist in protest groups, or more violent terrorist operations. Ideology becomes extreme only when it is forced to become a priority. Al Qaeda was born only when unemployed members of the Muslim Brotherhood became militant and were thrown together in the infamous Egyptian prisons. Investment in infrastructure and human capital will lead to growth, and the structural racial barriers between socioeconomic classes will shrink.
Maybe $3 billion a year could go towards the protection of human rights like the pursuit of happiness instead of more fighter jets.
Hopefully not too controversially,
Paul Terrence Karolyi