Monday, December 28, 2009


From KY:
There is no Trust in each other in the arabic societies. In actuality, the arabic culture clearly teaches you that you should trust no one. In the great Beiruti Sunni commercial tradition, you quickly learn: "iyyek mnel sho-w-k: Sharake, Wakeleh, Kafaleh..." Across Lebanon you learn "ana dod khayyeh, ana wa khayyeh dod ibn 3ammeh, ana wa khayyeh wa ibn 3ammeh dod el gharib"... The greatest arabic historical events are based on treachery (one of the biggest is celebrated in 3ashoura). The arabic person will only trust his closest family (but we see many brothers cheating each other, especially in succession rights "el werte"). In actuality, arabs even from the same country tend to avoid each other in foreign lands (except maybe for an occasional hommos). This is because they know very well associating with the other arab will not bring good news as invariably they will end up betraying the trust when convenient. As a result, they prefer to successfully associate with non-arabic people. The arabic society rewards individualism, not collective entreprises. This is why you see more individual entrepreneurship or family businesses but never modern capitalism. Of course in politics, treachery is viewed very positively. In Lebanon, all the Druzes and the majority of non-druze view Jumblatt's change of position as exemplary and with a deep sense of admiration and respect as he successfully timely betrayed Hariri. In reality, the most successful societies are based on the ability to trust each other. The best at this are the Northern European culture and the US where trust is a key value. The result is in the GDP per capita. The Israeli society displays a superior sense of trust in each other. This is because of a common past and powerful shared values. Thus lack of Trust is a key impediment to any progress in arabic societies.

From RK:
This is a big one! I fully agree. The sad part is it only applies to Arab-Arab relationships. ie, put the same Arab to deal with a non-Arab, and all of a sudden they are more diligent and trustworthy ... just not with each other as you explained so well. Agreed on all points.

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