Tuesday, 10 June 2008


I left Oman on September 8th 2001, just three days before the destruction of the World Trade Center. That act was committed, I believe, by desperate men who came from traditional, socially conservative societies similar to Oman. They felt that their societies and their whole way of life were under mortal threat from the forces of modernity and development, usually referred to as globalization. The main source of this they identified as the United States. They regarded Western ideas and customs as enormous dangers, like huge tidal waves threatening to engulf them and their societies. The Arabs may have willingly embraced Western weaponry, technology and gadgetry, but they are afraid of Western concepts and ideas, such as parliamentary democracy, female emancipation, pop culture, sexual liberation and our secular values. I totally condemn the actions of the 9/11 terrorists, yet at the same time, I understand the motives that drove them to commit those terrible acts.

For the Arab man in the street,globalization can seem like one-way traffic.The mass media and the internet controlled by Western corporations,impose Western cultural values on you,whether you like it or not. American culture is very much‘in your face’ – it is frequently trashy and tawdry but is imposed on you willy-nilly.You do not have to be an Arab to feel this. The Frenchman who destroyed a Mac Donald’s with a bulldozer felt exactly the same way. The local cinemas in England where I live seem to show only American action films .There is no real choice. If you fancy a night at the cinema, it‘s Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone or nothing. You rarely see British films. This can look like cultural imperialism, total cultural dominance - I ‘m sure Bin Laden would agree.

ภาพจาก Destination Oman