Friday, June 20, 2008
More Cultural Tidbits
Here’s a little stumbling block westerners have when trying to work within the Arab culture; Arabs lie. At first I thought that was a terribly racist observation until someone pointed out that it’s in the Qur’an. Muslims, not only have permission, but rather have a duty to lie to non-believers; it’s called, “taqiyya”. Wrap your head around that little tidbit.
When talking to the throngs of Iraqis and other Arabs that we have working for us it’s all but impossible to get a straight, reliable answer to your question. At a minimum you will receive a gross exaggeration, but more likely you will be told a bold-faced lie with no remorse or compunction whatsoever. You will get whatever story, exaggeration, lie or fabrication which will save the most face and honor with the person you are speaking with.
Here’s another favorite of mine; "honor killing". True story as reported by a Jordanian newspaper (see above). Young Muslim wife is married to her husband who is “pimping her out” to his friends to perform sexual acts for them. The wife can’t take it anymore and runs home to her father. The father, injured by the insult that his daughter left her husband, is therefore forced to murder his own daughter to restore his honor. He does so by wrapping her in bare copper wire and plugging it into the household outlet and walking away for 15 minutes.
My final favorite, and another true story, "blood money". A man owns a motorcycle and sells it in good faith to his friend. The friend promptly goes out and kills himself on the motorcycle because he’s never even ridden one before, Inshala. The tribe of the dead motorcyclist then demands some thousands of dollars from the man who sold him the bike simply because if he never sold his friend the motorcycle the friend would still be alive. Failure to pay the blood money results in the tribe killing the man in order to restore its collective honor.