Thursday, October 11, 2007

While standing in a very long queue in the post office today, I noticed on display a number of software DVD's which teach languages. What caught my attention was that the Arabic one had the words on upside down behind a beaming, clean shaven and perfect toothed impression of someone they believe looks "Arabic". Funny. It was also interesting because it was the only DVD with no flag for the language. French, German, Greek all had their respective flags behind the model, but what could have been used for Arabic? For the cover designer, clearly an upside down Arabic word was the answer. The more I think of it, the more I feel my Arabism needs no flags and nationalism seems sillier and sillier.


sasa said...

Nationalism can be dangerous because of the effect on minorities within our borders. Far better to be pan-Arabists, and promote the unity of the Arab world, not to the exclusion of non-Arabs.

I agree, we do need symbols of our Arab identity. They have been destroyed by colonial fragmentation of the region. So instead, we idolise idiot leaders and fly pictures of them instead of a piece of coloured cloth.

Wassim said...

Actually Sasa, the juice of my argument was probably against any contrived symbols at all. Still, I'm just rambling :)

sasa said...

Ah, I thought I may have misunderstood it!

I don't think there's anything wrong with symbolism, unless it's blind symbolism (how many people know what the colours of the Syrian flag represent?), or unless it is fetishised (like the US flag - have you seen the US 'flag rules' - the stars and stripes is not allowed to ever touch the floor).

Wassim said...

I've heard of those ridiculous rules for the US flag, an arrogance that can only emanate from a power supremely confident in it's immortality. I guess a little symbolism can't hurt. By the way, what do the colours represent? :D

Ibn Bint Jbeil said...

check it out:


Wassim said...

Thanks IBJ! Absolutely fascinating... the first link in particular is very very good!