Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Stereotypes incorporated*

Presumably most people have seen this article in The Washington Post by now as it’s been doing the rounds on Twitter**.

I’m not going to spend too much time on this as it would be giving it more importance than it deserves. In short, it’s a heavily biased, highly unsubstantiated rant about Dubai using a fair amount of stereotypes and a big dollop of crass commentary. It’s not even original as the author confesses to have never been to Dubai and is relying on anecdotal evidence and recycled content.

It did get me thinking about all the funny things I’ve heard about the Middle East by, for the most part, well meaning individuals. So, I’ve decided to compile a list of my top 5 favourite ‘Arabisms’ (not sure if this is really the right word). I’m sure loads of people will have excellent ones as well so feel free to share.

5. “Did you know there are no hip operations in the Middle East because people spend so much of their time squatting?” no I didn’t actually, but I’ll let my uncle who needs a hip replacement know that it’s all in his head

4. “So Sara, this must be really new for you.... Snow” ummmmm not really... I am, in fact, FROM EARTH

3. “McDonalds is a chain of restaurants – they sell burgers” burger this mmkay?

2. ”I thought Arab women were meant to be chained to trees somewhere” ok, granted this was about ten years ago but still relevant!

1. “I would die if I thought you were correcting my English, I mean... You’re a foreignor!” ‘nuff said...

And one more just because I can’t resist it

“But I thought Arabs didn’t like Muslims” great big sigh.....

* I've borrowed this title from a song of the same name by Iraqi band Euphrates. They're great... I recommend looking them up

** for those of you not yet on Twitter – WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!?!?! Get your butts on this bandwagon dudes


  1. That last one has got to be my favourite. You exotic creature, you!

  2. foreignor

    Err. Foreigner.


  3. I believe it was you who said 'Sometimes, you just gotta let things go' ... =)

    As a Englishman with a Chinese face growing up in Australia, I sympathise.

    I once had a lady from the country ask me what life was like in my homeland (meaning China). I told her the weekend that I'd spent there was great, if a little smoggy.

    Ignorance is bliss (or at least sometimes highly amusing)

  4. ah Neecholass... what an intriguing concoction of fabulous things you are...

    Apparently I go hang out at my 'local muslim church' :D that's gotta be worth some points

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