kottke.org posts about middleeast

The case for Arab democracy

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 28, 2009

The governments of the Arab world have failed to make their people free, rich, and safe.

As the decades roll by the excuses wear thin. Islam has not prevented democracy from taking root in the Muslim countries of Asia. Even after its recent flawed election, Iran, a supposed theocracy, shows greater democratic vitality than most Arab countries. As for outside intrusion, some of the more robust Arab elections of recent years have been held by Palestinians, under Israeli occupation, and by Iraqis after America’s invasion. When they are given a chance to take part in genuine elections — as, lately, the Lebanese were — Arabs have no difficulty understanding what is at stake and they turn out to vote in large numbers. By and large it is their own leaders who have chosen to prevent, rig or disregard elections, for fear that if Arabs had a say most would vote to throw the rascals out.

A short list of What Every American

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 01, 2008

A short list of What Every American Should Know About the Middle East.

Arabs are part of an ethnic group, not a religion. Arabs were around long before Islam, and there have been (and still are) Arab Christians and Arab Jews. In general, you’re an Arab if you 1) are of Arab descent (blood), or 2) speak the main Arab language (Arabic).

A companion list of what every resident of the Middle East should know about the US might also be helpful. (via chris glass)

Map of the world where the size

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 21, 2007

Map of the world where the size of the countries correspond to how much oil they have. On this map, the Middle East is just The Middle.

Proposal for a new map of the

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 02, 2006

Proposal for a new map of the Middle East that cuts along cultural/religious boundaries rather than current national boundaries. Here’s the accompanying article.