June 01, 2007

Propaganda Disguised As Multiculturalism

A Nurse that I knew quite well, worked in a large hospital in East Texas near the Port of Beaumont. She worked in the intermediate coronary care unit (CCU) and one day, a Saudi national who was an officer of a ship docked at the port was admitted after experiencing some coronary issues. On the night shift, the Nurse walked in to check on the patient and he demanded a cup of coffee. Knowing that he was due for tests later that morning she explained to the "gentleman" that he was NPO (nothing by mouth) because of the tests he was to have. The Saudi became very demanding, raised his hand as if to strike the Nurse and said "Bring me coffee or I beat you." I'd like to think the Nurse would have tossed him out the 3rd floor window, but knowing her, I suspect that she handled it much more professionally while thinking how much effort it would have taken to toss him out of the third floor window. The next day his doctor told him in no uncertain terms that if he ever treated a staff member like that again, he would call the authorities. End of story.

Another friend and her daughter, again in East Texas, had just returned from Saudi Arabia where she and her daughter lived with the woman's husband and he was employed by Aramco. The story was that her daughter (16 at the time) had been raped by a Saudi and the Saudi had been captured by the Saudi police in the act as it were. He was executed and the victim was sentenced to 20 lashes for "tempting" the Saudi. Before sentence could be "carried out" Some Aramco employees managed to smuggle her out of the country and home again.

So, imagine my thinking when I was sent an email with a story of a village in New Hampshire by the name of Amherst. It seems that the middle school decided to have a little cultural exposition and used the culture of Saudi Arabia as its model.

For one night, on May 9, the quaint colonial town of Amherst, New Hampshire, was transformed into a Saudi Arabian Bedouin tent community, with the help of 80 seventh-graders at the Amherst Middle School. The weather cooperated, providing 85 degree temperatures to give an authentic Saudi feel to the evening.

More than 250 guests arrived at the open tent and were welcomed with an Arabic greeting of “Marhaba” by students at a Saudi customs desk.

During the check-in, guests selected a traditional Arabic name for their name badge and completed an actual Saudi customs form, which warned in bold letters “Death for Drug Trafficking ” at the top.

Once inside, guests were encouraged to circulate among 14 different stations created by the students.

The Arabic food-tasting station offered four entrées, curried chicken, lamb, tomato chicken with cardamom, and Moroccan chicken, served with pita breads, hummus, and couscous. Fresh fruits, cardamom coffees, and spice teas were also served.

Flowing fabrics hung from the ceiling separated the family and men-only dining sections. The tables were set on large rugs and lowered so that the diners sat on the floor.

Only the seventh-grade boys were allowed to host the food stations and the Arabic dancing, as the traditions of Saudi Arabia at this time prevent women from participating in these public roles.

Dressed in traditional Arabic wear—long plaid kilts, white shirts and turbans—the boys offered food and entertained guests. The Arabic dancers enthusiastically performed to music and encouraged male visitors to join their dance.

Seventh-grade girls hosted the hijab and veil stations, where other female guests learned how to wear the required head covering and veils. An antique trunk full of black abayas worn by women, and white robes worn by the men, were available for guests to try on.

Cultural items displayed throughout the room included Arabic books, games, food, and newspapers and magazines.

An Islamic religion station included a Muslim prayer rug with a compass imbedded in it to locate Mecca, readings on the Islamic faith, call to prayer items and prayer beads.

Younger visitors gravitated to the Arabic listening station, the Arabic coloring book stations and the mural, while visitors of all ages found the slide shows of Saudi Arabia to be captivating.

The “open tent” was created to encourage participants to reach out and learn from people around the world, and to promote curiosity and cultural understanding.

The article was accompanied by a photograph of this truly charming young fellow decked out in traditional Saudi regalia and note the beatific smile on this young man's face.

7th grader.jpg

Then of course, there were some adult and adolescent females attending the festivities:

Untitled-1 copy.jpg

Now, I have lived in other countries, and visited many more from Finland to Panama, from Canada to Grand Caymen, from Jamaica to Mexico and I think it is fine to learn about other countries, other peoples, other cultures, but did the adults in Amherst really think this through? If you look above, the young man would be raised in a country where he would be taught that it is good and proper to stone homosexuals to death, where it was his right to have multiple wives, near slave-like servants and that he could beat his wife if she displeased him. The young people in the second photograph would be beaten as a matter of course for not having their heads covered, for showing ankles or wearing clothing that allowed their breasts to be "seen" and the young woman would be beaten severely and possibly raped for allowing her legs to show like that and entice the baser passions of Saudi men. I suspect none of this was explained at any of the "stations" set up by the kids.

Too, I suspect that no one attending the gala event was given some of the ... well, shall we say less civilized aspects of the Saudi culture. Things such as having a hand removed from your body forcibly for even minor theft. Such as women being required to walk behind their men and knowing that they are not allowed out of the house without a male escort.

I suspect, with a certainty that none of the "stations" mentioned that the death to drug dealers would be not by hanging, not by lethal injection, but having their heads chopped off in the public square. I'm also pretty sure that all of the gala goers wouldn't be told that they could not, by law practice their Christian (let alone Jewish) religion in Saudi Arabia and if they were Muslim, and converted to Christianity, the penalty may well be death. I bet no one told the celebrators that they would be forbidden to take a Bible into the country, or be able to visit Mecca.

I'm pretty sure, nay, I'm absolutely positive that in Amherst, New Hampshire you will not find members of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, who, when confronted with a burning school, forced the adolescent girls back in the burning building (where at least 14 girls perished). Their crime, trying to escape the fire but not being fully dressed in the hajib and veil of Saudi Arabian culture.

Yep, propaganda disguised as multiculturalism. And that is a shame, because when only part of a culture is presented, there truly can be no learning and the Saudi culture is nothing any American Citizen should want to emulate. Our own country, for example, cannot possibly be understood unless you know the full story, from the founding through slavery and the Civil War to the Jim Crow era and right up to now. Ahhh, but in Amherst, a good time was had by all.

H/T Cinnamon Stillwell

Posted by GM Roper at June 1, 2007 08:47 PM | TrackBack

Hey GM - how about this, why don't we adopt all but a few of those customs here for a year. FORCE Hillary and Pelosi (and all other women) to resign their jobs, drop out of school, and return to the home. Begin STONING of homosexuals, and punishing the rape victim for "tempting" the man. How long after living like that for a a year do you think it will take for one of the following to happen, and which will it be.

1 - the feminists of the country will thank us for not having that any more, and begin supporting America.


2 - the feminazis will find some way to blame the customs of most arabic countries (which are MUCH OLDER than America) on America, and it will still be "all our fault".

Posted by Smokey at June 2, 2007 01:39 AM

Only the seventh-grade boys were allowed to host the food stations and the Arabic dancing, as the traditions of Saudi Arabia at this time prevent women from participating in these public roles.

Where are the objecting feminists on this story?

The Arabic dancers enthusiastically performed to music and encouraged male visitors to join their dance.

Sword dance miming the cutting off the heads of infidels?

This "mutlicultural" event was indeed propaganda, training this young generation to ignore what Saudi really stands for. The story about the nurse being commanded in such a way is the REAL Saudi!

Posted by Always On Watch at June 2, 2007 05:27 AM

Thirty years ago, when most of us were ignorant of many truths about Middle Eastern culture, or Islamic culture, and we looked more at the Middle East as "mysterious" and "exotic", this would never have raised an eyebrow. However, with what most of us know now, this should be seen as one of the most egregious displays of propaganda and ommission of facts I've come across in a while.

What surprises me is that a middle school hosted such a fully immersed display. This must have cost a small fortune. Did my tax dollars pay for that?

Posted by Oyster at June 2, 2007 06:04 AM

We have had many of the same types of events in Oregon, and what's strange is that the feminists (if such you could call them) give them a stamp of approval. Apparently, as long as it's not being carried out by white, Christian, and/or conservative American men, and is being done in the name of multiculturalism, it's fine by them.

As to the young girls and women? They wouldn't necessarily have been beaten for not being properly covered; they would just as likely have been raped for it. (See countless news stories throughout Euro newspapers of EUROPEAN women in their own countries getting that treatment from Arab males - and still no one stands up and cries foul.)

As to slaves, it was only Christianity that wiped out the slave trade. And though they say it's abolished, the Saudi's and many other Muslims still practise it through their guest worker programs, wherein the "sponsor" confiscates all of the incoming workers documentation upon arrival, and said worker has to work until the "sponsor" decides they've completed their term. (Also note several recent stories in the news over the last two years wherein Saudi or Muslim families have been caught and charged for slavery practised upon their "house servants", some of whom were even smuggled illegally into the U.S. in shipping crates!) When I lived in Kuwait, just before I left, in the more elite social circle I moved in (there were several of various social standing --or reclining, as the case may be!) the big scandal at the time was that a prominent banker's son had been caught in flagrante delicto in the boy's bathroom of his school engaged in an illicit act with another boy. "Thankfully" for his family's reputation he was the dominant member of the act, but the boy's father was furious at the embarrassment this would cause the family, and the kicker, or punchline to the story as it was told me was the father insisting that if the boy had urges, that's what the Philippino maids or gardeners at home were for. The ladies who were relating this story were mocking of the boy because, of course, the father was right. So even among the women, this view was seen as alright. And it's taught down to the children. And that's what we're up against. How do you counter this?

Posted by katje at June 2, 2007 06:28 AM

Ironically, an event such as this couldn't occur in the culture they pretend to display. As usual, they only show the romanticized view, ignoring the very harsh realities. While some of the food is tasty, none of these people would tolerate the real Arabic, Muslim culture.

Plus, they need to move further south, maybe to Texas, so they don't think 85 degrees is hot. 85 is a break in a heat wave below the Mason Dixon line.

Posted by DADvocate at June 2, 2007 11:09 AM

I don't actually have much problem with showing the romanticized view of a culture to 7th-graders. Katje, however, hits on the sticking point: there are other cultures which would not be romanticized in this way. Well, not without attracting a lot of fuss, anyway.

Also, I give credit that they did illustrate the different male and female roles. Even if no adult said a word in disapproval, the point would not be lost on American 13 y/o females.

Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at June 4, 2007 08:55 PM

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