The Corner

The Arab World: Interesting Email

I’m getting a lot of these sorts of things in response to yesterday’s G-File:


As an Army reservist, I have been trained at some length about the Middle East — probably a total of 60 hours of classes in all. What I’ve heard from numerous experts essentially agrees with your column about how superstition and ignorance are rampant in the Arab world.

One particular comment stays with me, this from an American woman who is fluent in Arabic and has spent much of her life in different Arab countries. She told us that a typical American high school graduate has probably learned enough first aid to be considered at least a nurse if not a physician by many Arabs “on the street”.

She also told us that the germ theory of disease — one of the bedrocks of modern medicine, I think it’s fair to say — is widely disbelieved among Arabs. “If God wants me to get sick, I will get sick. ” is their idea.

If you refuse to believe in germs, then a magic rock that can ward off bullets is not such a stretch….

[Name withheld]


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