Sunday, February 10, 2008

Random Observation while Reading "Arabian Sands"

Currently, I am reading the travel book Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger. I barely made it past 2 of the preface and thought "this author sounds like one interesting man and this book is already excellent". The book is a reount of his travels across the "Empty Quarter" on the Arabian Peninsula. It is extremely interesting, and the author has that British knack for telling a story with wit and a wonderful sense of time. Throughout the book, which was written a while after the actual events, you get the feeling of lost innocence or a lifestyle that is watching the sands slipping through the hourglass. It is quite beautiful to read, and I will probably buy this author's other travel books.

My observation is in how this does relate to the current state of affairs in the Middle East and the 'war on terror'. The author notes how the Middle East has advanced from 1946 to 1970 (let alone the last 25 years after this reprint) is akin to the British Isles advance between the Middle Ages and present day. To go through such a rapid advancement due to sudden oil wealth in such a short period might cause some cultural, social, and economic problems. It's something I wish that our leaders would read and absorb. The 'other' side was living a dark ages lifstyle until recently... and some of their members still do.

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