Monday, January 15, 2007

Conversations with a Consul

Partly because I wanted to stay longer, and in part to play it safe, I am staying in Ankara for the rest of the week to pick up some visas before I move on. If you ever get the chance to talk for a while with a consul I recommend it because you can learn all sorts of interesting things and laugh while they bash the country they are stuck in. It happened before with the Tajik consul in Islamabad and I just had a 2 hr conversation over tea with the Jordanian consul here in Ankara. Super nice guy and very interesting to hear his take on the state of world affairs. I'll try to summarize some of his more interesting comments for you guys.
The west thinks only with it's stomach and muscles and no longer with its heart and mind (as the Arabs do), thus reducing themselves to a more primitive and animalistic moral state. Turkey is pretty much the definition of Islamic sin and far to eager to fall into the western mentality. (I'd have to agree on that point, by Islam's rules these guys are all on their way to hell. As a side note I just want to say that Turkey is not the Islamic danger that Europe thinks it is and I don't think it would actually impact the EU all that much if it joined. I think it is just racial paranoia keeping them out at this point.) He also believes that they (Arabic muslims) are the best religious people in the world simply because their ancestors had to sift through all the different religions that came through or started there and picked the best one. We, on the other hand, only ever look at the religion that made it to our end of the world and don't know any better. (On this I am tempted to agree that we should spend more time studying other faiths because how can you really know what you believe if you never had a choice?)
He was very obviously pro-Arab too which means that his #1 enemy is actually the Persians (Iran). As his argument goes, when Islam showed up and united the Arabs, they were nothing and the Persians, as always, were a regional superpower. Within about 20 years, the Arabs somehow managed to conquer Persia, which apparently the Persians have never been fully able to accept. So what the Persians did was try to regain superiority over everyone by controlling the religion. That is what really brought the Shiite version of Islam into becoming such a strong subgroup. It only constitutes ~10% of the world Islamic population and is only the majority in Iran and Iraq. Thus, Saddam Hussein was a good Sunni, protecting the Arabs by attacking Iran and now the US is shooting itself in the foot because as much as they hate Iran, they are actually helping it in its designs to take over the middle east again by giving it power to the Shiites in Iraq. (Hezbollah is Shiite and Iran backed as well.) That is what scares him the most. He doesn't worry about the US in the long run because: 1. The "heroic" insurgents will manage to wipe out the troops eventually (this might get a little hard to continually hear with Sky currently over there so be prepared mom) and 2. The US will never permanently move in and accupy with 50 million people like the Iranians could and want to do.
In response to questions about Israel (Jordan is at peace with them officially), he says he doesn't care. All the religions can live together and often have but they should have just become Palestinian citizens and not stolen the land. All the recent millions of jews not of middle eastern descent can go back to Russia, Uk, US, etc or take their chances in Palestine too. Either way, Israel will never take over the middle east because that is not its purpose so they are not a real threat. Beware the day that they can't defend themselves with US support though.....
On another note, on this trip so far I have personally seen more theft and pickpocketing here in Turkey than anywhere else. The other day Inanc, Andre and I spotted some pickpockets at work and tried to distract them but ended up having to run away when they started chasing us with a knife. These people are crazy and can get aggressive quite quickly. Whatever you do, don't insult their mothers, even in jest. I also want to change my mind about the costs. Outside of Istanbul, entry for toursist sites and bus transportation, it isn't too expensive here. Somehow the cost of petrol is over $2/litre. Seems pretty mean when oil is surrounding them everywhere.....
Ammon

1 Comments:

At 11:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow!... what an interesting take on stuff... wish George W could read it! Cool!

 

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