Beruit To Jerusalem The ongoing problems of the Middle East are complex and difficult to understand. In Beirut to Jerusalem Thomas Friedman uses the different tools to assess the state of affairs in the Middle East. Friedman uses the social sciences to analysis the situation that he observed when he was in Beirut writing for The New York Times. Being that Friedman is Jewish I rode off the book as a one-sided view of the happenings in the Middle East. What I found was quite the opposite; Friedman took a neutral position. Analyzing the situation in the Middle East is by no means an easy thing.There have of course been situations like this in other parts of the world in other times but none have been as complex as this one.
Here is a group of people who live in the same region of the world but have so many different religions and cultures that create many conflicts, making it nearly impossible for them to get along. Friedman takes the social sciences of history, geography, sociology/anthropology, psychology and economy to better understand the condition of the Middle East. In the book, Friedman uses history to give us a background of what the situation in Beirut has been so that we better understand what is going on now.
His use of biographical information on the persons that make up the historical points helps us to see the differences in culture and religion that started the conflict in the first place.Friedman utilizes these stories, at the same time, to remind us that we are dealing with human lives not just a death count. An example of these humanistic stories is the story of Friedman’s apartment and his friend Mohammed’s family.
The story of the Mohammed’s family and the ugly death they all received gives a human point of view that a lot of times the media does not portray. The media focus on the actions of this country bombing this country but never on the human side of the story. Actual people are losing family members.We hear the media report about the bombing one day but the next day something new happens and the prior day’s bombing is forgotten, but it is not forgotten to those who lost a loved one in the tragic bombing.
In order to understand the complexity of the problem as a whole, we must first understand what role each character plays. Friedman makes sure we understand where each character is coming from and what his or her ideology is toward the situation in the Middle East. Friedman’s biographical assessments of different leaders such as Yasir Arafat and Ariel Sharon give us a better perceptive of the main underlying reasons for the struggle. Arafat, the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, had a very distinctive appeal about him. While he was neither physically attractive nor dashing in anyway, he had an appeal to the Palestinians that was not typical with everyday statesmen.
Arafat can credit his political success to his great accomplishment and that is guiding the Palestinians “out of the deserts of obscurity into the land of “prime time.”” Arafat was a statesman for the people, he knows what the people are going through and he uses that down-to-earth quality to relate to the Palestinian people and gain their trust and support. On the other hand there is Ariel Sharon, a man that didn’t play with the enemy. The former Israeli general didn’t play any games at all. The European Jews had a merciless endurance to get what they felt they rightfully deserved. Sharon had the ruthlessness that the European Zionists felt necessary to get what they deeply felt they were entitled to.We have talked about the conflict in the Middle East but we haven’t discussed what the conflict is exactly. Religion seems to be the primary source of tension.
Before reading Beirut to Jerusalem my only source of information to the situation in the Middle East was the media and even though Friedman is a journalist, the book gave me a better comprehension of the condition of Lebanon. The news tells us that it is a religious conflict over what is consider the Holy Land, but as we read can see the Muslims, Jews and Christians seem to change sides regardless of their beliefs. Therefore, there must be a factor other then religion that influences their actions. As I stated before the issue of land is fiercely debated between them all.The Jewish of course want to regain the land of their ancestors and with it their historical and religious origins. The Muslims and Christians have similar claims and they are all very passionate about the land. The big issue with between the Palestinians and the Jewish is that they feel that without Israel they cannot afford for their people somewhere to set up their ancestry.
The Jews and Palestinians believe that without the land of Israel they lose their sense of identity. The Palestinians hold the claim that they were there first and felt that they had to remain there or lose their own sense of identity. The Jewish people find the fact that the Palestinians exist on the land a harsh reality because it is “the Jewish people’s God-given right to the land of Israel from the Mediterranean to the Jordan.” The conflict in the Middle East is so complicated that it doesn’t just encompass geography and history; it also embraces issues such as sociology/anthropology, psychology and economics.
Take the sociological aspect of the situation; not only are there many dissimilar religious ideologies but there are also so many different customs and cultural diversities that divided the people. Therefore each character that is involved in the conflict is looking to provide their people with a form of security by attaining land but each one has a set of rules they go by. Friedman believes that the politics in the Middle East consist of three different political traditions known as Hama Rules. The first is the tradition tribe-like politics. To understand tribalism we must first understand that the people of the Middle East have a “life in the desert” way of living, …