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Friday, July 31, 2015

THE CEPHALOPOD COFFEEHOUSE: ARAB VOICES BY JAMES ZOGBY

I borrowed this idea from Janie Junebug's WOMEN: WE SHALL OVERCOME. Apparently each month The Armchair Squid holds a coffeehouse each month. Since I finished reading a book and the Cephalapod Coffeehouse title interested me, I am joining in on this month's coffehouse.

Title: Arab Voices
Author: James Zogby

I will admit, I love reading non-fiction. Although non-fiction takes more time to read than fiction (for me at least), I still love reading the genre. I'm more of a travel and sociology non-fiction gal, but when Claire suggested this political and economic book about the Arab World and Western World meshing together, I checked it out. I'm into that subject and I was excited to read this.

James Zogsby is an American born Arab. He heads Zogby International and does a lot for Arab/US relations. The book was mostly about how the US and even Europe and Canada fail to listen to Arab voices. The US is especially guilty of taking Israel's side and playing interrogator. However, Israel/Palestine isn't the only failure of the US not understanding Arabs, but even when we entered Iraq and everything we've done in the Middle East. Zogby argues that like our British counterparts after World War I, we don't want to get involved in cultures, we just assign different roles from our ignorance. A lot of policy has failed because we aren't fully aware of Arab culture or language. It's really complicated to get into without the book near me (I had to return the book today), but I would recommend this political, cultural, and economic introspection of how we handle things and what we can do better as a society: what the West and the Arab world can do together to improve collective society.

I like the last chapter the most where Zogby says politicians and the common citizen should be like how his father was. His father owned a peach stand and when one customer was bruising the peaches, the father didn't get angry. He instead brought it to the attention of the woman and gave the woman the peaches for half price. The father understood how to treat people and how to have open dialog. Zogsby argues that politicians should be like that to an extent. Zogby ends Arab Voices perfectly; "the bottom line is this: Listen to Arab voices, and hear what they are saying, not just what the pundits are thinking. Engage in whatever ways you can with this often troubled region of the world. An enlightened and aware public that better understands the Arab World can not only help change the ways that Arabs see us, but can also transform the way Western governments relate to the Arab World."

This book really opened my eyes a bit more. I'd definitely recommend!

13 comments:

  1. I am glad to have given you a good recommendation, then :3 There are a few books on this subject - this was the most recent one I had.

    In general, I find fiction takes forever for me x_X trying to untangle the intricacies of how character a relates to character b, how planet g rotates in comparison with planet h... maybe it's the kind of fiction I prefer.

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    1. What are some other titles you'd recommend on the subject? :3

      Some fiction is like that for me. "The Golem and the Jinni," a book I had to read for a book discussion group was like that for me and it was fiction. However, I find trade paperbacks very easy to get through. Not intricate enough - it's for a short read.

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  2. Sounds like a great book. Listening to each other sounds like a great first step.

    Thanks for joining us this month, Jessica! I hope you will consider doing so again.

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    1. I definitely will! I love reading and love discussing books! I'm glad I follow Janie Junebug and she linked to your blog. :)

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    2. Janie's one of my favorites. Glad you found us.

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    3. One of mine too. :) I'm glad I did too. Octupi and squids are a few of my favorite creatures - when I saw Janie's blog, I had to check it out!

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    4. Excellent. Glad to see you've signed on for August, too.

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  3. Interesting book selection. Talking is good but listing is better.
    We both chose book close to each other. but I think coming to the same conclusion.
    My book selection is based on the British, German and Muslim mash up
    before and after WW1.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Ohhh! I'll have to check out your entry. I love reading books about these topics. I took two years of Arabic in college and I love learning about that part of the world. I also took two years of German as well and always have been interested in German history as well. It's a strange mash up at times. :)

      Cheers, Jessica

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  4. I don't read non-fiction very often but from your review maybe I should read this type of book more often.

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    1. I'd recommend it. It's a slow read, at least it was for me, but the information was important and the way Zogby wrote the book: it was really good.

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  5. Ah yes, I remember Zogby polls. I remember seeing James Zogby on The Daily Show just before Bush was re-elected.

    (Something tells me I might have mentioned this before - sorry if I have!)

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    1. I would recommend this book. I was stunned with some of the things I've learned. I mean I've known a lot of people were suspicious of Arab people, but I never realized how violent people could get with their hatred. :O It's sad.

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