Tidbits of Arabic News translated into English

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Arab-American Take on the Arab News

Riding around Dearborn, we remembered to search the radio and find the local Arabic station. An Iraqi lady, who moderated the program in her strongly Iraqi-tinted Arabic, was hostess of the evening for a broadcast called: 'Broadcast of the Evening' (translated from Arabic).

They were talking about Da-esh (ISIS). So in other words, we were getting the Arab-American take on the Arab news, but not in English. This was the evening that Palmyra in Syria fell to Da-esh, the same evening that Ramadi in Iraq was taken, too.

The hostess had posed a question for discussion: would you, as an expat Iraqi, ever go back there to help build the country?

A man had called in and he was saying: Yes, people will go back to Iraq. Now, I'm not saying that this will happen while the country is a hellhole, or while you have a large chance of being killed, but I'm saying if there was safety, and prosperity, and jobs and opportunities, then of course people will go back. 

Later on, another caller declared that he would not ever being going back to Iraq, ever. And when the hostess told him, 'well, of course don't go now, but if it was safe to go?' he still could not seem to consider the proposition in any conscience. 

Most of the people, though, did not answer the hostess' question. Instead, they just kept saying things like: 

Iraq was not always like this! Iraq was once full of civilization! Just a few decades back, the country was so beautiful!

And the hostess would tell them back: May God bless you! May God bless you! May God bless you!

And then everyone's comments usually ended with, 'pray for Iraq. Just pray for Iraq'. 

The hostess would then say: Yes, we will pray for Iraq, and may God give you health!

Then, a Yemeni man called in to share his good wishes: I pray for peace and prosperity for all my Iraqi brothers, and for an end to this nightmare. 

And then later on, when an Iraqi called in, he said: I wanted to extend my thanks to the Yemeni man, we really appreciate his wishes. 

Some people called in and I think they'd say something sectarian, something Sunni-Shia like, something about who's to blame for all this mess. Then the hostess would chide them: I don't want to get into that! That is not the discussion theme we're having today!

Finally, a man called in and tried to unify everyone: You know, we need to set aside our differences. We need to remember, it doesn't matter if we're Iraqi, Yemeni, Lebanese, Black, Asian, Mexican, Chinese, Indian ... we're all just Arab!

We think he meant to say, 'we're all people!' But we're not sure.

And the hostess, without missing a bat, just told him: 'May God bless you!' She did not try to explain that the Chinese are definitely not Arab.

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