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P. 116

TIPS FOR DEALING AND SOCIALIZING WITH FOREIGNERS , By Maximillien de Lafayette

CAN WE GENERALIZE SOCIAL BEHAVIOR AND ATTRIBUTES OF NATIONS AND PEOPLE?

 

Can we generalize and stigmatize particular ethnic characteristics of a nation or a “people” to define what distinguished their ethnicity from other groups and social structures?

In other words, would it be fair and intelligent to represent, describe and depict people, societies and countries according to suspicions, common beliefs and stereotyped clichés? Honestly, NO! However,  political experiences and history taught us, that, to a certain degree of social veracity and historical accuracy, some aspects, facets, way of life, traditions, culture and social  characteristics, including behavior (individually or globally) could be adhered to the description of the nature and psyche of a nation and particular ethnic groups.

A world-traveler and a student of mass psychology and sociopolitical sciences would consider and view various nations and their nationals quite differently from those who have never left their  homeland, read about people and nations in comparative history or effectuated transactions with foreigners.

 

ON ITALIANS: It is widely believed that Italians love Opera, pasta, the Pope, Sophia Loren, Dante, their vespa, and from time to time whistling at a beautiful ragazza in the street.

 

ON FRENCH: French are known for their café-trottoirs,  arrogant intellectualism, the “UN je ne sais quoi”,  their academic rhetoric, their passion for pate, foies gras, escargots, truffles, Victor Hugo’s poems, Napoleon phantasmagoric military campaigns and victories, and intelligent dialogues in vintage motion pictures. Also, they could be known for their disdain of American culture, constantly wearing blue jeans and snickers.

ON JAPANESE: Japanese are believed to be extremely disciplined, traditional, deeply influenced by the code of Bushido and Budo, their reverence for their ancestors, their mastery of Sado, tea ceremony, their delightful Zen Buddhist calligraphy, flowers arrangements, the code of honor and chivalry of their Samurais,  and their conceptual invention of the Geisha. To many observers, Japanese appear to be, the perfect “copiers” of American products and inventions.

ON GREEKS: Europeans who worked and lived with Greeks have tendency to believe that the Greeks are fun people. They  enjoy music, particularly their Bouzoukis, they adore dancing and especially their Sirtaki, and they are convinced that Marinella is the best singer in the world, and Xhatjidakhis is the world’s best composer. However, many Europeans believe that the Greeks were born with a “laisser aller,” a nonchalant flair and attitude. They are a great company if you are throwing a party till 5:00, but they are not serious enough to “seriously” take into consideration contracts they signed and deals they promise to complete.

ON ARABS: I have to catch my breath.  More accurately, I have to breath, pause and breath again, each time I am compelled to write about the Arabs. I lived and worked with them for over 15 years, in the Middle East, Near East, Europe and the United States. Even, I wrote books and bursting articles about the Arabs, their religion and fascinating history. I know the Arabs extremely very well. And every time, I dissert on their culture and political ideologies, avalanches of juxtaposed  ideas, mixed feelings and a sense of reluctant fear invade my being and my mind. Contrary to a global and common belief, Arabs are not the “same Arabs” you find anywhere and everywhere.

An Arab from Alexandria, or Al Saeed in   Egypt  thinks and lives very differently from an Arab or a Christian Arab from Byblos, Jounieh or Acharafiye in Lebanon. A Bedouin in the Arab Peninsula believes that the Saudi Royal Family's power and reign were given by Allah  to Al Saoud dynasty. While, educated Arabs in Tunisia and Lebanon are fully convinced that Allah had nothing to do with the throne of Al Saoud family. A modern young Muslim  in Beirut, who loves European culture, watches French movies and “starves” for  dating a  Christian girl, would nor hesitate a second to change his Arabic Muslim name into an Europeanized or Americanized names. For instance, “ADNAN” become “DANY”, and “RASHED” becomes “ROY”, “REDWAN” become “EDDY”, and “YOUSSEF” becomes “JOE”. I saw with my own eyes, modern young Muslims in Al Hamra, Beirut, wearing crosses and icons of Saint Therese instead of their “MISHAF” (Book cover of the Quran”, just to convey the message that they are not Muslims, thus, facilitating their  strategic  dating maneuvers  to “catch” a Christian Lebanese woman.

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