By Nicole Hennessy
The Middle East is complicated in so many ways that it is often difficult to understand its culture, let alone understand how the region’s countries react to certain situations. With news stories mostly based on violence, that’s all people really get to see of the region. A good example is the recent rioting after an anti-Islam film crept out of the crevices of American society. Some questioned the legitimacy of the film, speculating that it never existed, and even the circumstances of the rioting.
As the reports kept coming in, one commenter on a popular radio program made a very interesting point that puts into perspective how complicated the situation in the Middle East can be. He said that a lot of the people who live there have no concept of a free market producing this kind of film. So to them, it’s ultimately the American government that is responsible. He was attempting to explain how the violence erupted so drastically.
Out of all of this, the broader question, and our question of the week (in partnership with The Civic Commons), remains, “What should be our Middle East policy?”
A familiar face in the Westshore area, Dennis Kucinich, answered, “The Middle East is an extremely diverse region, with people of many different ethnic backgrounds, faiths and languages. The United States cannot apply a blanket policy toward the region – it must take into account our history with each country and take into account the diversity that each country holds. The so-called ‘Arab Spring’ provided the United States with a unique opportunity to reimagine its relationship with the region – to unite with our brothers and sisters in the region to create a more peaceful existence. We have the opportunity to build and grow humanity to new levels. Unfortunately, in many cases, we failed to use the opportunity well. United States’ policy toward the region must break with the past by genuinely supporting the histories and democratic aspirations of the people, and by allowing the people to shape their own domestic policies.”