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Eyes from the Mediterranean 2: The Med and the Middle and Near East

Hearing the name of Amman, the capital city of Jordan, most of Japanese may simply imagine that men wear white folk dresses and women wear black folk dresses covering their faces with black veils.

People living in the provincial towns and villages are of course conservative comparatively, however especially being limited to Amman, most of people’s fashions, both men and women, are of modern Western style. In particular young ladies, in summer, walk around all over the city wearing a navel-exposed T shirt and close-fitting jeans, showing off themselves.
Of course there are not a few ladies who wear comparatively mild dresses covering white veils smartly.
Male vacationers from the ultra-conservative Arabian Peninsula may look forward to seeing young ladies in Amman, I sometimes suspect so.

 

Both in Jordan and Amman more than 90% of people are Muslim and everybody speaks in the vernacular Arabic, however their feelings, more than the half, are the ones of the Mediterranean.
Traditional Jordanian cuisines use a lot of olive oil and the streets are lined with Italian restaurants, Greek restaurants and Lebanese restaurants which are boastful of their sea food cuisines with the Mediterranean products, why not the local wine drinks very well!

It was only in the 7th century when Islam and Arab began sweeping this land and the time passed only for 1300 years yet.
Compared with the above, Filantine, Palestinian today, came to this land over the Mediterranean more than 3000 years ago but they are sometimes said that they had immigrated into this land comparatively newly.

When we try to grasp the culture of the Middle and Near East, especially of the Arabic countries such as Syria and Lebanon facing the Mediterranean or Jordan and Palestine near the Mediterranean, we will get into a biased valuation unless we observe their historical transitions from the view point of not only the land but also the sea, the Mediterranean.

In spite of our professing that Japan is a seafaring nation surrounded by sea, the most serious lack is the standing point that re-grasps or re-edits the history of Japan as well as the world from the view point of the sea. If we still continue to edit and teach history dividing the world with land or continent units such as Japan, Asia, Europe, Africa and America, a really global world view i.e. a conception that the earth is global, will never be formed among Japanese especially in the younger generation.

The Internet is of the globality from a point to a point.
Make a line by connecting a point with a point and make a plane widening a line, that is the globality which tends to cover the whole earth is the world, and only after standing on this globality we can depict a vision of world peace and furthermore establish a mechanism for achieving it.

I recommend you to try, once, to make a copy of a map of the whole Mediterranean and color the Mediterranean with some marker.
You can instantly and clearly understand that France and Algeria, Italy and Tunisia, Italia and Balkan Countries, they face each other, Lebanon, Syria, Turk, Greece and Egypt become one making a deep basin, Venice is located at the remote end of the Mediterranean World. A simple question, but why Venice at the remote spot could lead the hegemony of the Mediterranean?

At the period of the Crusade, the Frankish Invasion, Friedrich II, the emperor of the German Empire was based in the Sicily Island, partly because his mother was Sicilian and the Island was one of the centers blessed with the Arabic wisdom, and played an important role in solving the war by promoting a friendship with Salaf ad-Deen, a brave general of the Arab Army, and his son, Napoleon was said to be exiled to the Corsica Island, his birthplace, however that Corsica Island was located at a geopolitically strategic point in the Mediterranean.

Only through the figure that the Middle and Near East = the Islamic Sphere = all are the Arab World, it is utterly impossible to grasp the history as well as the culture of the Middle and Near East either comprehensively or concretely, it even embraces a risk to cause fatal misunderstanding.

Everybody agrees that Arabian ladies have top class beauty in the world and their style is outstanding. At an opened and smart cafe´, being lit in the long summer sunlight and looking at their joyful and cheerful chatting with their girlfriends or boyfriends, of course enjoying a glass of local wine, I realize it keenly that ah the wind from the Mediterranean is skimming along!

An airplane from Europe to Amman begins descending around over the Cyprus Island, flies below an attitude of 3000 meters around over Tel Aviv, the biggest city in Israel facing the Mediterranean, and continues its descending skimming over Jerusalem and soon lands the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman.

(26/7/2005)
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