Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Old and New

Two articles by TP's Zainab Al-Arabi on balancing the traditional and the modern:

Traditions, Customs, and Dangerous Old Ladies

Every nation has its traditions and customs; some of which should be utilized as mechanisms for positive social change and advancement. Regretfully, some of these same traditions and customs have the opposite result when enforced by certain type of old women...My father wanted to name me ‘Zenobia’, after the historic queen who reigned over a great empire in ancient Palmyra (now Tadmur, a part of modern Syria), and fought the Romans. A great historical female figure, with a strong character and a grand name.He had hopes that perhaps with the name would come the strength of character of Zenobia. Except that on that day my grandmother -his mother- happened to be there, and she was horrified at the strange and un-Libyan name

and on the other hand A Flimsy View of Progress

I was surprised to see a report in the Arabic Al-Jazeera news channel about a private Libyan company’s approach to ‘modernisation’. This company was promoting its business by holding a fashion show that – according to the company owner - proved Libya was progressing and opening up to the West. I hope that that’s only his opinion, and not of all Libyan businessmen. At a time when the state is encouraging businesses to participate in local investment and social development, there are probably a thousand ways to show the world that we are progressing other than a fashion show. Although enough to send shockwaves through most of Libyan society, I didn’t think that this was going to become a ‘norm’ just yet. But still, I couldn’t help cringing in embarrassment as I watched the models flouncing on the catwalk. Not because of the clothes they wore; not because some of the models were Libyan girls, and not because the audience included males –all very ‘un-Libyan’ goings-on....(more)

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