I am not at all surprised that Arab so-called journalists are doctoring Reuter's photographs of Beruit. There is a lot of smoke and mirrors. On the one hand they say Israel is destroying Lebanon and on the other Hizballah is defeating the Israeli Defense Forces, soundly. If Hizballah is winning and supported by the Lebanese people, who are all eager to become martyrs for the cause why are they still begging for the UN to broker a cease fire? If you were actually winning wouldn't you be willing to make sacrifices in order to complete your goals? In my many years of close contact with Arabs I became very used to them lying and exaggerating wildly Their capacity for self deception is endless. I began to realize that it was a cultural phenomenon. I am not at all surprised that they stage and doctor photographs.
My Palestinian boyfriend was one of the most amazing liars I have ever met. He came to the US on a student visa and enrolled in a Catholic college in California. He is still here illegally 25 years later. He almost never went to his classes. He would go clubbing all night and in the morning he would be too tired to get up to go to school. He would swear on his father's grave that he would go the next day, but he never did. When he received notice that he was failing his classes, he became very angry and said, "I have paid my money, they can't fail me!" He did make an effort to go to school and came back with glowing reports of his excellence in all his classes. "They have made me the captain of the soccer team!" he announced proudly. I found this quite amazing as I knew that his trips to school would be short lived. He also told me that he had gone to Kuwait to lead troops against Saddam Hussein's army. Yes, he was the leader!
My friend's Palestinian husband was the "cousin" of every famous Arab that ever lived. Now this is not so far fetched, as people whose parents are first cousins can actually have many relatives in one country. However, my friend's husband had never met the people he was claiming as his first cousins. My friend's husband was a taxi driver and had little education but he numbered among his closest relatives very famous scholars.
I became used to hearing crazy stories and wild exaggerations from my friends. It did not inspire confidence in anything they said. I began to doubt most of what they told me and I put the lying down to their embarrassment and discomfort at not being very successful in the US. I understood that they were touchy and sensitive about how they were perceived so they had to make up stories to make themselves seem more important in the eyes of Americans. This is the result of a deep cultural misunderstanding, because Americans are taught not to brag. Arabs would constantly brag about all the money they had, which is considered a sign of poor taste in America. I would have thought more of these men if they had not made up stories to impress me.
I met many Arabs with anti-American sentiments in the late 80's and early 90's. I sensed deep feelings of inferiority among most of them. There was much resentment on the part of Palestinians against the Gulf Arabs. Jealousy was rampant and fights between the two groups were common. Often when we went to a restaurant my companion would tell the owner that he could "buy" the restaurant if he wanted too. There was a lot of boasting and bragging. It seemed to be a Muslim pastime.
When Saddam's minister of information, started using the usual hyperbole to describe the fabulous performance by Saddam's army in Operation Desert Freedom, while he denied that American tanks had rolled into Bagdad, I wasn't hearing anything I hadn't already heard before. Remember, the Arab world was sure that Saddam, with the help of Allah, would defeat the Americans soundly. Now Hizballah and the Arab world are ready to claim victory at the defeat of Isreal. As usual I tend to take those claims in the same way I take most of the claims they make. I think that Sheik Nasrallah will also be asked to play in the next World Cup Soccer match, as the captain of one team or another.