JAMES ZOGBY ARAB VOICES PDF

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In Iraq, the United States Army often lacked the Arabic translators desperately needed to decipher documents captured from insurgents who were planting hidden explosive devices that killed and maimed American soldiers by the hundreds. In New York City, the opening of a charter school where pupils might master the intricacies of Arabic was all but thwarted by vociferous critics, many of them vocal supporters of Israel, who made it sound as if a terrorist training camp was opening in Brooklyn.

The book can make for dry reading. But as Zogby suggests, demonizing the very people, culture and religion that the United States hopes to influence and change — rather than really studying what the Arab world says and thinks — is not a terribly smart approach. In the last few months, of course, the United States was gripped by the twin news stories of a marginal Florida preacher threatening to put a torch to Korans and of the fight over whether Muslims should be allowed to construct a cultural center, including a mosque, near ground zero in Lower Manhattan.

Calmer heads made the point that American soldiers serving abroad in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention other Americans with interests across the Muslim world, suffer the fallout from incidents like these. Zogby opinion polls point to important contributions that Americans could make in winning Arab support. Finding a fair solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute invariably tops the list, but improving education, employment and health care in the Arab world also matter.

Yet instead of analyzing its policy failures, Zogby says, Washington ignores them or just shouts louder. A particularly worrisome gap concerns the Arabic language. As a longtime correspondent in the Middle East, I was often struck by the fact that ambassadors from China and Russia, as well as Britain, often spoke beautiful, classical Arabic.

American envoys rarely could. Zogby points out that there are as many undergraduates studying ancient Greek as there are studying Arabic, and a recent Government Accountability Office study reported that more than 33 percent of federal employees who were supposed to use Arabic in their diplomatic work were unable to speak the language at the required level. Beyond communication, the larger problem, as Zogby sees it, is that Americans are mired in five sometimes contradictory myths about the Arab world: that all Arabs are the same; that there is no Arab world; that all Arabs are angry; that the prism of Islam dominates their world view; and that they are imprisoned between past and present.

Each of these myths gets a chapter in the book. Born in upstate New York to Lebanese Christian immigrant parents, Zogby has long been part of the Washington firmament. Yet among the more interesting poll results he cites are that Americans overall want to steer a middle course in the Arab-Israeli dispute and that Jewish and Arab Americans view a negotiated peace along similar lines.

The widening reach of the secret police in Jordan does not help the image of King Abdullah as a friend of the United States. The fact that he interviewed two Tunisian students with affiliations to the Muslim Brotherhood while they watched a bawdy Italian television game show is rather facile evidence that religious fundamentalists can be open minded.

To succeed in the Middle East, the United States needs to listen more to actual Arab voices, and not let preconceived myths about the Muslim world dictate policy.

Book Review Failure to Communicate. Home Page World U.

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Failure to Communicate

By James Zogby. The Arab World is a region that has been vastly misunderstood in the West. Arab Voices asks the questions, collects the answers, and shares the results that will help us see Arabs clearly. The book will bring into stark relief the myths, assumptions, and biases that hold us back from understanding this important people. Here, James Zogby debuts a brand new, comprehensive poll, bringing numbers to life so that we can base policy and perception on the real world, rather than on a conjured reality. Based on a new poll run by Zogby International exclusively for this book, some of the surprising results revealed include:. And over one-third of Lebanese, Saudis, and Jordanians think that their governments should do more to advance peace.

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Arab Voices: What They Are Saying to Us, and Why it Matters

James Zogby says Americans are losing our lives in a part of the world we don't understand. Just as Americans have invested more money and more soldiers in the Middle East, he says we're closing our ears and our minds to what Arabs think and believe. Zogby is a pollster at his brother's research firm Zogby International, and for years, he's polled Arabs to find out what they believe about everything from women's rights to religion to America. His first conclusion? Like people anywhere, Arabs don't all agree about everything. James Zogby is distressed that this information comes as news to many self—styled Arab experts in America. James Zogby is founder and president of the Arab American Institute, a policy and advocacy organization in Washington, D.

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James Zogby: 'Arab Voices'

In Iraq, the United States Army often lacked the Arabic translators desperately needed to decipher documents captured from insurgents who were planting hidden explosive devices that killed and maimed American soldiers by the hundreds. In New York City, the opening of a charter school where pupils might master the intricacies of Arabic was all but thwarted by vociferous critics, many of them vocal supporters of Israel, who made it sound as if a terrorist training camp was opening in Brooklyn. The book can make for dry reading. But as Zogby suggests, demonizing the very people, culture and religion that the United States hopes to influence and change — rather than really studying what the Arab world says and thinks — is not a terribly smart approach. In the last few months, of course, the United States was gripped by the twin news stories of a marginal Florida preacher threatening to put a torch to Korans and of the fight over whether Muslims should be allowed to construct a cultural center, including a mosque, near ground zero in Lower Manhattan. Calmer heads made the point that American soldiers serving abroad in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention other Americans with interests across the Muslim world, suffer the fallout from incidents like these.

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Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date. For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now. Javascript is not enabled in your browser. Enabling JavaScript in your browser will allow you to experience all the features of our site. Learn how to enable JavaScript on your browser. NOOK Book. Despite increased contact between the West and the Arab world, even top American political leaders have only limited awareness of the realities and complexities of their Arab counterparts.

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