Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fitting In

Have you ever been to a place and felt as if you belonged regardless of the setting Growing up in Jordan, and I suppose the Levant in general, where the culture is entwined and influenced by all these powers that passed through the region.

Two such cultures, having their roots in the same place, what was ancient Greece, are the Ottoman and Byzantine. They both occupy the area which was ancient Greece, the same culture the Arabs built on their advances and discoveries in Mathematics, Medicine, Social Sciences, etc..

I have visited both Greece and Turkey, and notwithstanding the settings, the language and to some extent religion, I felt that sense of familiarity and fitting in at both places. It may have been the similarity in customs, food, music and ancient ruins, it is hard to describe or pinpoint.

Both empires were viewed by Arabs as occupying powers whose aim was to assimilate the region within their respective spheres of influence. Yet, these three cultures (Arab, Byzantine and Ottoman) have interacted, merged and influenced each other for millennia. That the net result of that evolution is etched in our collective memory.

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