The East, the West, the Middle-East and the South

“Qatar got selected as a consequence of International Sport Committees moving to new territories, specifically, away from highly industrialized Western nations and towards Eastern and Southern nations.  The most recent FIFA games in South Africa are an example of this.” – quote from an article on Freshly Pressed today.

Now, this is a cool quote. I think we’re seeing a new thing here, “the South”, complementing the East, the Middle-East and the West. There’s no North to speak of, that’s either Scandinavia or “three blokes in a weather station” (Bill Bailey). The South will be South America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Now, some might think Russia doesn’t fit in this, but I disagree, Russia and the Eastern European countries have long been part of European politics, so they belong to the West. There is a conflict/border between

the West and the Middle-East,  evidenced in Constantinople and Jerusalem. I’d say the Middle-East includes the southern Mediterranean countries from Marocco to Egypt, Gibraltar strait separating Moors from the Romans. The -stan countries go in this category too. Then Kashmir marks the second conflict/border separating the Middle-East from the (Far) East. Australia, New Zeeland, Canada and the U.S. belong to the same group as Europe. However, is it fair to group South America with Africa?

I think one can, they’re both victims of Europe that did not lose themselves despite the onslaught. In South America Indians are still being repressed by the Conquistadors and South Africa still suffers the after-effects of apartheid while Congo, Sudan and a bunch of other countries are still in civil war. Mostly because Christianity and Islam meet in many places and even China want a piece of the cake, which was cut up using very straight rulers. (All puns intended.) According to Hans Rosling the developing countries are developing a lot faster than the developed countries did. I expect that there will be more wars because the resource crisis makes the rich countries more greedy, but inevitably, the South will catch up despite the rich countries intentionally and unintentionally blocking them. Both Africa and South America are teenagers in the process of fighting their parents and each other, still waiting to find their own identities and path to walk. Mexico and Cuba will probably have to go in the South category. Mind you, these are silly generalizations, not the less silly when you think of the Eurocentric name for the Middle-East or the fact that to the ancient Egyptians, the Mediterranean was the South and South Africa was the North (in the Eurocentric view that North is up and South is down, where White is at the top and the Blacks are at the bottom and the Reds and Yellows are just weird). On that note, maybe the Middle-Easterns should get to decide which direction they prefer to live in. Maybe the Near-East, maybe the Orient, the Middle, I don’t know. Seems like the term is already used there though, in Arabic ash-sharq-l-awsat and Persian Khāvarmiyāneh.

It will start with Brazil and Nigeria, the most populous countries home to the most millionaires. Capitalism will bring these two continents, that once were physically joined together “like a glove” (Jim Carrey), and the Orthodox Christians of Ethiopia will murmur at the thought of Chilean Catholic churches being built in their country. The Native American/Black/Spanish/Portuguese and the Black/Christian/Muslim continents will not only find their own unique identity, but also find each other in the similarity between these two unique identities. Jamaica and the other Central Americans will invite them both to a party and maybe we can all smoke a joint for peace. “Pass that Dutch” as some Cherokee listening to Missy Elliot might say.

Jim Carey without make-up


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