A Syrian-American’s view of current events in the Middle East

Rany Jazayerli is a Syrian-American dermatologist, baseball fan, writer, and blogger. Not necessarily in that order. I’m familiar with him because he writes about the Kansas City Royals a lot. But every once in a while, he writes about something else.

His perspective on Egypt is interesting. It’s not what we’re used to hearing here in the States, and for that reason alone, it’s worth reading. You’ll probably find yourself agreeing with parts of it and disagreeing with parts of it, but there’s a very good chance a lot of what you’ll read will be things you’ve never heard before.

I think the most important thing about Dr. Jazayerli’s perspective is that his parents are Syrian immigrants–as I recall, his father came here to go to medical school, and opted to stay–and he goes back to Syria every once in a while, enough to keep one foot kinda-sorta in the Middle East, but he grew up here. He likes baseball and capitalism and liberty and lots of other things about this country. He’s in a good position to explain the Middle East in terms we can understand.

One good line from this entry: The comparisons of the Muslim Brotherhood to the Iranian revolution… [are] like saying the Baptists are going to take their cues from the Vatican.

As a practicing Muslim, he probably can’t say this, but as a Christian, I can. Or at least I will. I think my friends who are Catholics and Baptists will understand. On the face of it, Catholics and Baptists agree about a lot. An awful lot. They believe in Jesus, and to the untrained eye their churches look a lot alike. They even have similar views about a lot of social issues. They tend to be anti-abortion and are the two groups most likely to be outspoken about it, and when you talk to a Christian who’s opposed to the use of birth control, chances are that person is either Catholic or Baptist. Most other branches of Christianity are officially neutral on that.

It’s easy to see how an outsider would say they’re more alike than they are different.

But don’t tell them that. Not all Catholics are hostile towards Baptists and not all Baptists are hostile towards Catholics, but few will take that statement as a compliment. There are a number of significant differences between the two, and both groups treasure those differences. To the point where if you ask a Catholic if there will be Baptists in heaven, or vice-versa, there will be a handful who will say no.

I know a lot more about the differences between Catholics and Baptists than I know about the Shiites and the Sunnis. But now I have something to compare it to. That’s the job of a good writer. To explain things to a reader in terms that the reader understands.

Dr. Jazayerli is very good at explaining baseball, but as it turns out, he’s pretty good at explaining something else too.

And I’ll give you a spoiler. What does he think is behind the sudden urge for democracy in the Middle East? Television.

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