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  • Hey everyone! So as you know, we are working on the next few country episodes

  • which means this is gonna have to be a filler week!

  • This week, I was given a topic by you guys that I thought was pretty interesting.

  • What are the differences between Arab countries?

  • A lot of people think all Arabs are the same (nah they're not). Before we get into this though,

  • just want to give a huge shout out to Squarespace for being our sponsor for this episode.

  • A lot of you have probably heard about them,

  • You know exactly what they are and we are really

  • thankful that they're sponsoring Geography Now.

  • We'll talk more about them later. So anyway,

  • I am not Arab and I feel like the best way to go about this tricky topic

  • would probably to have an Arab with me in this episode.

  • So you guys remember my Arab friend from Egypt and the Egypt episode, Mohab?

  • - Hello! Nice. - Good to be here.

  • Now, there are a lot of countries that either speak Arabic or have Arabic as a national or recognized language.

  • However, in this episode we're gonna do the twenty two nations of the Arab League.

  • These are the countries that actually get to call the shots for the most part in the Arabic area.

  • Before we start, little disclaimer:

  • Yes, everything we're gonna be discussing in this episode might be a little bit touchy-feely.

  • There's no universal agreement.

  • A lot of this stuff we're about to say is also kind of based off of what you guys the Arab Geograpeeps have said to me.

  • - All right, cool? - I say, let's begin!

  • *Algeria* Algeria is a ma-ha-REB country not Ma-GREB

  • [demostrating Arabic rolled r sounds]

  • You can't really mention Algeria without talking about soccer(or football),

  • to the point where when these countries play soccer(football) together, things get heated up-

  • and that's an understatement - Huge rivalry.

  • Size-wise, they are the largest country in all of Africa

  • and they are the largest Francophone nation in the Arab world.

  • They were under the French at one point and they speak just like French people like.

  • 100%, almost.

  • Culture-wise, Algeria is the home of what we know as Rai music.

  • Algerian folk music that became a phenomenon with people like Cheb Khaled, Cheb Mami...

  • *Bahrain* Now I have been here and the impression I got is that Bahrain is kind of like the

  • secret Dubai of the Middle East and it's also kind of like Saudi Arabia's girlfriend. They don't have any rivalry with any other countries.

  • They are very stable economically very open-minded and liberal.

  • They even appointed a Jewish female ambassador to their government, which is pretty much unheard of for pretty much any Arab country

  • They have the money but they're not really being *demonetized* about it.

  • but they do know that they have the money so they conduct themselves in that way.

  • Mohab, what do you know about the *Comoros*?

  • *crickets

  • - Yeah... - Yeah very few people in the Arab world know anything about the Comoros Islands.

  • They are the smallest nation in the Arab League with only about 800,000 people.

  • They actually speak three languages, Comorian, French and Arabic.

  • They do have a little bit more of like a Black East African culture applied to them.

  • They would be like this strange extended family kind of cousin that you never met growing up.

  • *Djibouti* Uh, yeah, the Arabs don't really pay too much attention to Djibouti either

  • partially because only about 5% of the country identifies as Arab even though they speak Arabic.

  • Basically, they're known as being Ethiopia's only access to the sea.

  • Djibouti would be the country that shows up to the party,

  • sits quietly, sips his drink, leaves early because he has work in the morning

  • he's like the Wallflower of the Arab party.

  • and now we reach *E G Y P T* - Oh, yeah.

  • Egypt is basically the hub, the godfather of the Arab world,

  • the most populated one with over a hundred million people

  • That's the problem.

  • A hundred million of Egyptians live in a little under 5% of the land.

  • - Heavily concentrated. - Very much so.

  • So this is the thing about Egyptians, when the revolution started in 2011 and people were dying in the streets,

  • Guess what, you find that people are just making (dank)memes and jokes about it

  • because this has been always the way Egyptians cope

  • with sadness and tragedy, through dark comedy.

  • You can imagine soccer in Egypt

  • exactly the same way you would imagine soccer in Brazil.

  • We might not have a soccer(football) on the flag like in Brazil,

  • but it's like people religiously follow their teams.

  • if the Arab world was a high school,

  • Egypt would kind of be like the really popular kid

  • maybe not the smartest or richest but the most popular

  • Everybody's paying attention

  • *Iraq*

  • Probably won't find too many Iraqi people outside of Iraq

  • They kind of generally stay in their country except for the ones that are not Arab like Kurdish people or Assyrians, right? Yes

  • Yeah, the country is known for having the heaviest population of Shia[s] in the Arab world in the Arab world.

  • I would say that most Arabs we we don't have a whole lot of intake from that country, which is very unfortunate.

  • They know Iraq. It's not a small country, but and meet a recent controversy

  • just kind of like it's just like that's all they're known for I guess you could kind of say Iraq is kind of like the

  • goth kid of the Arab world

  • (it's very accurate depiction)

  • Jordan the one everybody kind of wants to be friends with right? Yeah. Yeah pretty much every Arab country can be friends with them.

  • They're kind of like the Wisconsin of the Arab world. So when it comes to Jordan and Lebanon, there is no way earth

  • You're gonna be able to differentiate between the different dialects.

  • Both countries would be kind of offended when you say this because they tell you. Oh, no, we do not sound the same.

  • It's like when you say the Australians and the New Zealand Kiwis sound the same they would be like no we don't we don't.

  • (yeah)

  • *Kuwait* they kind of went on like a bad blind-date with Iraq and they just really don't want to talk about it anymore.

  • So Kuwait is kind of like the rich older sister who is part of like a very exclusive

  • Country Club really hard to be a Kuwaiti citizen.

  • Even if you're born there and even if you are born it only applies if your dad is Kuwaiti.

  • And then you have 20 years to be staying in the country

  • And I guess yeah, you have to prove that you've rendered service and what else you have to speak Arabic?

  • Muslim most likely Muslim it would be that.

  • Fancy-schmancy Country Club and Bel Air, exclusive Country Club of the Arab world very much. Yeah, next one Lebanon

  • P A R T Y !

  • Lebanon is the party capital of the Arab world.

  • it really is!

  • Yes, they are the most religiously diverse nation in all of the Arab world!

  • There's like 18 recognized religious communities and their government system even requires leaders from each community to represent them.

  • I'm not trying to be offensive but Lebanese people I've met so many Lebanese people and they are delightful.

  • But they have a little bit of 'tude -

  • - attitude

  • yes, they do.

  • (laughing)

  • They provide some of the finest most prolific singers of any Arabic country. Arabic, French, English

  • It's all mixed up. baba ganoush

  • Fatuous

  • Lebneh. Oh my gosh that Manakish stuff Manakish Manakish Yes. Oh my god I love that,it's like Arab pizza. Okay, here's a funny fact

  • I have yet to see on ask it from one to ten a seven Lebanese person

  • I have not they're all nines intensity, but they're just really really attractive. Good-looking people *Libya*. Yeah

  • As mentioned in the episode the only Arab that kind of speaks Italian-ish because they were under the Italians at one point

  • So, I don't know

  • I mean, what do you think about Libyan people really kind really understanding they love to laugh and leave it or not

  • Just much like a difference. They like to learn the Egyptian dialect. Some of them actually nailed it and they're just good people

  • It's just unfortunate kind of like Iraq just unfortunate circumstances have kind of put this title on them that didn't ask for but correct, *Mauritania*

  • It's not talked about too much either. They aren't a super popular one

  • But one thing that they're known for is that they take Islam very seriously, they're pretty conservative

  • They are deemed also to be one of the most countries that would be memorizing like the whole qur'an

  • I have huge fortune Quran memorizers and Islamic poets as well intellectuals that live in the sparsely populated

  • Sandy areas with lots of wind. That's probably how they get inspired to write poetry. I don't know.

  • You know that that, Shaolin monk just sitting on the rocking chair and just

  • Writing. That's that's really what Mauritania is, the quiet monk sitting alone in the desert.

  • Morocco

  • This is the most Berber or Amazigh influenced country in the entire Arab world. The're Arabic, even if you're a native speaker

  • It's very very hard to understand. They have the weirdest accents, right?

  • Incredibly strong. It's kind of like what Chile is to the Spanish? Correct? Yeah, that's dead-on. I mean they are considered an Arabic country, but

  • .....Are they reeeeaally?...

  • So Mohab, if the Arab world was a family. How would you kind of place Morocco?

  • Comfortable. Financially Comfortable uncle. Stands up at dinner and he gives that big speech you couldn't really understand what he was talking about

  • He's like the guy that showed up. He's like hey

  • *Are you arlight Barbie?*

  • Oh, ok.

  • Oh, Cheers, Cheers! Cheer, oh yeah

  • *Oman. So when you say Oman, "Om" is actually mother in Arabic

  • It's like the the old mother or the old grandma was really really wise and really likes to keep things traditional

  • Not just culture and family

  • the grandma of the Arab world

  • Correct

  • I would say it could be easily the friendliest or the second(friendliest). No heat, no fights, nothing.

  • Yeah, Oman is kind of untouchable. Arab countries don't want to go in and like cause any trouble. When you go there

  • It's kind of like a travel back in time like that people's memory of the cities

  • They still wear the same clothing from like hundreds of years ago, correct?

  • I would say, if it ain't broken, why fix it? Yeah, Oman, don't don't fix it.

  • It doesn't need to be fixed.

  • Palestine

  • Oh boy, that's a little confusing because they are still considered part of the Arab League

  • But in terms of actual real legislation, it's kind of like in a limbo stage. So it's weird

  • Yeah, it's kind of a lot of Palestinians have told me that like a lot of Arab countries can stand in solidarity with Palestine

  • But they're kind of careful not to invest too much into it

  • cause two things they kind of want to keep Palestine as that poster child. People do not have the resources with the time to just

  • Get out of their own homes and go somewhere else to mind someone else's problem. You can't use my washer/dryer unless I actually finish it

  • Otherwise in terms of Palestinian culture and everything. I was told they invented kunafe.

  • I don't know. I don't know Mohab, when you meet a Palestinian person, what do you think? How did you get here?

  • I'm not even joking. They have travel documents, but they don't have passports because it's not a state

  • So you mean if you just think okay, there must be a story every single time

  • You meet a Palestinian outside of Palestine more often than not when they leave the just immediately seek asylum

  • Qatar

  • When I say Qatar, what are some things that immediately pop in your head? I'm not talking about the people

  • I am not talking about the people immediately

  • The two topics the two huge topics that come to mind would be the Muslim Brotherhood and al Jazeera Network

  • I don't know what happened over the past few years

  • But it's not one of those topics that you watch any Arabic channel or Egyptian media handling the topic of Qatar with grace

  • It's funny because yeah Qatar has like the highest

  • Expat ratio out of any country in the world at like almost 80, I think over 80%

  • So it's actually kind of rare to find a native Qatari citizen

  • Like they're all hiding in the penthouse suites of the building is it's like very close. You can't find them

  • It's so hard and they did score the World Cup

  • 2022 - yeah, I actually really liked Doha when I visited that I'll say like I loved him there

  • It was great. Like Souq Waqif looked really cool. It's a really cool spot you can visit

  • Yeah, but at the same time I wasn't immersing myself with the entire underlying spectrum of politics and what's going on

  • It's a whole other story. Yeah, but I just liked my stay. That's all I can say.

  • Saudi Arabia

  • Big Daddy, the big daddy of the Arab world. They even have Arab in their name, basically when I was there a lot of assumptions

  • I had were kind of dispelled. You can check them out in the video here

  • But basically to outsiders and most Arabs, Saudi Arabia is kind of seen the same way

  • It's like money money oil and religion, right? Yeah. I mean, it's really really the hub of Islam. It is in Madina Munawwara

  • Mecca they have the Shahada (لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا ٱلله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ ٱلله)(There is no god but God and Muhammad is his messenger)on the flag. You said that's so fast

  • Yeah, however, you also do kind of notice that they are

  • Slowly trying to progress into the 21st century a have been passing laws over the past ten years

  • What is that gonna look like we'll see

  • Time will tell

  • Yeah Somalia. This is this is probably the Blackest Africanist(what?) Arab country, right? It really is

  • Yeah, in terms of culture. They're pretty kind they're kind of

  • I don't want to say similar to Ethiopia and Eritrea, but they do have like similar food. I'm not trying to offend anyone

  • I promise this is just a little bit funny fact growing up in Egypt

  • Somalians or or the word somali would kind of connotated the butt of most of the jokes. I mean, oh

  • But it's endearing it's not a racism thing don't go there

  • I don't go there but you still use a people group in the context very rich in culture though,

  • Very colorful vibrant traditions and customs. Yeah, their colors are insane. Oh, yes, Somali people are very colorful Sudan

  • Sudan had that thing going on with Egypt

  • They have very very first of all, it's the borderline you share the same border. Yeah

  • Yeah, they were under an alliance at some point

  • They were actually the same exact country anything that happens with the Nile in Egypt

  • Will affect Sudan so. And vice versa and vice versa. Think about it this way

  • You have a brother and you love them so much, but you don't have a problem having a fistfight with them

  • Syria okay

  • Mohab what comes to mind when I say Syria Assad and Isis obviously so you can understand it

  • The country is just connotative to a lot of dark black terrorism again

  • They didn't ask for it

  • but just kind of what happens Syrians are kind of like the people that show up and they have the

  • craziest stories in the group

  • I pretty much that's how it you would probably yeah and everyone cries

  • But if you just meet them as people

  • I'm sure they're just people it's just there's always a story with a Syrian

  • Tunisia the artsy person of the Arab world they were voted the freest country in the Arab world as well

  • Yeah, they're known for having a lot of cool crafts people know them for their carpets and their carvings

  • It's just like they love art when you mentioned Tunisia what comes to mind again as an Arab?

  • Algerian even though it's a completely different country, but there's so much similarity and if you're not really well-versed in history

  • You would not really know a whole lot of difference between the two countries French also speaking people

  • I believe they speak French right they do

  • Yeah, and they also have really good health care which we explained in the Libya episode

  • Lots of Libyans go to Tunisia for health care the UAE United Arab Emirates now

  • It's interesting because they're called the Emirates but it's actually ruled by Sheikdoms seven Sheikhs

  • They kind of unified the whole country. So technically there's like no royal family. But I mean there's some super rich

  • It's kind of what this really is, but not really. The country played their cards, right?

  • They know they actually knew and they still do know at some point. We're going to be running out of oil

  • So what else to do? Let's turn this into some modern marvel twenty-five years ago

  • It was just like a fishing village on the desert. That's it

  • But then like late 90s like exploded when I was there

  • It was very crowded, you know, so many people were trying to look at the Burj Khalifa and you know

  • It's just like I couldn't find a single like what do you call like a Souq. I couldn't find a single one

  • maybe in other Emirates

  • Abu Dabi or Dubai definitely not knows like I couldn't find anything traditional everything was just glass and metal in conclusion will have what would you

  • Say I think it would be the rich VIP booth

  • That you see at a club in Vegas

  • And finally, Yemen