7 Arab Contradictions That Don’t Make Sense

A look at the paradoxes that unite us

Being Arab is a source of pride for many, and rightfully so. Arab societies are diverse with deeply complex and rich histories that have shaped us to become the societies we are today.

Despite our diversity and difference however, there are quite a few things about being Arab that are pretty universal across the region. Perhaps due to the pervasiveness of Islam, the shared use of the Arabic language, or simply due to geographic proximity—there are numerous unifying factors in the Arab world—and our contradictory ways are certainly one of them.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll quickly realize that our very complex history has led to some practices that are quite paradoxical to anyone looking in. Some are pretty harmless, like the fact that we’ll be quick to say inshallah when we’re basically just trying to say no.

It’s time we take a look and take some time to reflect on the hilarious paradoxes that make us who we are. So, if you’re Arab or have grown up in an Arab society, MILLE rounds up 7 contradictions you’ll probably relate to.

We incessantly clean our homes, but shamelessly litter our streets.

We won’t let teens smoke cigarettes, but shisha is allowed.

We refuse help, but complain endlessly.

Writer’s note: (this one goes out to moms in particular)

We forbid dating, but expect marriage by 20.

We deal with racism from others, but somehow are still racist ourselves.

We mess something up, then put the blame on someone giving you the evil eye.

We preach honesty, but keep monumental (and sometimes damaging) family secrets.

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