Monday, April 16, 2012

The Arab Presence on the Titanic, an Ignored Fact?

This article in The National claims that there were more Arabs on the Titanic than originally thought, even picturised by James Cameroon. The article quotes an Arab named Hanania who had a "Yalla, yalla" moment when he heard the words spoken in the movie Titanic. "Yalla, yalla" in Arabic means "let's go, let's go." Hanania blames the supposedly selective amnesia of Cameroon because the ship's owner Starship never bothered to let the exact number of Arabs be known, afraid that they would have to shell out dough to their families. So, the plot gets thicker, doesn't it? 

Excerpt from the article:

That same year, Judith Geller, the author of the book Titanic: Women and Children First, wrote that "officially there were 154 Syrians on board the Titanic, and 29 were saved: four men, five children and 20 women".
Put another way, that would mean that 125 died. If so, then Arab victims accounted for no less than 23 per cent of the 527 third-class passengers who died - a shocking proportion to have vanished from the story.

Hanania states that this shocking ignorance of the Arab presence on the Titanic is a sign of American callousness towards Arabs. I have another theory:

The America of today is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual society composing of every nationality and race known to man. We, in India, have long felt that we have been ignored and discriminated against by the Americans. Actually, the most powerful nation in the world has no time to even care if you are Arabic or Indian. They go by their own concept of a free, unfettered, democratic life (albeit one that doesn't tolerate lawlessness) and could care less if you think you are being ignored. It goes with the awareness that they are an affluent society. Also the Germans, English, French and the Danish who have come to America don't clamour to be recognised as their ethnic community at all. They want to be recognised as Americans.

So why are the Indians and Arabs (who are American citizens) clamouring for recognition and weeping crocodile tears over being ignored. I don't know. In America do as the Americans do.

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1 comment:

Ilo Edd said...

Tricky, tricky. I think "ignore" has a lot of meanings. Everybody uses it thinking about a certain definition.