From “The thousand Year War in the Mideast” by Richard Maybury P. 56
Why do we in the West fail to understand the Mideast? One reason was pointed out by Egyptian president Anwar Sadat just before he was assassinated in 1981. Sadat said Americans would never understand the Mideast because the Mideast is so old, whereas America is so young.
Jericho is the world’s most ancient city. Many Muslims cite archaeologists who say Jericho goes back 10,000 years.
American civilization is only about 450 years old, so measured against this 10,000-year Muslim time clock, American civilization is still in it’s infancy, only 4.5% the age of the Mideast. The U.S. itself is even younger, only 2% the age of the Mideast.
This is more important than it sounds. Having the world’s newest civilization, Americans have an unusually brief time perspective. To us, something that happened fifty years ago falls under the category of ‘old.’ It is a bygone, we’ve forgotten about it and forgiven everyone involved. In 1945 we were at war with the Japanese and Germans, now we are friends.
… this isn’t to say past events do not affect us. They do, we carry a lot of baggage. But American culture is young, very forward looking, and founded on the two laws, so we try to jettison the baggage whenever we can, we find it embarrassing.
In the Mideast, fifty years ago is just yesterday. To them, the founding of the state of Israel in 1949 falls under the category of current events.
It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that in the Mideast there are no bygones. Any injury suffered in the past two thousand years is still fresh. Ask a Lebanese guerrilla why he fights and he is likely to say, ‘In 1842 their great-great grandfather killed my great-great grandfather.’ “