Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Queen Noor

I had the opportunity of attending a lecture by Queen Noor of Jordan last PM. Actually it was more of a question and answer session. I came away extremely impressed. Queen Noor has a grasp of MidEast politics that few politicians in this country can even pretend to have.

As background, she was born and raised in the United States with her father being of Arab descent. She graduated from Princeton in 1974 with a degree in architecture and planning and worked in the MidEast. There she met and married King Hussein of Jordan in 1978. He died of cancer in 1999 and she survives him as his widow. She is extremely active in international humanitarian aid work.

Personally, Queen Noor is a very warm person. Her passion for the causes she espouses is almost palpable. Her overriding concern is peace, particularly in the MidEast. She has the tremendous advantage, because of her background, of being able to see both sides of the conflicts there.

Her observations are very important. She feels, as some of us do here in the U.S., that the current American policy in the region is doing much damage to how we are perceived. This is true of Iraq as well as the a result of the Arab/Israeli conflict. America's invasion of Iraq along with Israel's invasion of Lebanon and its continuing treatment of Gaza is viewed as being supported by the U.S., whether this is completely true or not.

Queen Noor's ability to encompass these issues, certainly some of the most important of our time, is very inspiring. Her message was, in the the end, "try and understand the Arab world." I wish our politicians would take this to heart. However, I am not holding my breath.

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