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    History of the Middle East (1142 words)

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    The Middle East, as we all know, is a land filled with tremendous amounts of natural resources and riches such as oil. In most recent times, it is mostly well-known and prominent for the wars that it has encountered and the ridiculously lavish lifestyles of the royal families. The Middle East is centered mostly on Western Asia, Turkey which is both Asian and European, and Egypt which is on North Africa. Middle east was also known as Near East as opposed to the Far East beginning in the early stages of the 20th century. The Middle East may have originated in the British India Office in the 1850s. However, when Alfred Thayer Mahan, an American naval strategist, used the term in the year 1902 to designate the area between India and Arabia, it became more widely known. The Middle East could cause some confusion over its definitions changing over time.

    Near East was used in English before the First World War to refer to the Ottoman Empire and the Balkans, while Middle East referred to the Caucasus, Iran, Central Asia, Afghanistan and Turkestan. The Middle East also consists of 22 countries with Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain being the most prominent. However, it does not stay that way since countries are added and removed from the list from time to time. [footnoteRef:1] [1: Peter Mansfield, A History of The Middle East, (375, Hudson Street, New York, New York, Penguin Group, 1991), 12]

    The Middle East is undoubtedly very rich in history knowing that three of the world’s main religions all trace back their ancestry in the Middle East. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are religions that all originate in the Middle East. Jerusalem, the holy capital city of Israel, is a holy territory that has been fought over by believers of faith of the three religions. The Jews, Christians and Muslims have fought countless battles to regain control and dominance over Jerusalem since it is a very symbolic place in their beliefs. While these three religions have a lot of differences, their Gods and beliefs are very similar since they all believe in one god and all worship in one God. It is known as Allah in Islam, Yahweh in Judaism, and the Holy Trinity in Christianity. [footnoteRef:2] [2: Ibid, 28]

    Crusades or religious wars are wars that have been sanctioned by the Latin Church during the medieval times or medieval period. They are wars that have been fought to recover lands from Muslim rule. The campaigns are aimed at recovering the prized Holy Land from the Muslims, but Crusade is another term for church-sanctioned campaigns. Judaism, Islam and Christianity and the followers and believers of these religions have gained dominance or control over Jerusalem over the past few thousand years. For 400 years, the Ottoman Empire whose main religion is Islam controlled Jerusalem. Due to the conflict and wars fought in Jerusalem for centuries, Jerusalem has already been destroyed and rebuilt twice. [footnoteRef:3] [3: Christopher Tyerman, God’s War: A New History of the Crusades, (250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia, Penguin Group, 2006), 4]

    Despite its not-so-pleasant history, Middle East is not a very bad place to live. Well, in terms of security and cost of living… A lot of Filipino OFWs work in the Middle East to sustain the needs of their families. One of them is my father who works in Saudi. A lot of his friends there are Filipinos as well. Despite their bad and evil portrayal in mainstream media, not all Arabs and Saudis are evil and cruel. Many of them are kind-hearted and generous according to my father.

    While not all of them are evil and cruel, most of them lack proper hygiene. People in Middle East are not fond of taking showers especially during winter. I have heard a lot of Filipino OFWs complaining about the stinking smell of their colleagues or their bosses at work because of their lack of hygiene. The Royal family of Saudi is most probably the richest family in the planet. Their combined wealth dwarf even the likes of Bill Gates in terms of net worth [footnoteRef:4] [4: Caroline Roelants, Saudi Arabia: A Kingdom in Peril, (41 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3PL, Oxford University Press, 2015), 18]

    Owing to its large reserves of crude oil, Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest growing and progressing countries in the Middle East. It has second of the largest reserves of crude oil in the world. Its oil reserves is about one-fifth of the world’s total conventional oil reserves. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has produced 10.3 million barrels per day on April 2015, its highest since 2013 and 1980. Because of its riches due to their production of oil, the Royal family and the citizens of Saudi are mostly rich and could afford more than their daily needs. The Royal family also coats their supercars with gold and gives away money to the citizens of KSA whenever the King visits. [footnoteRef:5] [5:Ibid, 22]

    Aside from royalty, let’s talk about cruelty. Most terrorists hail from the Middle East. Prominent terrorist groups are the Al Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban from Afghanistan which seeks to gain money by inflicting terror and fear not only to people of the Middle East, but to all people of the planet. The 9/11 attack is greatly believed by many to be a doing of the Al Qaeda terrorist group, though some people blame it on the former American President George W. Bush.

    There are also rumors that the American Government is controlling the terrorists in Middle East to manipulate and strike terror and fear to the people in the world. The Middle East has been a victim of its own countries, a mother scarred by her very own children. It has succumbed a lot of wounds from the greedy and power-hungry people that resides in it. For its rich source in natural resources, the Middle East is a territory that most countries would want to control. [footnoteRef:6] [6: Janine di Giovanni, The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches from Syria, (500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110, Norton & Company, 2016), 8]

    Libya, Syria, Iran and a lot more are suffering from constant terror attacks and bombings, coupled with the fact that their own government is neglecting and abandoning them. It is 2019, yet people’s safety in these Middle Eastern states are still not guaranteed. These countries should be avoided at all costs due to its incredibly high rate of terror attacks and the danger it poses to the people who plan on going there. Some OFWs get stuck there and never return. Even if some do, they never return the same. They have already been abused, beaten, raped, and subjected to physical and mental torture. Though not everything is cruel in the Middle East, everything is also not good. There are poor and rich, good and evil, just like the rest of the world. [footnoteRef:7] [7: Ibid, 13]

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