This was actually a link from a daylog from ekim_yar, which made me ponder. He seemed to be kind of excited about it in that daylog, and I just couldn’t figure out why the hell he’d feel that way.

In my humble mode of thought, being young and in the Middle East in the summer would involve the next facets:

Heat. As a general rule, the Middle East is a warm place. I recall the temperature in Tel Aviv in July, standing on an enormous electronic sign – 49 degrees Celsius (no one in the Middle East has ever heard of ‘Fahrenheit’). When it’s warm, people start sweating. Sweat piled up on your face, creates pimples. A pimply-faced youngster is the unluckiest human being ever.

Religious fanatics. Depending on the country, they’re either Muslim or Jewish. I recall making a trip through Lebanon once with a couple of friends of mine, all girls. Since it was one of those warm days, we found ourselves a nice quiet grass field close to a small lake and we took off our shirts (nothing fancy, we were wearing swimsuits ‘n stuff). After a minute or ten, a couple of men came by and started shouting in a weird dialect, obviously hysterical. One of my friends tried to explain them that we would put on our shirts again, but they kept screaming and they even tried to kick us, so we got the hell out of there. I also recall driving through a not-so-religious neighborhood in Jerusalem on Saturday, the Jewish holiday. Of course I knew driving through a really-religious neighborhood would mean my death, but I thought this would be rather safe. Hell was I wrong. The religious kids (they can’t have been older than 20-30) were literally everywhere. In their hands they had sharp stones, which they started throwing at my car and some even managed to scrawl on my car windows. But I digress. Youngsters need freedom, they need to have the feeling that they can go anywhere they want. The religious culture in the Middle East limits that.

Army. Youngsters in the Middle East are bound to join the army. Normally, draft starts in June or September. For the first time in their lives, youngsters have to leave their home and survive in a strange area all on their own. I don’t know, many find it an exciting period. I always found it kind of sad.

Of course, to be young and in the Middle East in the summer is still a wonderful experience, if not for the delicious bread, then sure for the marvelous sunsets. But many (if not all) youngsters I know in the Middle East want to move to the US or Europe as soon as they finish the army. Not a summer in their lives can change their mind.

TheLady: Now normally I dislike replying to other nodes, but perhaps I should make a couple of additions here. First of all, I've got an Israeli passport, and I've lived in Jerusalem for a year or 10. I'm fluent in Hebrew, I've been in the Israeli Army, I consider Israel my home. The neighborhood I was referring to was Beit Hakerem. I was driving on Rehov Yefe Nof. I didn't play loud music, or anything else that can be considered offensive. Now I personally don't really care about the car, but it felt just so damn unfair that I should just accept their behaviour, for they were religious and I was not. This is an entirely different topic of discussion though, which has absolutely nothing to do with 'to be young in the Middle East in the summer'. I restate my point: Growing up is discovering freedom. Religion in the Middle East limits this freedom.