Outside of an airport there is no such place as a global village. International travel hasn’t flattened the world. It may be possible to fly to a remote location in twelve hours, disembark into a luxurious modern terminal designed by British architects and constructed by slave labor, but it can take you another twelve hours just to make your way through a city that may be ornamented with the occasional noveau riche skyscraper but is still built on a plan designed to defend desert tribes from nomadic raids. Travel twelve hours out of that city and you will encounter millions of people living in actual villages who don’t think that globalism is flattening, but do think that the world is flat.
Jet setting is exciting, but not transformative. Tom Friedman in Jeddah is still the same man he is on Fifth Avenue. The only difference is that there’s more sand in his shoes and sweat under his mustache. And the Saudi whose great-grandfather grew up in one of those villages, fought the Ottoman Empire, bought children from Syrian traders and kept them as slaves or concubines, and taught his children that living this way is what convinced Allah to open up some oil wells under the desert, is still that man even when he’s having lunch with Tom Friedman on Fifth Avenue.
We all live in villages. Our village is a place where women are considered human beings, but in the village that is an ocean and a desert away, women are considered property. For all the ridiculous noises about Islamic feminism and all the reforms coming out of Riyadh, a proper Muslim can no more consider a woman his equal, than he could consider a sheep or an African slave his equal. Â There is more:Â The Great Muslim Cover Up