Latin Arabia

A World You Never Knew Existed

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Arab Arts Festivals

Arab-Latin Arts

Cine Fertil (Creative/Fertile Cinema) is an Arab-Latin Arts group.

They regularly hold Arab-Latin Arts Festivals.

They event seems to be sponsored by the

The last, the Ninawa Daher Foundation, was named after a beloved Agentine lawyer, newscaster, TV hostess of Maronite-Christian-Lebanese ancestry. It is a charity which helps women.

Ninawa Daher died rather young – she was 31 – in a car crash in 2011.

Argentina is about 9% Arab. Many, if not most Latin-Arabs, are intermarried and not pure Arab; but Arabs are a large enough community that she had quite a following.

They are running a festival this month in Buenos Aires about Arab-Latin arts.

If you are in Buenos Aires, check it out.



Madrilenos (Madrid citizens) have lisp
Spaniard talk like Daffy Duck

It may seem odd that I, an American, would know about this.

A little over 2 years ago, I was trying to learn some Spanish by going to YouTube. From past experience, I know that South Americans speak better Spanish than Spaniards. Spaniards have a lisp and cannot pronounce the letter s.

The Spaniards of Madrid say Ethpaña, not España.

It is like talking to Daffy Duck.

So, I went to check out some videos from Argentina and Chile. The Latinos of South America, particularly Argentina and Chile, tend to be of European extraction, and speak a much more educated Spanish, without the lisp of the Madrilenos (citizens of Madrid) of Spain.

I accidentally found a video about a video about a show called DESDE EL ALJIBE (FROM THE WELL), a program aimed at Arab-Latins in Argentina.


Eduardo Said – Ninawa Daher
DESDE EL ALJIBE – Great Musical guests in this video clip

The name comes from the community Water Well where news and gossip is traded among Arabs in their communities. In America, we get our gossip at the office Water Cooler. Same principle.

Click after click, and I found dozens of videos about DESDE EL ALJIBE.

Ninawa Daher was the co-host.

I could not understand all their Spanish, but I was able to get the general idea.

One click lead to another, and I discovered a massive – and I do mean massive – Arab subculture in South America. Not just in Argentina, but in Chile (which has a massive Palestinian population), Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, all of Latin America.

Most fascinating is that almost no one in America, or Europe, knows about this. The only time our news mentions Arabs in South America is when someone arrests a Hezbollah operative.

Our media never tells us that there are 25-30 Million Arabs in South America. Ninety-five perent (95%) of them, or more, are Christian. Many of these Arab-Latins had ancestors who went to South America around 1900, when they were fleeing Turkish Muslim persecution.

Latin immigrants came from Syria, Lebanon, and Israel/Palestine as well. Most were Christian. A few were Muslim; but most of their children or grandchildren are Christian. They assimilate well.

They tend to be well off, and elite, in Latin America. Yet, we never hear about this. They present an image of a successful, Westernized, educated, elite ethnic group that we never hear about.

We never hear how mainstream Arab culture has become in South America. I found dozens, if not hundreds, of videos of Latins with names indicating Spanish, Italian, or German origins who have taken up Arab Dance, and appear in Arab Dance shows. Check out my Dancer of the Day Category.


Viña del Mar – a beach resort in Chile
The Palestinians in Chile are elite

This is not some salacious trend. Arab Dance is taught to young girls, and not all are of Arab descent. In fact it is taught at Catholic Schools. (Click Here). It is considered cultural.

This is seen as a positive thing.

Just as American Jews are discovering the Jewish roots, these Arab-Latins are re-discovering their Arab roots, it seems.

There is a positive side to the Arabs, and South America presents it.

What you say? Arabs in the land of the gauchos?!

I asked the same thing. Gauchos and Arabs do not mix.


Arab Origin of Gauchos – Ninawa Daher
DESDE EL ALJIBE

I soon found out how wrong I was. Apparently, Gauchos came from Moorish exiles from Spain who went to South America. Ninawa Daher did a piece on DESDE EL ALJIBE about the history of the Arab – Gaucno connection that almost no one knows anything about.

BTW: Though once considered ridiculous, more and more historians are coming to the unavoidable conclusion that the Guachos have some Arab/Moorish input in their history.

It is two years later, since I ran into these videos – almost by accident. My Spanish is still terrible. I have trouble making out what they are saying but I have discovered into a massive subculture that is astounding.

I wish I were younger. I would learn re-learn my Spanish, and learn Arabic as well.

Now, do not get me wrong. I remain suspicious of extremist Islam; but our media ignores a positive side to the Arabs which should be encouraged.


MIKE KONRAD: I am neither Arab, Hispanic, Latin, Muslim, nor Jewish. I am an American Christian of European ancestry. I just find this fascinating. I am amazed how few people here in the United States know about this.

This ignorance – which is fostered by our media – is a story in and of itself.

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Fiesta of Lebanese Independence in Uruguay


Celebrating Lebanese Independence in Downtown Montevideo, Uruguay

The Lebanese are about 2% of the Uruguay’s population, but they have already produced a Vice-President, Alberto Abdala.

Almost all are from Maronite Catholic stock.

Again, as noted, depending on the country, Maronite Catholics are often 45-65% of the Arab ethnic community in Latin American countries. (Chile and Honduras are noteable exceptions)

In Uruguay, Maronites are almost all the Arabs.

Where the Maronites predominate, they are a moderating influence.

When they came to Latin America, because the Maronites are a branch of Roman Catholicism, they fit in well with Catholic Latin America.

When they came to Latin America, some Maronites spoke French, which is a Latin language similar to Spanish and Portuguese making the transition easier.

Historically, Lebanese Maronites have intermarried with the Crusaders, Romans, etc. making them partly European in genetics. They tend to be fairer, and have slightly higher rates of fair eyes than most other Arabs. Outwardly, they could pass for European.

They considered themselves an outpost of Western Civilization in the Mideast. They felt closer to the French than neighboring Arab Muslims.

Maronite Catholics often considered themselves Phoenician not Arab, even though they speak Arabic.

This has caused friction with the Lebanese Muslims who do consider themselves Arabic.

So the Maronite Catholics blended in well with South Americans, and all the other Arabs had to play catch up with them.

They are very moderate concerning Mideast politics. Where they predominate, there will not be much anti-Israel polemics.

In Chile, where Palestinian-Christian predominate among the Arab community, Arab ethnic politics can get ugly.

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Lebanese Migration to Brazil

I do not speak Brazilian Portuguese, but this is a show about Lebanese Migration to Brazil.

Brazil has close to 200 Million people. About 7-10 Million Brazilians are of Lebanese heritage (Click Here)

65% of the Lebanese are Maronite/Roman Catholic.
20% of the Lebanese are Eastern Orthodox Christian
15% are variations of Sunni, Shia, or Druze

However, Arab-Evangelical Churches are springing up in Brazil, and those numbers are changing.

It is not unrealistic to estimate all the Arab-Brazilians (Lebanese, Syrians, Iraqs, etc.) at 15 Million over all. This is roughly 7½% of Brazil’s population.

To get an idea how large that is: Only 6% of America is Italian. Arabs are very common in Brazil. There is a fast food chain called Habib's which is found all over Brazil.

What is clear is that Lebanese Maronites are the premier group among the Lebanese and even overall among the Arabs. What this means is that MOST Arab-Brazilians will be from a Western leaning Community.

Maronites, even though they speak Arabic, have thought of themselves as almost European Westerners, and Western Christian (Catholics) rather than identifying as Arab or Easterners.

This probably explains the moderation among most Arab-Brazilians. The Westernized Maronites set the tone. Compare this to the radicalized Arab-Chileans where Palestinian Christians of Syrian Orthodox extraction set the tone.

Notice the introduction by a Lebanese Maronite Catholic Archbishop. As noted, most Arab immigration to Brazil was Christian. This is changing, but Muslims are still a small minority among the Arab community; and they are facing a very strong Evangelical Revival which is sweeping all of South America, and especially Brazil.

I cannot help with the translation – I have enough problems with Spanish, let alone Portuguese – but those of you who speak Portuguese are free to comment.

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