Re: “A post-modern Muhammad and me” (Sept. 25). I am a Yale graduate, a journalist and an Emirati, and I found Eden’s essay to be one of the more irresponsible and misguided pieces of writing I’ve read on the topic of Emirati culture. It was unjust, even for an opinion piece, and especially for a Yale publication. Though I have been anything but subtle in my vocal and written criticism of the Emirati socioeconomic metamorphosis and its ramifications, I don’t think it’s possible to overestimate the importance of being well-informed, particularly when writing about our own experiences with a compromised degree of objectivity.
If the real enemy is ignorance, then Muhammad — a sheltered, indolent, spoiled brat — may be waging his own personal jihad against himself (and his lamentable genitalia). But this unpleasant character, as conveyed by Eden at his own expense, was not the mind on which the opportunity for enlightenment was lost. The tragedy here is the opportunity squandered by the writer himself, in his myopic and implausible recounts of a dialogue that is risible at best. Neither young man comes across as likable or sophisticated, but I expected greater potential for diplomacy and wisdom from a young Yalie, and was disappointed.
It would behoove Eden to seek out a fair education on Arab thought. Among other things, he might find that his implication that Jews are unwelcome in the UAE was oversimplified and inaccurate, though I’d be interested in learning more about the perceptions of Eden’s UAE-residing father.
If Eden had a sincere interest in philosophical discourse with Emirati contemporaries, I wish he’d done more homework and interviewed an Emirati at Yale, now home to citizens of the Gulf who represent the diametrical opposite of Muhammad. Indeed, Muhammad is hardly a worthy ambassador of Emiratis or Muslims, just as an extremist, backwoods-living born-again Christian radical does nothing to dispel myths and misconceptions about who Americans really are, how they think, and what is wonderful about and unique to American life.
Santa Fe, N.M.
The writer is a 2001 graduate of Branford College.