Jadaliyya delivers yet another promise to its faithful readers. Soon, Jadaliyya is scheduled to finally launch the much-needed A(T)YP (Arab (Tikram) Yoga Page) page, designed to promote greater relaxation within high-threat communities in the Arab World. For decades, some say centuries, Arabs have been angry, and have not been able to deal with the vagaries of modernity. A quick glance at twitter and the most popular Arab facebook pages proves that even the cool and thoroughly westernized Arabs get angry sometimes. Theories abound regarding the root causes of their rage, but only Hollywood was able to capture the eternal monolithic essence that drives Arabs, with ample analytical nuance and rigor. True, Bernard Lewis’ captivating piece on the Roots of Muslim Rage pinned down some of the historical causes of their anger by aptly drawing on both philology and practice, and honing in on Islam (and Islamicized subjects) as the unit of analysis. Thanks to Fareed Zakaria, we learned that though Bernard (pronounced “beghnaaagh” in Beighuti fghench) has his finger on the pulse, he just did not quite get it, for not all Muslims are angry. Through meticulous research right after the attacks of 9/11, Zakaria identified the Arab component of “Islam” as the culprit. Hence, the task of taming the Muslims and severely Arab individuals has now shrunk by about twenty to twenty-five percent.
However, even within the smaller pool, many observed that not all Arabs are angry. From Mauritania to Yemen, and from Egypt to the Islands of the Comoros (the bone marrow of the Arab League), several Arabs have been witnessed as being not angry, which really shocked former Vice-President Dick Cheney and some Washington DC-based think tanks who rushed to produce more stellar policy papers to justify these puzzling trends. Academics within think-tanks and in actual Universities also chimed in to explain the anomalies at hand. First, it was thought that those non-angry Arabs were soothed by a robust belief in the free-market and the subtle sexual connotation in the interaction between the forces of supply and demand as they glide and transpose on graphs, often with oil as lubricant. It turns out this was a German flick, intended for adults.
More persuasive explanatory theses were advanced and, based on rigorous data analysis combining regression discontinuity design with exact matching techniques, a study in the Journal of Economists Wannabes, an allegedly peer-reviewed political science journal, showed last year that ceteris paribus, non-angry Arabs were more likely to make statements disavowing terrorism and “jihadist” groups that are not aligned with US Mideast policy (“jihad” pronounced properly as “djeeeeehaaaaaad,” where the duration of pronunciation must exceed 3 seconds, to equate the duration of pronunciation of “Medraaaaaaassas,” which apparently means schools; in fact, both words are sufficient to capture the essence of the contemporary politics of the Middle East and Pakistan, and Islam, of course. Oh, wait, the Arab Uprisings are changing some of that, giving new meanings to Mamdani’s “Good Muslim, Bad Muslim” in reference to US-Egypt relations. But Mamdani’s formula endures—perhaps by adding “naughty” Muslims who can be good but sometimes must be bad to placate their constituency). The difference in predicted probability is statistically distinguishable from zero. While warning against ad hoc explanations not supported by the data, the authors used a paragraph-long case-study to suggest that the difference is probably attributed to the fact that non-angry Arabs practice yoga.
Building on the social scientific consensus embodied by this one study, Jadaliyya has decided to take it to the next level and launch its Arab (Tikram) Yoga Page (A(T)YP), aimed at advancing current scholarly debates on the impact of yoga on political, social, economic, cultural, linguistic (and did we mention political?) life. Not only will A(T)YP provide readers with cutting edge research situating yoga in Arab society and culture and politics, and . . . and, yes, governance, but the page will also contain educational videos on how to get the most out of your Bikram yoga practice, and how to best manage the tension between being a modern-day hipster yogi and a faithful, devout Arab.
The Page’s launching articles include a contribution by Mohamed ‘Agwa titled “Yoga and Arab Youth: An Overview of the Field,” in which he summarizes and critiques the findings from the aforementioned Journal of Economists Wannabes article. Because the article ended up being too short, accompanying the piece is a bonus excerpt from ‘Agwa’s new release Famous Quotes from Shaaban Abdel Reheem, 2nd Edition; With A New Introduction by Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail. Contributions also include an article titled “Yoga and Arab Anger Revisited” by Um Essam and her sister-in-law `Adalaat. Um Essam examines recent public opinion data from the Arab world to show that only thirty-eight percent of youth in Egypt, Algeria and Comoros practice yoga. Only fifteen percent of the sample knew what a half-camel pose is, and only two percent were able to perform it correctly. The results attenuate conventional argument that yoga is in fact contributing to greater moderation among Arab youth. As previously hypothesized, Um Essam’s analysis shows that there was no tension between Mosque attendance and practicing Vinyasa. Ahmad Ashtanga analyzes recent shifts in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s discourse on the question of Bikram and whether they would be willing to support a constitutional amendment that would allow women to become Bikram instructors. The prominent Aleppan writer who shall remain anonymous produced another breathtaking study on “The Paradigmatic Grape Leap: From Noga to Yoga (bidoun fustuq halabi).” Here, the writer distinguishes among protesters across the Arab world based on whether they attend yoga classes or simply watch it in their living rooms. Turkish soap operas were identified as having a similar effect on Arab bodies, though . . . . ok, we’re bored and must get back to work.
If you are interested in submitting articles to the Jadaliyya (Tikram) Yoga Page, please send submissions to BonneyM@jadaliyya.com (Please include a bio and a yoga position). Namaste.
(This piece was very slightly modified in peace)
A Note from Tikram Page Editors: With a happy, smiling face, the Tikram Page Editors would like to express disappointment at the negative energy that some souls have tried to inject into this world through their (so far, unsuccessful) attempts to hijack Tikram’s initiative and subvert our journey toward peace and tranquility. Our yogis can read about these attempts, here, here, here, and here. We would like to take this opportunity to assure our readers, particularly those of Arab background, that the journey we have started together will continue uninterrupted, and that no negative energy could possibly stand in the way of our beautiful commitment to help you turn your violent, jihadist, harram energy into positive, happy, halal energy that we can all, as human beings, enjoy and benefit from. As for those who try to make our journey more difficult, we will not respond to their energy in kind. But make no mistake. If this won’t stop, karma will return them to the world as bitter, angry, and suffering from extreme scoliosis! If all else fails, we`ll just f*** them up.
Always remember: Positive energy, yogis! And for those who are doing the fabulous 30-day Ramadan Challenge, remember to stay extra hydrated. Namaste.