Thursday, February 03, 2005

shouting your own business

When Libyan men are being businesslike with one another, in Arabic, they’re very loud, and you might even think aggressive. It must be a cultural matter, because the same style of discourse applies on Al Jazeera News discussion programmes. Mobile phones are relatively new here, and businessmen just love them. And every mobile user seems to love most of all the hands free option.

So the other day we’re trying to have lunch, and there are four suits at the next table. One of them is trying-out each and every ring tone on his phone. Two of the others are shouting at someone we can’t see, for no visible reason, like schizophrenics. The fourth is eating his lunch, without a trace of embarrassment.