First and foremost is the gulf between men and women – nowhere more stark than in the Arabian Gulf States the only place in the world where women die younger than men, and they have to use all of their feminine wiles to get what they want. There is a traditional story of the man who bought an old lamp in the bazaar, rubbed it and out popped a Genie who granted him a wish. The man wanted to visit America but was afraid of flying or of drowning in the Atlantic. The Genie said building a bridge or a tunnel would cost zillions. Think of something simpler. So the man said he wanted to understand women. The Genie said, “Do you want a bridge or a tunnel.”
That story comes from The Persian Gulf, the same body of water as The Arabian Gulf, but separated by the deep gulf between Saudi Arabian Sunna Islam, and Persian (Iranian) Shia Islam. You can never escape religion in The Gulf – and so you have the gulf between Christian and Muslim (they still talk about The Crusades), and the deeper and bloodier gulf between Muslim and Jew – a 7.000 year feud bewteen Semitic tribes.
The countries surrounding The Gulf are barren and fiery deserts. Allah balanced this hell on earth by giving them the fabulous wealth of huge oil deposits – a mixed blessing. Western greed for cheap and abundant energy saw them disrupt traditional tribal cultures and pour billons of petro-dollars into the pockets of corrupt despots. Glittering arenas of western decadence developed first in Tehran, and then Dubai and Bahrain, while the majority of the population continued their Biblical existence in dire poverty – a potentially explosive gulf between the haves and the have-nots
Skilled jobs went to highly paid Americans, and Europeans (all Christians strangely enough) , and menial work went to poorly paid Pakistanis, Sri Lankans and Indonesians (all Muslims strangely enough). Yet another gulf.
And finally there is my Gulf.
My Book THE GULF ” Reaping the Whirlwind” uses the fascinating, atavistic and sometimes barbaric world of The Arabian/Persian Gulf as its background, and is based on my 40 years experience in the international oil industry. It is journalistic, based on events I have witnessed, but is a work of fiction and imagination. You can sample it on amazon.com – and buy the paperback online from them or thebookdepositry.co.uk (with free worldwide shipping) – or if you have a Kindle you can download from Amazon’s Kindle store.
Thanks a million – I hope.