Under the same sun

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It is a fact that the sun rises in the east and it sets on the west, but it is not a fact that both extremes are like different planets with opposite realities, as some people like to try to see it.

Africa, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East are under the same sun. Distinctly, these continents have different cultures, religions, and in simple words, ways of life, but it is important to point out that there are a lot of connections between them and there are even historical links that a large majority of people do not know of.

This is a new era where the differences take an important place, where the contrasts have more relevance. In Latin America, for example, the view on the Middle East sometimes seems to be excessively polarized, and these kinds of opinions are not good for a rich exchange of ideas.

Latin America is a multicultural continent with a lot of foreign influence, a mix of races. Chile, for example, has a great immigrant population from Europe and also an Arabic community that has left a lasting imprint on the country. This community came to Chile at the end of the XIX Century and some numerical estimations show that there are approximately 60.000-75.000 persons with Arabic roots.  However, Chile is not an exception in the entire continent and other countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Colombia have their own Arabic population.

The link between the Middle East and Latin America has continued until today because this connection is not only about economic exchange, or the resources that both continents can sell or buy. There is a cultural component between Latin America and the Middle East and this creates a need to understand each society better.

In Latin America the immigration footprint has a history spanning more than one century. This presence is still alive and continues with generations of Syrians, Lebanese and Palestinians (the biggest Arabic communities in the continent).

Like other immigrant groups, the Arabs have also contributed to the development of the Latin American society. This contribution, to the construction of a new society and identity in the continent, reaches the most diverse areas, such as the arts, science, economics, culture and politics.

The Arab communities are not perceived to be a close group. In contrast, they mixed with the Latin population, which led to people belonging to more than one ethnic group.

As a final point, these are historical facts that not everyone seems to know of, but with more information there would most likely be a better and more highly-developed discussion. This view that these two sides are polar opposites, for example about the crisis in Middle East or the repercussions on the West, always appears as a “paradigm of difference” with the typical extreme positions, especially when it is about religion. In conclusion, the status quo does not want to change, instead it prefers to separate continents, countries and cultures, as if the sun in Middle East is not the same as it is here.

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