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griefWhile I can empathize with pictures of mothers wailing, or people of any age wailing, over the death of a young person, even in those cases I think Westerners are much more restrained in their grief compared to Arabic peoples (not that this is a good thing). This picture of grief for the recently assassinated ex-prime minister of Lebabon, Rafik Hariri, however, really highlights an interesting cultural difference.

Note the crying and wailing of grown men at a public funeral. Reuters states:
Men wept uncontrollably as the procession wound through Beirut streets plastered with posters of the Sunni Muslim billionaire slain in a suspected suicide car bombing on Monday.
I just can not imagine this happening in the West for any man of that stature: he was old, had grown children, and out of official power (unlike President Kennedy, who was young, had little kids, and was killed in office--further, I think only for President Kennedy can you say many adults wept). I'm truly bemused. I wonder if it is merely more acceptable, or encouraged, for grown men to emote in Arabic countries. In addition, or alternatively, perhaps there is some sort of fealty signal going on, where men weep in order to signal to others their deep allegiance to this man's organization.

Note: I am, in general, against premature death, especially anthropogenic death, and have no opinion or understanding of Mr Hariri and his party, who or what they support.

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