Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 31 October 2020

Agrabah politics

Can Aladdin start a real discussion about the Middle East in America? Courtesy Disney
Can Aladdin start a real discussion about the Middle East in America? Courtesy Disney

A week of international ridicule over a poll that found about 30 per cent of Republican voters supported military aggression against the fictional Arab city of Agrabah has not sent the story away on a magic carpet. In a new poll conducted by WPA research, 44 per cent of Democratic voters questioned would support the United States taking in refugees from Agrabah, a made-up location from Disney’s Aladdin. Roughly 28 per cent said they were indifferent.

The latest poll sheds additional light on the mainstream American sentiment about the Middle East. It is clear that ignorance about the geography and people of the region extends across party lines. Additionally, Americans are torn between military and diplomatic options.

While the premise of the poll inspires a laugh, there might be a silver lining. Debate about what to do in Agrabah is opening a bipartisan discussion about bigger events in the region. Given the challenges, we all need this discussion now more than ever.

Updated: December 28, 2015 04:00 AM