Blood ties between Arabs and Mexicans? Oh, man, that’ll drive Lou Dobbs really nuts.

Dear Mexican: First of all, please don't think that I'm a self-loathing Mexican; I was born in the United States to northern Mexican parents. As far as I know, my ancestry is just Indian, Spanish and a little French. For some strange reason, I have developed an intense fascination and, you might say, love for Arab culture, language, cuisine, etc., especially Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian, Palestinian and Iraqi, and I don't even have a drop of Arab blood in me. I hope to visit Lebanon someday and Palestine (notice I said "Palestine" and not Israel), Syria, Jordan and Iraq. I love the dabka, kibbe, kaffiyehs, qahwa, falafel, hummos bi tahini, baqlawa, Lebanese singer Fairuz, the ruins at Baalbek, the city of Beirut and, hell, too many other things too numerous to mention. Do you think I could be of Lebanese ancestry and not know it? I mean, there ARE descendants of Lebanese immigrants in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico. Would a DNA test tell me what my ancestry is, and could it turn up libaneses in my family tree? Let me know.

—Wannabe Arab, aka El Libanés

Dear Wab: You're not one of those idiot Chicanos who ridiculously, insultingly compares the plight of Mexicans in the United States to that of the Palestinians in their homeland, are you? I can't tell for certain if you have Middle Eastern genes without a DNA sample, and I'm not interested in obtaining one from tu unless you're a chica with bouncy double-D's. But your chances that the sangre of the Levant courses through your veins is more likely than gabachos may think. As you noted, Lebanese did migrate to Mexico throughout the 20th century and contributed to the patria in ways both positive (tacos al pastor, Salma Hayek) and negative (billionaire Carlos Slim Helu), having the biggest presence in Mexico City and the states of Puebla, Veracruz and the Yucatan. I recommend you buy Theresa Alfaro-Velcamp's excellent 2007 study, So Far From Allah, So Close to Mexico: Middle Eastern Immigrants in Modern Mexico, in which she examined thousands of genealogical records of Lebanese and Syrians who moved to Mexico. Also, don't forget that most Mexican uncles have enough Moorish blood in them to pass as Saddam Hussein in a pinch.


Ask the Mexican at,, find him on Facebook, Twitter, or write via snail mail at: Gustavo Arellano, P.O. Box 1433, Anaheim, CA 92815-1433!

Why is it that Mexicans feel like they have to tear up the store shelves? I work in the shoe department at a department store, and it looks like a bomb went off on our shelves after the families have finished. We even stand there and ask if we can help while we watch them tear it up.

—Nitwit for Nike

Dear Gabacho: Same reason everyone else does come Christmas: the search for the ever-elusive perfect pair of Chuck Taylor sneakers.

Why is it that Mexicans aren't as stressed as gringos? Even those living illegally, which must be nerve-racking.

—El Güey Gringito Confiado

Dear Gabachito: Because no matter how bad we have it, we'll always have it better than the Guatemalans.

CONFIDENTIAL TO: The Mexican government, which recently got its calzones in a bunch over a Burger King commercial aired in Spain that depicted an American cowboy and Mexican midget on friendly terms. At a time when drug lords dominate large swaths of Mexico and the country's three major industries (tourism, oil and migrant remittances) have dropped, you get worked up about a midget decked out in the tricolor? You know what's a bigger desecration to the Mexican nation? Ustedes. Poor Mexico: So far from God, so close to pendejo panistas.

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This is so sad, not knowing world history. Spain was not one united country until the marriage of  King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. At that time there were vast population areas of both Jews and Muslims. 

Jews had gone to and been in Spain for centuries, probably longer, some think since the days of King Solomon for trading, but since Spain was historically both a trade and military area for the Roman Empire, Jews from both Rome and the Middle East went to Spain.

After the birth of Islam in the 7th century C.E. traders from newly Islamicized lands (conversion by the sword as by ISSIS today) went to Spain...there was an actual Golden Age of learning in Southern Spain where Jews, Muslims and Christians lived in harmony and studied and shared theories and knowledge with one another.  The area is Granada, Cordaba , Southern Spain.The rest of Europe was in a dark, dark age, where learning had ceased, all but for a few. Holy writ (Bibles) were not permitted among the common folk. Jews did not have that prohibition nor did Muslims although that was a new religion (given by an "angel" not unlike Mormonism...interesting that Paul the Apostle warned the early Christians of new teaching coming from angels!)

In 1492 Ferdinand and Isabella expelled the Jews and the Inquisition began in earnest. Among the crews of the Nina, Pinta and the Santa Maria, his three ships, were many "conversos" those who, by blood and lineage were Jews or Arabs ("Moors") but, who for political reasons or simply to stay alive, had converted to Catholicism. They came to the new world, the Americas, and over the subsequent years more of these "Spaniards" , hundreds and hundreds of them, and later women and children also, came to find their fortunes and to escape the Inquisition...which amazingly followed some of them to the new world! Inquisitors went to Peru and Mexico!

The reason so many Mexicans look "Middle Eastern" is because they often have that in their lineage...they sometimes don't even recognize that they have Arabic or Jewish (Hebrew) names!

A good example is the name "Omar"... and if you hear the name "David" in Spanish it sounds like the Hebrew pronunciation. There is a lot of Middle Eastern  (Jews were originally Middle Eastern) blood in Spain , even today ,though Northern Spain was home to an ancient celtic people.


As far as I know, I am Mexican, a some Spanish but I think more Indian. I can relate to WannabeArab in that I have this fascination with Arab culture, cuisine and history as well as Mexican. I cook more middle eastern food than Mexican food at home. I have no idea where this came from. Anyhow, its beautiful we can find beauty in every culture and hope one day we can mix and make USA better than today.