And the area is not discrete: its symbols affect outsiders - as Jerusalem and Mecca particularly do, so that the Middle East becomes a focal point for larger communities. Islam is encoded in Arabic and sprang from an Arabian environment so that today Mecca is the target of prayer of the whole Islamic community of which only a small fraction is Arab. In even more complex ways, Israel affects the scattered Jewish communities of the world who since the migrations nearly 2,000 years ago have dreamed of 'tomorrow in Jerusalem'. Of these things everyone is aware but what is even more important for those who live in the M.iddle East, outside events and memories have altered their lives. Probably no recent events have been seared into any people more painfully than the European holocaust into the Jewish community, and the memories of European imperialism still haunt the Arab political mind.