"...and I... I long for the vanished gardens of Corduba. .."
I love that line too. I don't know if I could pick a single favorite line, but that's definitely up there.
""Being an 'Arab' will be thornier than you think." An overlooked bit of wisdom, ignored by the West to this day."
I don't know about "ignored". I'd say the West has deliberately made it more complicated than it had to be, drawing all those colonial borders (Churchill infamously bragged that he created the country of Jordan with a stroke of his pen on a Sunday afternoon), handing other people's countries around to their puppets like a bag of chips (the worst case being the Balfour Declaration and backing the Zionist movement, the repercussions of which will continue to ripple for generations), consistently interfering with the internal politics of the Arab world. They deliberately wanted to keep the Arabs from uniting, to keep them divided and weak, dependent and controllable. When governments have proved uncontrollable, the West has resorted to coups and invasions, and proxy wars like what's going on now in Syria, a Contra war to overthrow an indigenous Arab government. Colonialism and neo-colonialism are the main reasons why the Arab situation is so bad today. The West has done a tremendous amount of harm there over the last 100 years. And it wasn't out of innocent naivete, but conscious malice. The Arab peoples should have been left alone to sort their own affairs out. If they had, things would never have gotten to where they are today.