Posts Tagged ‘egypt’

Sensationalizing Orientalism: The Media’s Hummus and Kebab Analysts

“It is quite common to hear high officials in Washington and elsewhere speak of changing the map of the Middle East, as if ancient societies and myriad peoples can be shaken up like so many peanuts in a jar.”

— Edward W. Said

The word ‘analyst’, routinely fatigued by the mainstream media (MSM), has become comparable to the sound of nails against a chalk-board.

When the media finally caught on to the explosive uprisings in the Middle East they seemingly had  ’experts’ on Tunisia, Egypt, Libya etc. waiting in queue; in this context the term “expert”  being any individual who has convienently waltzed through the most westernized boroughs or whose ventures are pock-marked with xenophobic back-wash outlining categorical divisions between “The West” and “The Arab World”. Evidently, any correspondent who has spent a number of days in Cairo, Beirut et al. on a network tab while downing a falafel sandwich and a bottle of Pepsi was being described as a qualified professional – being able to spit out a number of Arabic words, in the harshest accent mind you, solidified said ‘experts’ proficiency on the subject.

The mainstream media enjoys its vast selection of polished orientalist’s who’ve had an elitist ‘kebab and hummus’ experience, thus have supreme authority over Arab culture in its entirety.

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26

02 2011

Revolution Cry

I haven’t felt a rush of pride quite like the one I experienced while watching the revolution in Egypt. It was so heartening to see something relatively non-violent (on the part of the protesters, anyway) and so grass-roots. This was something that the people really wanted, and they persisted. It was beautiful to see. It’s the kind of event that would have made Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi proud.

I’m also thrilled to see that the seeds of revolution planted in Tunisia and Egypt are expanding to other parts of the Arab world. Libya, Yemen and Bahrain are the latest countries banding together to overthrow dictators.

I’ve long suspected that if the United States hadn’t interfered in conflicts in Iraq, the people would have taken up the cause themselves to create a more organic overthrow. There’s only so much time that anybody can stand under an oppressive regime.
I do hope, though, that the pictures of violence we’ve seen by rulers unwilling to leave in Libya and Bahrain abet.

It’s sad and disgusting to see Muslim rulers take out their frustration at their population in such a terrifying way. There’s obviously a change coming, and they’re too reluctant to bend to the people’s will.

It’s also been pretty maddening to see American pundits, mostly conservatives but also a fair share of others, who aren’t happy with the way things happened in Egypt. There’s concern over the Muslim Brotherhood taking control. I’ve heard people saying that democracy is just not meant for Arabs. It’s apparently not “part of their DNA.”
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26

02 2011

What about Libya?

The Arab world is fired up right now. Paving the way, the people of Tunisia and Egypt have successfully removed their dictators and are in the process of rebuilding their countries. The revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt have sparked anti-government movements across the entire Arab world, after decades of stagnation. And there is no turning back now.

Furious protests are happening now in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen. Governments are scrambling to do everything they can to stop them, by any means necessary. Still, hundreds of thousands of people are out in the streets protesting with no fear, ready to die in the name of freedom.

Libya is in one of the most dire situations right now. Libyans have suffered under Gaddafi’s tyranny for 42 years. As the longest running dictator in the Arab world, Gaddafi has ruled the nation with an iron fist. Please don’t be fooled by his perceived harmless, flamboyant dress or eccentric behavior. And Arabs, please don’t be bamboozled by his supposed anti-imperialist rhetoric and criticisms of Israel.  His actions speak louder than his words.

Gaddafi’s regime has a poor record for human rights.  He is responsible for the arbitrary arrest, torture and murder of countless prisoners, even without charge or trial. The judiciary is controlled by the regime, and there is no right to a fair public trial. The rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly, association and religion are restricted.  Although Gaddafi pretends to be some sort of defender of the Palestinians, he ordered the ethnic cleansing of 30,000 Palestinian refugees from Libya.  His criticisms of Israel are merely a way to deflect criticisms of his own regime. Gaddafi has maintained his rule by using his wealth, playing up the tribal loyalties in Libya and instilling fear in the population.

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20

02 2011

Apologies for an Empire

The Middle East is often spoke of by the elite and their apprenticed citizens in a way an overlord would speak of his slave; commanding, repressive and domineering. For far too long the West has remained the dominant, hegemonic entity in the region – that is until recently. As of late their role in the Middle East has been threatened, ironically by the very ideal they enjoy planting in territories they occupy  - Democracy.

The fall of Mubarak’s Regime has turned many stomachs, especially those in Israel and Washington. Israel has lost a decisive collaborator and Washington, a vital puppet and strategic ally.

On June 2, 2009, no more than 9 months ago, while speaking to BBC’s Justin Webb prior to his widely-acclaimed speech in Cairo, President Obama refers to recently ousted Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak as a “…stalwart ally of the United States” and a “…force for stability and good”.

If we look at the statements stemming from the Obama Administration and its actions, prior to Mubarak’s much awaited resignation, we will not only witness a cascade of blatant hypocrisy but the pathetic attempts of a waning empire to more or less save-face as they stand face to face with a region ready to break free of imperialist shackles.

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13

02 2011