Wednesday, March 07, 2007

What the Arab world is watching:

Remember this interview with Al-Jazeera Editor-In-Chief Ahmed Sheikh some time ago?

"Q: At whom are you angry?

A: It's not only the lack of democracy in the region that makes me worried. I don't understand why we don't develop as quickly and dynamically as the rest of the world. We have to face the challenge and say: enough is enough! When a President can stay in power for 25 years, like in Egypt, and he is not in a position to implement reforms, we have a problem. Either the man has to change or he has to be replaced. But the society is not dynamic enough to bring about such a change in a peaceful and constructive fashion.

Q: Why not?

In many Arab states, the middle class is disappearing. The rich get richer and the poor get still poorer. Look at the schools in Jordan, Egypt or Morocco: You have up to 70 youngsters crammed together in a single classroom. How can a teacher do his job in such circumstances? The public hospitals are also in a hopeless condition. These are just examples. They show how hopeless the situation is for us in the Middle East.

Q: Who is responsible for the situation?

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most important reasons why these crises and problems continue to simmer. The day when Israel was founded created the basis for our problems. The West should finally come to understand this. Everything would be much calmer if the Palestinians were given their rights.

Q: Do you mean to say that if Israel did not exist, there would suddenly be democracy in Egypt, that the schools in Morocco would be better, that the public clinics in Jordan would function better?

A: I think so."

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Here's another illustration of Al-Jazeera's version of "unfiltered truth". One has to read it to believe it:


"There is a term I frequently use: 'neo-Goebbelism.' 'Goebbelism' as in Goebbels..."

Interviewer: "You lie and lie until you believe it yourself."


Faysal Al-Qassem: "Exactly. Or until some of it gets into the minds of the masses. It goes back to Goebbels, Hitler’s famous information minister. In my opinion, these Goebbels deserves our sympathy… By Allah, he deserves our sympathy. They curse him, spit on him, and call him a liar, yet today, they have developed the theory of Goebbelism a thousand times more than during the Nazi period, because of the huge budgets of the media outlets, and because of the diversity of the media - the Internet, TV, journals, and so on. Goebbelism was never more prosperous than today."

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