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Arab world has to change or wither away
April 5, 2002 10:20 AM   Subscribe

Arab world has to change or wither away Today's editorial from the Daily Star newspaper (Lebanon). "Arab countries are governed by systems and structures designed in another era, one that is never coming back ... It is a recipe for disaster whose results are on display for all to see." Is this just grass-is-greener longing, or a real argument for political and economic reforms?
posted by skyboy (18 comments total)

 
it is interesting to see some of the same ideas expressed in so many articles--written from a non-arab point of view--echoed in that article From an Arab point of view.
posted by th3ph17 at 10:30 AM on April 5, 2002


This seems like a good read for those who say that all Arab media, without exception, is a government-backed cesspool of hate and corruption. I've seen this POV re the Arab press on many a warblogger's site.

<halfkidding>Wondering: do we need a MidEastFilter spinoff, ala SpoFi?</halfkidding>
posted by andnbsp at 10:40 AM on April 5, 2002


Crap, that looked fine in preview. Sigh.
posted by andnbsp at 10:42 AM on April 5, 2002


Just because 1% or 2% of the Arab press is not rigged (on any given day) doesn't mean there's no problem. Also, show me editorials wherein the various tyranical regimes and terrorist organizations are criticized with specifics.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:46 AM on April 5, 2002


I'm not saying that there's not a problem, I'm saying that it's refreshing to see that there is some Arab press that's not rigged.

And I'm sure the Israeli media is just as biased towards their own interests. It's not a black and white situation, except maybe in the sense that both sides have their share of murderous, vengeful monsters and manipulative demagogues. Now that's a fact that's cut n dry and clear as day.
posted by andnbsp at 11:04 AM on April 5, 2002


I'm saying that it's refreshing to see that there is some Arab press that's not rigged.

Yes. Rereshing

And I'm sure the Israeli media is just as biased towards their own interests.

No.

posted by ParisParamus at 11:11 AM on April 5, 2002


I'm saying that it's refreshing to see that there is some Arab press that's not rigged.

Yes. Rereshing

And I'm sure the Israeli media is just as biased towards their own interests.

No.

posted by ParisParamus at 11:11 AM on April 5, 2002


ParisParamus, would you please at least attempt to try and see things from the other side every once in a while???

Of course the Israeli media is just as biased towards their own interests, just as you are.

It's the inability to see any other view, or even attempt to understand the others' side or the bigger picture that's causing these horrible problems between the Arabs and Israeli's right now.
posted by aacheson at 11:24 AM on April 5, 2002


Of course China, and the Soviet Union, and Cuba, and Iraq and Saudi Arabia and North Korea have media which are as open and objective as our own. WTF are you attempting to purvey?
posted by ParisParamus at 11:35 AM on April 5, 2002


No.

Prove it.

While Israeli op-ed pages might not spew the blatently hate-filled filth that we see so often in Arab papers, I find it hard to believe that the Israeli media is not the least bit biased in favor of their nation's geopolitical intertests.

And Debka in particular absolutely must be taken with a grain or three of salt.

I'm far from a Palestinian apologist, but again, this is not a black and white situation. Or, to put it more bluntly, everybody involved in this conflict, from the frusturated and brainwashed suicide bomber to the house-bulldozing Israeli military to the media to the heads of state on both sides are all acting like complete fucking idiots.

On preview: Of course China, and the Soviet Union, and Cuba, and Iraq and Saudi Arabia and North Korea have media which are as open and objective as our own. WTF are you attempting to purvey?

WTF are you attempting to purvey? I think your vitriol is overstepping your coherency.
posted by andnbsp at 11:42 AM on April 5, 2002


This article remined me of a speech given by General Musharraf last summer, [here][here] that touches on many of the same points. Musharraf includes this gem: We can improve the law and order situation by merely holding our tongues. If we become a tolerant society where people with different outlooks can live peacefully, investors will come, and goes on about how the rest of the world seems to be passing the Islamic world in terms of prospertiy and education.

I'm guessing this sort of self-criticism in this article contains ideas that are being thrown around quite a bit in the Islamic world.
posted by bobo123 at 11:44 AM on April 5, 2002


I've heard of The Big Lie, but this is more like The Small one: we're all biased; we're all the same; we're all equally wrong...

Israel has an extraordinarily vibrant press. Israel has a Right and a Left and a Center politically. While sedition may be a crime in Israel, as it is here, comparing the press in the Arab world, certainly the main parts of it, is simply absurd; has CNN now taken over Metafilter?

I didn't say that Israel's press or public opinion is completely lucid, but its way, way, way better than Lebanon's, that country being a client-state of Syria, which is a dangerous despotic state. So, I reinterate: you are dead wrong to equate the Arab and Israeli press.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:55 AM on April 5, 2002


Yes, that is a sane, western-style editorial. And guess what percentage of the Arab world will ever read it?
posted by ParisParamus at 11:59 AM on April 5, 2002


Yes, that was a strong speech by Musharraf, and I hope that this is the direction moved towards. But it isn't enough to make me feel optimistic.
posted by bittennails at 12:10 PM on April 5, 2002


Or, to put it more bluntly, everybody involved in this conflict, from the frusturated and brainwashed suicide bomber to the house-bulldozing Israeli military to the media to the heads of state on both sides are all acting like complete fucking idiots.

HEAR HEAR. Well put. I wish they could find people with cooler heads in that area to do the discussing of a peaceful means out of this mess.

Until leaders on both sides are found who have the balls to stand up to the extremists of their parties, this situation in the middle east will not get markedly better.
posted by aacheson at 12:59 PM on April 5, 2002


Thank you, aacheson. The folks who vehemently insist that the atrocities in this conflict are not multilteral are just completely over my head. I should get out of this thread before I blow a gasket trying to get where they're coming from.

So, I reinterate: you are dead wrong to equate the Arab and Israeli press

And you're dead wrong if you think that the Israeli press have absolutely no (figurative) blood on their hands. They're less guilty of bias than the Arab press, and they certainly don't print government-sanctioned hate speech, but there is a pro-israeli bias in their media, just as there is an (extremist) Anti-semitic bias in arab papers (and unfortunately, the blood on the hands of the Arab media is far from figurative).

Drawing comparisons between two different things is much, much different than equating. If you want to troll, at least get your semantics straight.

Au revoir, 16118.
posted by andnbsp at 2:00 PM on April 5, 2002


Unfortunately this thread has been derailed by the (wrong) assumption that the Arab press is the equivalent of that in a totalitarian state. It isn't -- yes, like many countries' media, it will reflect the interests of that people. One great advantage the Arabs (and to a lesser extent other Muslims such as in Pakistan) have is a strong tradition of letters and a vibrant press -- and Beirut was once the cultural capital of the entire region, a status it hopes to regain now that it's rebuilt. Perhaps it's not completely as "free" as we might like, often not guaranteed at anything like Western standards, but it certainly doesn't simply operate by diktat.

Anyway, I think bobo is right -- there is a minority debate that has been raised, again, about how to get the Muslim world out of the hole in which it finds itself: as Musharraf put it, Germany’s GDP is twice that of the entire [Islamic world], though we are one-fourth of the world’s population sitting on 70 per cent of its energy resources. That's a stark evaluation. Its precursors in the west include Fareed Zakaria's How to Save the Arab World (Zakaria is an Indian Muslim, educated in America, now editor of Newsweek). Similarly, this article concludes: If more conflict is in the offing, past and present military and diplomatic struggles with Israel are an accurate guide as to how badly overmatched the Arab side will continue to be. This last is a distinctly minority viewpoint right now -- the Hezbollah, Hamas, and Fatah fanatics actually crow that with the latest wave of suicide bombings, they can taste victory, the final destruction of Israel.

And even in this publication, this is but one column among many which promulgate more conventional views: West Bank Sees Replay of 1982; Arabs should speak harshly to Israel and carry a big stick but also Sharon isn't out to kill Arafat.

One would have to assume this paper, in English, is directed at a Westernized elite in Lebanon -- one which is already predisposed to a freer debate, to looking at the situation through more than just native eyes. In that regard its influence will be negligible. But if Lebanon does regain its former status as one of the more successful (and indisputable) Arab democracies, it would go a long way toward providing an example of the kind of society to which the others tates should aspire.
posted by dhartung at 10:43 PM on April 5, 2002


"If we become a tolerant society where people with different outlooks can live peacefully, investors will come," and goes on about how the rest of the world seems to be passing the Islamic world in terms of prospertiy and education.
Foreign investment in Israel's technology sector plummeted 65% in 2001 to $2.8bn compared with a record $7.9bn in 2000. Most of the fall was due to a 78% drop in overseas issues by Israeli technology companies, which amounted to only $500m in 2001 compared with $3.7bn in 2000.
ironically i guess the same fate could befall israel. this eetimes article arstechnica linked to (referenced above) talks about the economic consequences to israel's tech sector of escalating conflict, which has become a deterrent to investment capital.

I wish they could find people with cooler heads in that area to do the discussing of a peaceful means out of this mess.
|We hereby declare that we shall continue serving in the Israel Defense Forces in any mission that serves Israel’s defense.
|The missions of occupation and oppression do not serve this purpose – and we shall take no part in them.
maybe the IDF refusniks should get a NPP! (via haddock :)
posted by kliuless at 7:10 AM on April 6, 2002


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