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April 22, 2003

Arab Media’s Conduct During War Indicative of a Deeper Malaise

Some arab sources beginning to take notice of delusional perspectives and call for realistic thinking and portrayal of events, as noted in this piece in Arabnews
DOHA, 21 April 2003 — The Iraqi people brought down the statue of the tyrant who had oppressed them for 35 years. Millions saw the wretched end to one of the most loathsome and bloody regimes in modern history. With the fall of the regime and the statue, other things fell as well. The great analysts and strategic experts had exaggerated the bloody and oppressive regime and greatly overestimated its strengths.

So now that the first breath of freedom has been seen, where are all the things the Arab media promised us before the war? Where are the decisive moments and the invading forces buried under Baghdad’s walls? Where are the inner-city war and the street-by-street battles?

The Arab media succeeded in deceiving the people. On the whole, the deception was worse than in 1967. Fatwas succeeded — “Rise up for jihad!” — in burying some misguided volunteers and suicide bombers. The misguided fatwas did nothing but confirm those who were already miserable in their misery while those responsible for the fatwas continued to enjoy life. What are the masses now saying in their happiness to see an end to the tyrant whose photograph they rip apart and beat with their sandals? Only yesterday, they fell in line, actively demonstrating in the street with his photograph, repeating “Here we are, ready to sacrifice ourselves with our souls and blood for you!” And he led them into defeat!

For how long will we be cursed by attaching ourselves emotionally to defeated heroes? Why has it been written about us that we are a nation which does not learn from our defeats? And within one generation, there are other nations who have suffered defeat once and have risen from its ashes.

The question is: Why did the Arab media consent to align itself with the Iraqi regime while at the same time pretending that it was with the people?

It is my view that the answer was stated by the director of one of the satellite channels: “It is competition. In such circumstances, either we win the viewers or others win them.” Thus he summarized the way of most of those in the Arab media. Their aim is to win the street at any price. The street is emotional and has little confidence in the Americans. It can be won by fanning the flames of its emotions and encouraging its feelings with dreams of a great Arab victory and a great American defeat.[more]