Monday, September 01, 2003

Al-Jazeera: Covering the Great Satan

The English-language edition of Al-Jazeera is now on line. Some preferatory comments are in order, by Al-Jazeera's management:
"When asked whether or not the United States is doing a better job getting its message out to the Arab world, [Al-Jazeera Washington Bureau Chief] Al Mirazi quipped, "Uncle Ben's Rice is different than Uncle Condi Rice, " alluding to the negative reception in the region of the 'repackaging' of the American message without thought to the message itself."
-- U.S-Qatar Journal, Published by the U.S.-Qatar Business Council, No. 63. The full text can be found here.
"In the first few days following the launch of attacks against Iraqi targets in December, Al-Jazeera TV broadcast interviews or speeches by several senior Iraqi officials, including President Saddam Hussein. On 5 January . . . it broadcast the Iraqi president's Army Day speech in which he called on Arabs to overthrow their leaders if they were allied to the US. Al-Jazeera's Director-General Muhammad Jassim said: 'The American CNN and British BBC were also considered ... but Saddam preferred Al-Jazeera for its credibility and wide audience in the Arab world...'"
-- BBC, "Qatar's Al-Jazeera Livens Up Arab TV Scene," January 7, 1999. The full text can be found here.
Now, some current Al-Jazeera stories (descriptions are mine):

Possessed by evil djinn, U.S.-made Apache helicopters take off without pilots and attack Gaza City, killing a "resistance activist" and some less-important people.

Iranian security officers being investigated for the "semi-intentional" beating death of a Canadian journalist caught using a camera; Canadian officials murder an Iranian youth in revenge.

Hispanic American troops are not motivated by patriotism, or duty; they are culled from an intentionally-created underclass and used as cannon fodder by rich whites who offer money and citizenship as prizes for survival.

US occupiers again fail to read minds, resulting in the death of Shia cleric Al-Hakim as Iraq slides further into "chaos." Former president Saddam Hussein offers peace, tolerance to all Iraqis.

"Brutal onslaught" against Iraqi people motivated by greed for Iraq's wealth, which has caused the U.S. to plan spending $2 billion of its own funds on the country.

U.S. occupation tactics of torturing and killing Iraqi civilians are provoking peoples' resistance groups.
It all just goes to show how dumb the rest of us are -- only people who have GS ranks and Ivy-league diplomas can see past these stories to the great opportunity for transforming Baghdad into the Peoria of Islam.

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