An Advice to all Arab/ Muslim bloggers

You don't realize how little accuracy there is in network TV reporting until they cover a story in your hometown.  ~Robert Brault

I came across this post about a dog. As I understand, a guy did something nice to a dog, and as a result he deserves to be praised. 

Accidently, the guy who did the good deed is an Israeli. The outcome of the story is 25 comments so far. Ranging from complaining about Zionist Propaganda, to ranting about those who think it's a Zionist Propaganda and believe that it was only about a dog.

I personally have no problem with the post, and I didn't actually read it. But I read the subsequent post and the comments that it received and I would like to lend "Ange" the writer, and the rest of the Arab/ Muslim bloggers an advice. After all, it's free of charge, and the best thing about it is that you can totally ignore it. 

What is the most powerful weapon in the world? A nuclear bomb? A hydrogen bomb? No, I strongly believe that Media, in all its forms and shapes, is the biggest weapon of our time. As Arabs and Muslims, we clearly lack in this department. We are not powerful or influential. We don't own huge network channels like CNN, FOX, SKY, BBC or the rest. In many cases we lost wars before they even began. I'm not only talking about wars carried out by tanks and guns, and aiming at winning a territory or some natural resource. I'm referring to public opinion, and the way people look at us.

Now, if I came across Ange's post, I would have probably read it, and kept browsing without leaving a comment. I have my reasons not to leave a comment, but this is just me. However, some people were a little annoyed by the post and they made it clear in their comments. I understand why they felt so. Ange got offended, and extremely defensive. I also understand that. 

Sorry about the long introduction, but I had to put things in the right context. 

The problem, I think, is that there is always subtext to the things we write. or they write. Few weeks ago, when disaster hit Haiti, people across the world felt it. Countries and NGO's from across the globe sent aid. Either in the form of man power, clothes, medicine, food or Money. As I was watching CNN for a full day, there was one story that kept being repeated and repeated. I think it was a woman, maybe a man, who was saved from under the rubble. Her family and neighbours were ecstatic. Happy to have him/her back, which I totally I understand and respect. That person was a victim, and he/she deserved all the help possible. Then you have images of the local crowd chanting the name of the country where the crew who did the rescue come from. "Good job Israel, Good job Israel". This is the same Israel who is still killing, abusing and starving Palestinians while the world is watching. This is the same country that still illegally occupies the land of other people. This, of course, takes nothing from the good job the Israeli rescuers did, and we applaud them for that. But the question that baffled a lot of people like me I'm sure was, why all the emphasis on Israel? Why didn't CNN show the good jobs done by France, Germany, Cuba, Japan, Brazil or any of the other countries? I'm sure there were others? 

It's a world of propaganda. It serves to polish the image. They say, you are as good as your last deed, and therefore whatever you have done, especially if not covered by the media, will be wiped off by a good thing you did, which gets tirelessly and relentlessly repeated. 

The problem those guys had with your post is that you applauded and act of humanity an Israeli did towards an animal. While they believe that this same person, or the regime he comes from will NOT extend the same act of humanity to Palestinian humans. They got tired of the overwhelming propaganda about how good Israelis are, and how evil and violent Arabs are. They see this post as another serving in the plate of good deeds of the Zionists. 

Once a newspaper touches a story, the facts are lost forever, even to the protagonists.  ~Norman Mailer

To be clear, I don't agree with those who posted comments on that post simply because they have probably pushed the post up the Technorati, delicious, bloglines, twitter.. etc rankings! Making it more visible to the world. Clearly this might be good for the blog hosting it, but for all the wrong reasons. 

If a TV network wanted to feature this story on one of its shows, it will probably be something like this: "A post about an Israeli man who takes good care of a sick dog draws scathing attacks from Arabs and Muslims in an anti-semitic wave. The post written by an Australian woman, A catholic turned Muslim through marriage, sparked attacks on her for showing sympathy towards Jews. We were not able to interview or get a picture of the writer apparently because her Muslim husband doesn't want her to show her photo on her blog."

How does that sound? Good? I don't think so. Neither for the blogger, nor for the commenters. She will sound like an oppressed convert, and they will sound like mindless and angry terrorists. I know she says that she doesn't write about Palestine, because she has nothing to add. But it was surprising to see how much she had to say explaining the difference between Jews and Zionists. How there are good Jews as well as bad ones. She is definitely right, but this discussion only serves to add fuel to the fire and emphasizes the difference between what she supposedly represents as moderate oppressed convert, and what they present as angry and racist Arabs and Muslims. She could've ignored those comments, or simply deleted them. They could've skipped by the post and let it be. We often shoot ourselves in the foot, and then make things worse while we try to correct the wrongs that we have done. I know she is an animal lover, but had she looked beyond the dog, she would've picked a different story. After all, there are humans all over the world who at the very least are as kind to humans as they are to animals. As one of the commenters, Femme I think, said she wished her family received at the Gaza crossing a treatment as good as the one offered to a bug! It's her own experience, it's her pain and millions like her. She has the right to be angry, she has the right to complain about it, and she has the right to hate because of it! She is human after all. I don't hear people anyone complaining about the never ending milking of the Holocaust story! It happened more than sixty years ago by the Germans under the watch of the Europeans. Until now any criticism of Israel is an anti-semitic act, and whoever questions the actual event of the Holocaust or the mere magnitude of it is criminalized and accused of anti-semitism! And the worst part is that Palestinians are paying for it. They don't seem to get tired of connecting everything to the Holocaust, and it doesn't look like people mind it! In fact, they still feel guilty. Then why are people surprised that Palestinians are also obsessed with their own ordeal?  

it's a complicated issue indeed. There is always sub-text. There is always something that will be taken out of context to get back at you, and bite you. We don't have the media. We are not the ones writing history in these times. 

I urge you to be careful. If you want to write something about Palestine. Please be careful. Please look at it both ways. We have enough people questioning our religion and our rights. It does more harm than good to have people questioning the despair and frustration others feel. If you didn't understand it, then who will? And if you want to write about animals, food, music, culture or anything else you want, be careful where that might lead. Watch out for the conversations on your blog. Don't let it divert and lead to where nobody wants it to lead. At least nobody we care about. Nobody who knows what we are all about. 

It's an advice. You can take it, and you can leave it.

People can, and will mutate the truth. Use it to their own good. Propaganda is built to brainwash people, and if you are not there... You never really know the truth.

If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read:  "President Can't Swim."  ~Lyndon B. Johnson

That's all I have to say


*~Ange~* said...

"I know she is an animal lover, but had she looked beyond the dog, she would've picked a different story."

no. no i wouldnt have.
i see things for what they are and not how they could be pulled and stretched into many different directions.

suzie said...

very well put sister MashAllah. You are correct.
"TO ANYONE WHO IS GOING TO START THIS ANTI-JEWISH CRAP ---" its quite sad how ange responded to someone making a point about the video bringing up the palestinian issue.
especially the week of international israeli apartheid week where awareness is suppose to be spread about the issue and our own sisters are calling it crap.
or even how it is put that "it makes me fucking sick that that some of you cant see or hear the word jew or israel in something that has nothing to do with politics without starting up your protesting crap."

first of all it is not politics it is a serious human rights issue not political issue and seeing this put into just another past even is even worse. this is an ongoing tragedy which has been going on for years. last year after the horrible attacks in gaza these people are left to live in tents. subhanAllah our own brothers and sister are not given proper housing, healthcare, education nothing and are just left in the gaza strip to die without any one being able to help them.
that is a little more overpowering then a little israeli dog.not having anything else to addd..quite sad seeing how you wrote that "when it comes to issues like haiti or the tsunami disaster a few years back - i dont dwell on it. i dont think hard about it and i dont feel myself wanting to reach out over it. yet when it comes to animals i break down. this is the way i was made. its not about being heartless or cold - its about what you feel."
its just ignorance. one must educate themselves about these tragedies that are not of our past. Every single day we are living with our own brothers and sisters slowly dieing without us being able to help them because of how this world is run.

one of the most powerful speakers i have listened to on this issue is Mads Fredrik Gilbert. He left the whole auditorium in tears and everyone was shook for days..sadly that goes away and we go on with our lives but these people are living it day in and day out.

this is just a typical example of what this world has come to..the islamic brotherhood has deteriorated and egoism has taken over..

*~Ange~* said...

then go to my blog and donate towards palestine, suzie. words dont mean anything by themself.

your thinly veiled attack wont do the people of palestine any good. use your cash instead.

and stop copy and pasting the same comment everywhere. its getting boring.

suzie said...

leaving something on ur blog i will be doing it for the wrong intention to show you that i donate instead of for palestine..i don't have to prove anything to you for donating i already do it and will keep on doing it enshallah as well as keep educating myself about this issue.
and i was just agreeing with the sister and wrote my comment since you did not post mine.

Ehab said...

Ange.. As I said, you have all the right to write whatever you want on your blog. I am not complaining. All I'm saying is that you need to understand why people are still passionate about this!.. It's a wound that is still bleeding. Imagine if you had one that is dear to you, god forbids, was killed by Israel! How would you feel?

As for Suzie, people will always differ in their passion and the way they express their opinions. You don't have to try and recruit support from people. At times it's wrong. These kind of things should come or don't come to people naturally. The point is I don't think the whole thing merits this war of words!

As for the donations. Ange, you should know better!!

We are in awkward situation here. We collect money, we donate, we send them across and then they get blocked by the Israeli army. Then, they are sent to the thieves sitting in Ramallah! Having said that, Palestinians need more than money. They need people from all over the world to rally behind them and support them in the face of all the indifference the world is showing them!

If I'm donating more, it would be to an established fund here in Dubai which continuously collects money, not to a place half the way across the globe!... But I salute your effort nevertheless.

Quran Recitation Online said...

Thanks for the guidance and so long introduction. but i am happy to get point and how to write about such issues and matter.

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