Monday, January 17, 2005
I will never forget an article written by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman written right after the Afghanistan war started. Friedman started his article by asking his readers: do you want to know why we are hated in the Middle East? Then he instructed them to read the recent column written by Ibrahim Nafai, the editor in chief of the largest newspaper in the Middle East, Al Ahram.
Friedman was correct. I read the article as soon as the paper arrived on my breakfast table and my jaws literally dropped. Ibrahim Nafai, one of Egypt’s and the Arab world’s most reputed journalists, accused the USA of dropping Genetically Modified Food on the poor Afghans and claimed that this type of food is poisonous and hazardous to humans!
Nafai read Friedman article and then wrote a response that made him look as if he was a 12 year old boy caught by his mom touching his peter.
Now, I have discussed media biases before, whether in the Arab world or the West. Why am I bringing this up? Well, today I logged on Al Hayat newspaper website and found this photo.
The caption beneath the photo says so in Arabic: Iraq boys pelt British soldier with stones. Now, if such a large number of boys are throwing stones at the British soldier, I bet he wouldn’t be standing like that on his vehicle. There is in fact a stone that missed its target, however, we do not know why this stone was thrown. If I went to a rural area in Egypt, I’ll find kids running after my car, someone will throw a stone or something at me, you know, the normal kids stuff. When I was a kid I used to throw cubes of ice on passersby from my window.
Anyway, let us assume those Basra kids were angry with the British soldier and they threw him with a SINGLE stone as we clearly in the picture, why didn’t the paper also publish these photos that were taken by the SAME PHOTOJOURNALIST ON THE SAME DAY: this and this and this
The answer to this question is that even though Al Hayat is a very sensible and professional newspaper, some of its employees just cannot get rid of the anti-Americanism that runs through their veins and report the full picture as it is in Iraq.
I remember a story that happened with Abdul Rahman Al Rashed, Al Sharq Al Awsat’s former editor in chief and the current manager of Al Arabiyah news channel. Al Rashed said: when I was the editor in chief of the newspaper, an employee wanted to publish a photo of an American soldier talking with an Iraqi girl on the street. Do you know what his caption was? “American soldier solicits sex from an Iraqi girl” If I didn’t personally see this picture, the photo and its caption would had been published in my newspaper".