January 2, 2002 |
The world news is different on Channel 645. And that is the way Anan Zahr likes it. Beamed into her western Delaware County home via a satellite dish on the roof is Zahr's idea of Must-See TV - the Arab-language network al-Jazeera. The nightly reports she watches are heavy with stories on the destruction wreaked on Afghanistan by American bombs, with footage of dying civilians. Since the tape of Osama bin Laden laughing about the Sept. 11 destruction surfaced last month, she has seen a succession of commentators call it an American trick - a suspicion she herself harbors.
December 2, 2001 |
The war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban is beginning to stir up some fascinating debate in parts of the Arab world. You've heard of Arab newspapers filled with anti-American columns, and rumors that Israeli agents organized the bombing of the World Trade Center. But you probably haven't heard about a meeting of the Kuwaiti Graduates Society two weeks ago, in which 3,000 people came to hear liberal parliamentarians debate whether democracy could coexist with political Islam. The liberals argued that Kuwaiti Islamists were using democracy to achieve nondemocratic ends.
October 16, 2001 |
IF YOU can't beat 'em, give 'em an interview. The White House's announcement yesterday that National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was to be interviewed on Arabic-language satellite news channel Al-Jazeera suggests a shift in attitude - or at least strategy - toward the Qatar-based outlet. It was just last week that Rice was calling on U.S. TV network executives, asking them to exercise caution in replaying Al-Jazeera-aired video of Osama bin Laden, arguing that it might contain coded messages to other terrorists and that at the very least it shouldn't be broadcast before being viewed in its entirety.
October 4, 2001 |
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, beginning a tour of what could become the front lines of a war against terrorism, acknowledged yesterday that key allies in the Muslim world are worried about the consequences of military action against terrorists. Some Muslim leaders, even those friendly to the United States, fear a violent reaction from their citizens, and have told American officials that they cannot fully back a U.S.-led military strike. The four nations on Rumsfeld's itinerary - Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt and Uzbekistan - are crucial to Washington's campaign to seize suspected terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, dismantle his al-Qaeda network and punish his protectors in Afghanistan.
September 29, 2001
Flowers, said poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, "are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world. " It should not matter from where those floral rays of beauty took root or who designed the garden. It should not matter. But in these sad days of toppled towers and families-turned-survivors, it seems to. The Philadelphia Flower Show this week announced that an exhibit of garden concepts from the United Arab Emirates was being pulled from the March event in the aftermath of the Sept.
September 14, 2001 |
This morning the cleanup and grieving continue, and America is getting back to work. Talk also continues about retribution and war. Some Americans are feeling impatient to strike back at those who participated in any way in these horrific events. There is mounting public pressure to retaliate against our enemies, to demonstrate our power and resolve. Gen. Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says the American military stands ready. But it's still not clear exactly what the military stands ready to do, or should do. We don't know for sure who was responsible, although evidence points to Osama bin Laden, apparently still headquartered in Afghanistan.
July 17, 2001 |
Amatzia Baram knows the streets of Baghdad so intimately that he can draw you a map from memory. He can describe in exhaustive detail a stroll along the banks of the Tigris River. But in fact, Baram has never been to Baghdad or anywhere else in Iraq, and is unlikely to go in the foreseeable future. That is because Baram is an Israeli, one of a unique breed of scholars who specialize in countries they are forbidden to visit. Israelis are keenly interested in their neighbors in the Middle East.
March 29, 2001 |
Still squabbling over the 1991 Persian Gulf war, 22 Arab countries wrapped up their summit yesterday without any agreement about lifting the crippling economic sanctions against Iraq. Kuwait objected to proposed language in a resolution that would have urged the Arab countries to unilaterally lift the sanctions. As a result, the rambling resolution issued from the summit barely mentioned Iraq, and an appendix called the Amman Communiqu? contained only vague language urging the end to sanctions.
March 5, 2001 |
Does it matter if the Jews as a people or nation continue to exist? Once this was the sort of question I played with at university over cups of bad coffee in the early '60s. Were the Jews a race, a religion, a culture, a tribe? Whatever we were, we were living a good life in Britain, America and the West in general. In those simple, heady days, Israel was seen as a heroic little country. Nothing essential about Israel has changed since then. But the zeitgeist has changed and, about 30 years ago, Israel went out of fashion.
March 5, 2000 |
Poisonous. Hostile. Destabilizing. That is just some of the invective hurled at Al Jazeera, the satellite television station that is waging a revolution in the Arabic-speaking world. Al Jazeera Television must be doing something right. Every night, an estimated 35 million viewers tune into the outlet. With its 24-hour news programming, Al Jazeera has been dubbed the CNN of the Arab world. But that doesn't do justice to the station that is pioneering uncensored television in a part of the world where most of the media are disinclined to challenge authority.