Lebanese film “The Attack” under attack

film

rejected

Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri of the film “The Attack” recently turned to Facebook to announce that the film is being banned by the Lebanese government. The film, which stems from a novel, tells the story of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the perspective of an Israeli Arab surgeon living in Tel Aviv who learns that his wife carried out a suicide bombing. As a result of initially being granted permission and a permit to film the movie in Israel, the film’s production it received numerous awards at the annual COLCOA French film festival in Hollywood. The film which was expected to be released worldwide and is still planning on being released in France and the United States later this spring won following awards: the audience award, the “Coming Soon” award, and special jury prize award. However, following the film festival, the Lebanese government pulled the plug on the film by both revoking its permit and banning the film from being shown. (http://www.albawaba.com/editorchoice/lebanon-film-israel-ziad-doueiri-487776)

film festival

In a post on Facebook Doueiri tells friends and followers from all over the world the news regarding his soon to debut film stating “I regret to inform you that the Interior Minister of Lebanon, Minister (Marwan) Charbel, has decided to punish us and the film by banning it… claiming that the reason for the rejection is that I, Ziad Doueiri, had spent time in Israel filming”. Doueiri also stated “this ban is foolish and unfair… Several Palestinian films have been shot in Israel with Israeli actors and even with Israeli financing … were allowed to screen in Lebanon”. (http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/lebanon-bans-award-winning-lebanese-film-shot-in-israel/2013/04/28/) In addition, Doueiri feels that by banning this film the Lebanese government is only looked upon by the people and film makers in a negative light.( http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=58398) In a statement by the by Minister Charbel “We had no problem with the movie but when we received the protest letter[from the Israel Boycott Office of the Cairo based Arab League]… we could not oppose their demand”.( http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/lebanon-bans-award-winning-lebanese-film-shot-in-israel/2013/04/28/)

the attack director

I also found this article and story to be very interesting in terms of how the film industry in Lebanon operates. In Lebanon, filmmakers must submit their scripts to the government for approval to ensure that films do not display attacks against morals, attacks against state authority / government, reflect Israeli propaganda, and allows the government to block films that incite dissent as well as opposition to these guidelines. (http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/lebanon-bans-award-winning-lebanese-film-shot-in-israel/2013/04/28/)One big question when reading this article is whether the film was really banned based on the grounds that it was primarily pro – Palestinian based and negatively portrayed the Israeli’s. In my personally opinion, I feel that filmmakers, films, and movies should have the right to expose things that contradict their guidelines based on the state/government, morality, etc in their works because otherwise these events are simply covered up and kept from the people of society at the governments wishes. In addition to this, I also wonder how effective the ban on this film will actually be in the country. In majority of the cases when films are ban in any part of the world one of two things happens, the film gets more media attention than it would have received had it been shown or individuals find a way to get their hands on the film and watch it illegally.

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Diplomacy, Obama and the Middle East

 

There is no denying the fact that the International System is changing; rapidly. The world of 25 years ago in which two Superpowers dominated a divisive bi-polar system is no longer in place. What has filled the void of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 is something much more Westphalian in nature. The early 1990s may have appeared to be a uni-polar world dominated by the United States but this was only a temporary reality and a long-term illusion. What has truly transpired is a world that has become increasingly multi-polar and, therefore, more Westphalian in nature than her Cold War counterpart. No where is this more evident than in the Middle East where the forces that drove the Arab Spring are only just beginning to be comprehended.

 

 

Al-Jazeera English published an article called Diplomacy, Obama and the Middle East on April 1st of this year that challenges the traditional US foreign policy in the region. This article is based off of an episode of Empire which highlighted how US power has weakened in the region over the past few decades. But, more importantly, discusses where US policy should proceed moving forward. In particular, the author questions the full validity of the “unbreakable alliance” between the US and Israel and how that alliance can solve issues in the region especially in the “Occupied Territories.” The bottom line is the US has failed to adequately react to the Arab Spring and the Arab World has noticed. This article depicts the increasing vocal nature of the Arab Media and how her audience has increased internationally. In order for US policy to change, a more vocal voice from the region like al-Jazeera is vital. The criticism from both the American and Arab public is a necessary step if there will be peace in the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

 

The link to the episode is attached below: 

http://aje.me/10ojoFn

 

Bahrain Outraged Over US State Department Report

Bahrain, a small country in the Arab world plagued by protests for two consecutive years is outraged at a human rights report written by the US State Department. The protests began in early 2011 and are in conflict with police forces in Shia villages.

The report released on April 19 said “the most serious human rights problems included citizens’ inability to change their government peacefully; arrest and detention of protesters on vague charges, in some cases leading to their torture in detention.” (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/04/2013425113054409997.html)

Bahrainis accuse the report of lacking objectivity and falsely portraying the country’s state of affairs.

A spokewoman for the Bahraini government made a statement that she “urges the US State Department to help countries protect their national security and back their stability, the way the US itself does in the war it is waging on global terror.”

Meanwhile, the UN torture investigator said Bahrain cancelled a trip he had planned to the Gulf Arab state until further notice.

On the US Department of State’s website it states “Recent political and social unrest has highlighted the need for reform and reconciliation. Following the release of the royally appointed Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry’s (BICI) findings, which recommended a series of reforms, the Government of Bahrain has taken initial steps to redress past abuses and implement reforms. Despite these efforts, unrest and clashes have continued. The United States has urged the Government of Bahrain to implement the full range of BICI recommendations and take steps to implement additional reforms” (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/26414.htm)

While the report of Bahrain by the US may be truthful or in fact biased, how is anything supposed to be cleared if the United Nations will not investigate? A visit to the country by the UN torture investigator would be a more unbiased perspective on the true state of Bahrain.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/04/2013425113054409997.html

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/26414.htmImage

So Assad is Guilty… Now What?

President Barack Obama seems to be going back on his word after receiving credible confirmation that the al-Assad regime is using saron gas in their civil war. Previously, he had sworn that the use of such measures would be a “game changer” as far as American involvement could be concerned. To be fair, President Obama cited the botched 2003 invasion of Iraq as an example of why important foreign policy decisions absolutely cannot be made with incomplete or potentially inaccurate information. In a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan last week, the two discussed the feasibility of increased nonlethal aid, and Obama concluded the collaboration by promising to double the Americans’ assistance. Interestingly, it was the regime that had originally invited (encouraged) the United Nations inspectors to make their own judgments about the use of chemical weapons. Perhaps al-Assad though he could get away with it, or perhaps there was an elaborate effort to frame the opposition. In any case, Prime Minster David Cameron echoed the careful approach of the Obama administration, while basically admitting he has already made up his mind. Does this mean Obama is working to avoid a foreign policy disaster like his predecessor? With his approval ratings hovering just south of midpack and a recalcitrant Congress to contend with, caution may just be the best thing for his remaining years in office.      

Why violence after a Coptic funeral?

POTD-Egyptian-prot_2529412bEgypt funeral Coptic Christians120318112453-coptic-woman-faints-story-top

A disturbing day in Cairo as burst of violence breaks out, outside a cathedral moments after a Coptic funeral march. As these protestors who attacked these innocent Christians who attended this funeral, leaving one dead and around 66 people injured. The touching memorial service ended up turning into a protest against President Morsi’s current Islamist led government. The mourners came out and accused the failing of protecting the Coptic community in Egypt. During this protest “Crowds chanted “Egypt is our country and we will not leave it” and “the blood of Christians is not cheap. Morsi, you villain.”
http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/07/17643162-one-dead-66-wounded-in-cairo-clashes-after-funeral?lite
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/9977939/Violence-breaks-out-in-Cairo-after-Coptic-funerals.html

From this I strongly believe that Egypt is equally divided on Morsi and that even after this outbreak of violence, there cannot be another revolution. I personally believe that Morsi will lose in the next election though in 2016 and think that the Coptic Christians are in trouble in Egypt but they are not in danger of all being killed. What happened in Cairo is another example of Egypt not liking their Christians but it does show that they will not be wiped out. As one got killed during this riot, it is very sad but it is not evidence of a revolution of killing Christians. Seeing that the numbers of Christians are small in total in Egypt that they will not be able to hold a protest that is not broken up and is effective in Egypt. I could see them protesting in the future but I think it would be met with a bigger protesting group; the Islamists. This incident will go away like all the other attacks on Christians in Egypt and there will be bigger scenes with Islamists that cover over any loses that Christians have.

Lastly, all of these people that acted out at the Christians attending what was a peaceful funeral turning into a blood bath are nothing but human waste. All it shows is none of them are worth saving, are unredeemable in the eye of any god’s or prophet they may happen to believe in. It clearly shows that they believe in nothing but evil, acting on his behalf. If Egypt’s Government does not punish those who started this act of violence, which by the way happen to be of the same religion as them, that government should be over thrown as soon as possible. They always get a slap on the wrist when people of the same religion are the judges there, this means that they should not be sucking air with the rest of the people either…

Citizens of Egypt,Tunisia, and other Arab Coutries are distrustful of news media

Recently a survey conducted  by the Northwestern University at Qatar was  published in which 10,000 adults from Egypt, Qatar, Tunisia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the UAE participated.  The results of the survey varied from each Arab country, however there was a clear distinction in which respondents thought their news was ‘credible’ or ‘untrustworthy.’ This distinction was seen between the rich Gulf States and the less opulent Arab States. Al-Jazerra reported this contradiction stating; “Overwhelming majorities in the Gulf have internet access, including about 9 in 10 people in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. But just 46 percent are connected in Jordan and 22 percent in Egypt (AlJazeera, 2013). ”  Of course Qatar and the UAE have less obtrusive laws when it comes to news media and the role it has in the region.  The right to the freedom of the press and speech is more affluent in the Gulf States.

Egypt, Tunisia, and Bahrain are more authoritative when it comes to censoring media outlets in their respective States. With the States control in daily news and the spread of information, the respondents that took the survey in Egypt and Tunisia had a very low percentage of citizens trusting what they hear from local sources. In fact only one quarter, 25%,  of respondents from Egypt and Tunisia found their news sources to be credible (AlJazeera, 2013).  Other countries, such as the Gulf States had an impressive 75% response of news sources being credible and trustworthy.

One more piece of information this survey sought out was the types of media predominately found in each Arab country. Here is the run-down from each state:

Top News Sources:

Baharain: Google

Tunisia: Facebook

Lebanon: Lebanese Broadcasting Company (LBC)

Egypt: Al Hayat

Saudi Arabia: Al Arabiya…(Keep in mind AlJazerra is illegal under Saudi law)

Qatar, UAE, Jordan: AlJazeera

By looking at such data, you can’t blame the people of Egypt, Tunisa, and Bahrain to have a disconnect from where they seek the news. With the arrest of Bassem Youssef in Egypt, and the detention of political activists on Twitter in Bahrain (Zainab Al-Khawaja), the expectation of trusting State controlled news is an absurd notion. The study confirms that oppressive practices when it comes to the freedom of expression/speech in the “democratic regimes (joke)”  show a disconnect with the Arab people.

AlJazeera Article: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/04/2013424125618802556.html

Two Syrian Bishop’s Kidnapping News Coverage

aljazeera

two kidnapped bishops

As reported by AngryArab.com, Aljazeera has recently secretly changes its headline following its news release regarding the kidnapping of bishops Syria. In this report, it is stated that Aljazeera initially headlined the post as “Syrian bishops Reported kidnapped by rebels”. However, later in the day, Aljazeera is said to have secretly and “sneakily” changed the headline to “Two kidnapped Syrian Bishops Freed”. (http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2013/04/aljazeera-sneakingly-changes-its.html) (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/04/20134235221315190.html)This change comes as a result that Aljazeera’s reporting on the issue was solely based off information supplied by Syrian State Media stating that the bishops had been kidnapped by individuals from the rebel group. In further looking at the story following the change as well as other news media outlets, it is still in question who is officially responsible for abducting the individuals. (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/04/20134235221315190.html) This begs to question on whether simply the headline of the article was changed in an effort to stay neutral and clarify the issue or whether the headline as well as the article was changed once finding out that they had publicized possible misinformation. In other reports publicized and specifically one by CNN, the opposition and the government have both blamed the other group claiming that the opposite side is responsible / behind the kidnapping. (http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/24/world/meast/syria-civil-war/) In my personal opinion, I feel that Aljazeera in an effort to publish the issue quickly and be the first to report on the issue, based their information off misguided and biased government news sourced information and later found that they correct their mistake. While I believe that this is wrong in the way that they handled the cover-up, I feel that in their opinion by making the change in a covert manner they felt that they could correct their article in the hopes that it would both be done without anyone noticing and before others saw the story.

However, this secret cover up of the article and news story as a whole is not the only issue that has proved some inconstancy and misguided information. When changing the article and headline, Aljazeera stated that the two bishops were released by the kidnappers and had arrived safely in the city of Aleppo. This article which was posted on April 23rd at 23:25 again significantly contradicts other reports which state that the bishops are still missing or being held hostage. (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/04/20134235221315190.html) In today’s (April 25) reports by CNN, ForeignPolicy.com, the Jerusalem Post at 8:30, all had stated that they were still missing and possibly still in custody of the kidnappers. (http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Kidnapped-Syrian-bishops-still-missing-310905) (http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/04/24/syrian_bishops_remain_missing_despite_contradicting_reports) (http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/24/world/meast/syria-civil-war/) It wasn’t until this point that Aljazeera became the last source to report on the issue to ensure that they had their information correct before publicizing it. At 12:08 pm today, Aljazeera finally reported that the two bishops were still captured and in custody despite claims that they were released. (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/04/201342581317622664.html)

In looking at this story and how the media specifically Aljazeera has developed / reported the story over the past few days, readers are being provided inaccurate and false information prior to sources being confirmed as well as being provided with contradictory stories when comparing them to other outlets of the media. The way that this issue is being covered in the media seems to be very similar to the recent coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing which was filled with numerous amounts of inconsistent coverage and falsely publicized information. As a result that we as a society largely depend on the news and media as our source of information, we should expect that these reports by media outlets are both accurate where confirmation and investigations into developments are being down prior to the publication of the story. It amazes me that other outside news sources can have the correct information / developments on the issue, while a single source is covering something completely contradictory. In looking at this, I question what is really important for these news outlets, being the first to report an event or taking the time to confirm and publicize the correct information.

bishops

bishop praying