Where's the Arab Outrage…


…over the spate of videotaped beheadings and assassinations?That's the question asked by Mamoun Fandy in a provocative piece in the Sunday Outlook section of the Washington Post. After noting that the running of ultra-violent footage of beheadings and similar acts is actually quite new to television networks in the Arab world, he writes:

I am aware of only a handful of columnists, most notably the Kuwaiti journalist Ahmed al-Rubai, who condemned the killings unequivocally. Some reporters and analysts intimated to me that they were afraid to denounce the beheadings; others provided distorted coverage that blurred the line between terrorism and Iraqi resistance to the U.S. occupation.

Fandy also implicates "the American media," both for talking to a narrow range of commentators that excludes "moderates" (that is, Arabs who denounce terrorism but are also critical of U.S. actions in the region) and for essentially doing exactly what the terrorists want:

The American media should also stop replaying images of violence from al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya, because when the Arab media air these gruesome images, they animate the logic of terror. They export fear to America. If the Americans did not import these pictures, the Arab media would stop manufacturing them. That could be a first step toward defeating the terrorists who kill not just for Allah and jihad, but for airtime.

I'm not fully convinced by Fandy, but his piece is worth reading. Whole thing here.


NEXT: Journalistic Sin of Omission Corrected

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  1. Aside from Drudge, I’m unaware of any large American media outlet that disseminates those images…OTOH, I haven’t gone looking for them because it would add little to my understanding and do bad things for my ability to sleep at night.

    But I’m pretty sure that no major TV network has shown the images.

  2. Meanwhile: Iraqi Group Threatens to Kill Al-Zarqawi:

    A group of armed, masked Iraqi men threatened Tuesday to kill Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi if he did not immediately leave the country, accusing him of murdering innocent Iraqis and defiling the Muslim religion.

    The threats revealed the deep anger many Iraqis, including insurgent groups, feel toward foreign fighters, whom many consider as illegitimate a presence here as the 160,000 U.S. and other coalition troops.

  3. I think the Arab outrage has gone to the same place as American outrage. We were all shocked and horrified at the first beheading, then pissed off at the second, but, like good Americans, by the time we got to the fourth or fifth, we just didn’t care anymore.

    The Arab people, who deal with terrorism on a more-or-less daily basis (albeit from a different direction than we do), have picked up more American traits than they let on. Including quick desensitization.

  4. I find it funny that Fandy thinks the American media encourage this behavior by giving too much coverage to it, while the warsies think that the failure to start every news broadcast with a slo-mo replay of Nick Berg being beheaded amounts to the media being “objectively pro-terrorist”.

  5. The key word in Fandy’s piece is “unequivocably.” In other words, there are more than “a handful” of Arab talking heads who have denounced the killings, but apparently not in the terms Fandy would like (which, I would guess, would have to include a complete renunciation of any indigenous resistance to American troop presence), so they don’t count.

    This reminds me of the “why aren’t the feminists denouncing the Taliban” attack in 02, which ignored the fact that NOW and others had been denouncing the Taliban for years. Once you point out that the allegedly awol pundits have done what you’ve accused them of neglecting, you can move to 1) accusing them of doing so halfheartedly and 2) accusing them of not meaning it, because they don’t make the leap to, say, calling in airstrikes on houses in the middle of residential neighborhoods without visual confirmation that there are no women and children inside.

  6. joe,

    Are you backing the Indians who had their land stolen by the Americans?

    BTW when I attack a terrorist strong hold I always send an advance man to inquire as to the residents of the alleged terrorist stronghold.

    Every one is then much better prepared for events to come.

    Would it be too much to ask for the terrorists to check out their targets in advance? And notify women and children of the impending attack or the location of explosives? Shouldn’t both sides have to play by the same rules?

  7. I generally do back Indian nations who have legitimate claims.

    You don’t have the sack to share a sidewalk with a Mexican gardener, never mind attack a terrorist stronghold.

    And no, I don’t think we should sink to the level of the terrorists in our tactics. What would be the point of fighting?

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