Wednesday, May 17, 2006

How to lose your job in a Saudi newspaper

Fawaz Turki who wrote for the KSA based English publication, Arab News gives more evidence of the dense. The imperious mind obsessed with its’ superiority can’t absorb the facts of the world.

It didn't matter that I had been the senior columnist on the op-ed page for nine years or that my work was quoted widely in the European and American media, including this paper. What mattered was that I had committed one of the three cardinal sins an Arab journalist must avoid when working for the Arab press: I criticized the government.

The other two? Bringing up Islam as an issue and criticizing, by name, political leaders in the Arab or Islamic world for their brazen excesses, dismal failures and blatant abuses.

Never mind the absurdity of preventing your contributors from touching on the issue of Islam, a social ideology whose embrace by jihadists is the top news story in the world today. And never mind that Arab society -- a society that remains broken in body and spirit more than a half-century after independence -- needs very much to engage in serious self-assessment and to promote an open debate in the media among intellectuals, academics, political analysts and others about why Arabs have failed all these years to meet the challenges of modernity.
It’s proof positive that accepting that Israel shouldn’t be ‘pushed into the sea’ as the meme continued to demand must be put to rest. They have to grow to accept that the mere existence of others is no cause for fear, nor cause to express ‘power over’ and do them harm, as the Arabs have to the Arab Jews and to the Druze and Arab Christians in large part.

Imagine a paranoia so acute as to cause parents to compel their children to marry a cousin instead to involving ‘a stranger’. Imagine that and project it on the social and political thought.

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