Monday, August 02, 2004
Al Jazeera coming to my town
Last night a friend and I decided to do a movie double-header at the theatre, so we saw the films "Troy" and "Control Room" back to back. The movie "Control Room" is a documentary about the Arab news channel known as Al Jazeera. It's a controversial channel for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which it is recommend for being extremely biased against Americans and Jews. Al Jazeera is also known for posting extremely gruesome pictures of dead American soldiers and Iraqi citizens during the ongoing war on Iraq. Many are upset because they feel Al Jazeera incites hate against Jews and the Western world, and I would have to agree to some extent. But it does have to cater to it's audience of 40 MILLION Arabs, so of course it is going to show Arabs in a favourable light and "infidels" in an unfavourable manner.

The film was very good, however, at presenting their side of things in an insightful manner. Much like the Michael Moore controversy which illustrates one extreme view against another, I feel this movie does a good job of contrasting pro-American news networks (like CNN and Fox News) against their own admittedly biased news for Arabs. And like the Michael Moore controversy, I think the truth is somewhere in between the two opinions.
Did I agree with the views of Al Jazeera and the way they present their news? No, but I am admittedly biased. And I do believe they have as much right to present the news as anyone else, though I fear it will indeed incite hate.

This brings me to my next concern...the fact that Al Jazeera will soon be see here in Canada on some stations. Anti-semitism has been on the rise here just as everywhere else in the world (note the extra security at the upcoming Olympics for the Israelis, the murder of Israeli athletes still fresh in their minds), and yes I think it will fuel this problem. As shown in the movie, Arabs are often quick to blame Israel for most problems in the Middle East, *including* the war in Iraq (I'd love to have them explain that one to me, coz I just don't understand the rationale). It's no secret that Arabs as a whole don't care much for Jews, and often use them as a scapegoat for the problems in the Middle East. I guess I'll just have to wait and see what effect Al Jazeera will have on the Arab population in Canada....