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Monday, April 04, 2011

The failed promise of the Arab spring

Phyllis Chesler sheds light on an area where the promise of the Arab spring may already be declared a failure.
It did not happen, it is not important. The mainstream media does not really care about what happens to Arabs, Muslims, or Palestinians—not even when they are fellow or sister journalists, women, and feminists. The media only cares when and if Israelis are allegedly the perpetrators, the murderers, the checkpoint “humiliators.” Even when Israelis kill an armed Iranian-backed Palestinian member of Hamas in self-defense, even when Israelis accidentally, with no malice aforethought, kill a British journalist or an American “activist,” the Israelis are not only blamed—films, plays, and documentaries are made about the “martyred” American Rachel Corrie or the “martyred” British filmmaker James Miller or British “anti-war” activist Tom Hurndall. Countless demonstrations have been held. In Miller’s case the British government insisted on an investigation, and his family brought a civil lawsuit against an Israeli soldier.

The media was all over this even though an investigation strongly suggested that James Miller was killed by Palestinians “from the direction of the populated Rafah.” Although people know that Palestinians routinely hide behind civilian hostages, deliberately target Israeli civilians, especially children, create their own “martyrs” (the Muhammad al-Dura case as well as the Rachel Corrie case immediately come to mind)—nevertheless, the media refuses to hold Palestinians accountable and refuses to believe that the Israelis are innocent. The media knows full well that they will be killed or not allowed to “report” in Palestinian areas if they publish anything negative, anything true. By now, this habit is ingrained.

One of the recently beaten, tortured, and arrested Palestinian female journalists, Asma Al-Ghoul, is someone whom I first interviewed in 2009. Al-Ghoul is a secular feminist and a journalist who has written brave articles about honor killings on the West Bank and in Gaza. She asked me to edit and publish some of her work and I proudly did so. Al-Ghoul has been harassed and arrested by Hamas before. Why? Ostensibly because she dared to laugh, wear jeans on the beach, and entered the sea, fully clothed, to swim. These were her crimes—plus the fact that she was a single woman (divorced, actually), out in public, not wearing hijab, and relaxing on the beach with—unbelievably—male friends.
Read the whole thing.

Almost no one is interested in the plight of women under Hamas. After all, they're being persecuted by Muslims and not by Jews, so there's nothing to see.

I wonder if there's any chance that Asma al-Ghoul (pictured) would become another Khaled Abu-Toameh if she wrote in English and was allowed to freely express herself. Now there's a thought.

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At 8:32 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Asma -al Ghoul is one of the few women in the Arab World who is courageous enough to expose the abuse and repression at home.

That's the reason she won't get an audience - unless you bash the Jews and Israel, no one will pay any attention.

And that is why we're not going to see the promise of the Arab Spring kept in our lifetime.


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