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     Volume 6 Issue 38 | September 28, 2007 |

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Writing the Wrong

The Kings of Spin

Sharbari Ahmed

Shatila refugee camp.

The Israelis are brilliant. I say this sincerely, unabashedly and with awe. They have figured out one of the most fundamental rules of attaining power and having it sanctioned by world or at least the countries that will give them the resources to hold on to the power. They fight their real battles on TV and in the Western media and they win, every time.

They are wizards of spin. Their spokespeople are non-threatening and do not possess that most unforgivable of traits, foreignness. They don't look like the American version of terrorists. I always maintained that if Yasser Arafat wore a Armani suit once in a while and a tie in a neutral shade, like the hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu, instead of a scarf that looks like a table cloth on his head, then the American people would have much more willing to listen to him. Imagine an Arab spokesman who looked like George Clooney or at least a reasonable facsimile? My God, but the Arabs would suddenly receive a wellspring of support.

Hamas may do better with a different image.

Yes, folks, it is that simple. These are the facts as I see them: Israel will receive over a billion dollars in “aid” next year, some of it my tax dollars, to continue their genocidal agenda against the Palestinians and now it seems the Iranians (another article). They will be provided with weapons (they already possess weapons of mass destruction), bulldozers and a free pass to kill, oppress and denigrate as many Arabs as possible. The world will look on and the Arabs will continue to become angrier, and more violent. Scraggly, bearded leaders from Hamas and Fateh will come on TV and contradict one another because they also have not figured out the other rule of staying on top, UNITY. Eventually one of them will react, either by bombing something in London or attacking Jewish settlers and killing innocent children. “You see?” the Israelis will say. “They are savages. They need to be suppressed and you need to understand, we don't like suppressing them but they are asking for it. We are innocent people, trying to build a life in the land of Abraham and we are just defending ourselves.” They will then proceed to shoot and kill some Arab boysall under the age of 18 and the world will sigh, and say, “Well, Arabs, this is what you get.”

And so on and so forth. The Israelis learned the hard way that the world would not always give them carte blanche to do as they please to the Palestinians. On September16th 1982, the Israeli Defense Forces set up a perimeter around the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps where hundreds of thousands souls lived and still do in squalor so Lebanese, yes ARAB, forces could go in and slaughter, rape and terrorize the men, women and children in the camp. I won't get into how the camps, which sit on the border with Lebanon lack the most basic services, like running water, and electricity. The defence minister at the time, Ariel Sharon, colluded with Christian Lebanese forces to exact revenge on the civilian inhabitants of the camps for the assassination of their leader, Bashir Gemayel.

A scene of death and destruction from the massacre at Sabra and Shatila. Photo: www.nogw.com/images/

Being used to the world not chastising them for anything, Sharon and his cronies were taken aback at the strong criticism their government received for their participation in the massacres. Shrewdly realising that they would not be able to continue doing as they pleased in the region unless world (particularly American) sentiment was behind them, they went into spin mode and have remained in that mode, increasing and decreasing the settings, depending on the situation. September 11th has been the mother lode for them, a gift thrown into their laps that they can use for years to come. The Arabs (those not associated with the day) on the other hand are not utilising the tragic events of that day to show the world that they have changed and distanced themselves enough. In some ways the Arabs are to the Israelis the gift that keeps on giving, providing them with excuses to continue pushing their unjust agenda for generations to come.

I feel most Americans believe that Israel actually exists for our protection, that they are keeping the Arab wolves at bay. That they are the chosen people for that reason alone. Anyone who looks and sounds like us cannot possibly want to harm us.

Don Vito Corleone (The Godfather) said, keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Sun Tzu states in The Art of War (a tome I began reading after dealing with chauvinistic deshi producers) that one must learn from their enemies, and study what makes them successful in their battles against you. I feel the Palestinians need to take a step back and think about these very concepts. They need to learn from the Israeli spin wizards. They need to become pragmatists and understand that half their battles will not be fought on the streets of Ramallah but in the well-lit, high tech, studios of CNN and the BBC. If they want the Israelis to play fair, they have to be forced to play fair, they have to beat them at their own game. Fateh and Hamas need to stop fighting each other and further compromising their people's well being. The leaders, except Saeb Erakat, who's a smoothie, I must say, need to trim their beards, don more stylish clothing, and hire a Hollywood (preferably Jewish) public relations firm to re-invent their image and make them camera friendly. I am not being facetious when I say this. And they must learn to speak English.

In this country murderers are allowed to walk away after they have sliced and diced their wives to pieces, as long as the accused in question makes for good TV. Tow headed heiresses are allowed to drive drunk with invalid licenses, endangering the lives of others and serve eighty two minutes of jail time, while a young black man will spend half his life incarcerated for possessing a narcotic substance and not hurting anyone but himself. Criminals, as long as they are warm and fuzzy, and media friendly, are allowed to live amongst honest, law abiding citizens who work hard to lead their lives honourably. So think about those characters who have legitimate and understandable reasons for being angry and reactionary but who somehow do not translate sympathetically? The Arab world needs to accept that the US will always support Israel, AIPAC and the Jewish lobby are just too powerful, and as long as the US support Israel unequivocally, the Arab world will be bitterly unhappy, unless they make a commitment to winning the American people over by creating a unified camera friendly front. I am done raging about Israeli injustice against Arabs. Now is the time for practical action and learning what makes the Israelis triumphant again and again. The play, my friends, is the thing, no matter what anyone says. This is a new world we are living in and we, especially those of us who have a great deal to lose and are losing on a regular basis, need to adjust ourselves to this reality.


Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2007