Monday, July 24

Checking My Browser Settings

I can understand a network preventing the broadcast of a film that has, say, pornographic or gory images--these sorts of things, especially for entertainment purposes, seem universally inappropriate. If people want porn, they have it available at other outlets, as well as films that promise the most gory scenes of violence for viewers who "appreciate" it. As far as graphic content filmed to be shown to the American people in the news--since we are, indeed, a people educated by the media--I think it is a necessity. And this human right to knowledge, to awareness, is being violated in innumerable ways by the United States.

At age 20, I have the right to participate in the pornographic media industry, dedicate my life to serving in the armed forces, to cast my vote for whichever candidate I deem worthy, to sign liability documents for taking children on a whitewater rafting trip without knowing how to swim, etc. But what I do not have is the right to information--and consequently, the right to be an informed citizen.

If the American Democracy simply designated its citizens to blindly vote for Person A or B while being deluded by the press (which was supposed to function as an unwritten fourth participant on our government's system of checks and balances), as taxes coming out of the paychecks of every citizen are elevated and lowered without explanation as to where they are actually going, then certainly the American Democracy is live and well. But I don't believe this is what my social studies classes taught me and my peers, nor do I believe that we pledged our allegiances to this kind of a nation.

Fair and Accuracy in Reporting recently featured an "Action Alert," that reports FEMA's prohibition of Hurricane Katrina victims to speak with the press. Could it really be that the victims of one of the largest natural disasters in the history of this country have no right to communicate with the American people? What exactly are we being sheltered from? And if this is being done in the name of what is best for the American people, I think our government and corporate-owned media need to start hiring better spin doctors.

Also, watching our "Most Trusted In News: CNN!" a reporter casually dropped the fact that Al-Manar, also known as Manar-TV, the channel on which Hezbollah broadcasts what's happening in Lebanon and what their role and plans are, is banned in America. And sure enough, after trying in every way with my shameful, less than amateur internet skills to access Al-Manar sites, all I was replied with was the usual message for unavailable pages, suggesting that I should check my browser settings.

So while the rest of the world is getting real news, I'm supposed to be checking my browser settings...Are you serious?! So I went to browse YouTube and found the following clip, among many other clips--not all exactly authentic or current...but this one, being one of few exceptions, I think if you hear the man out, seems to give us an opportunity to see a different side.

Also, I found this short clip of personal interest; I've been raised my whole life to not let myself fall into categorizing people by labels, particularly when it comes to religion. My dad has unequivocally taught me, since before I can even remember, that "Divide and Conquer" is one of the oldest strategies used to destroy nations. And I see this even in the Christian communities I've grown up in, where "denominations" within Christianity has, in fact, made it weaker for its followers to sit together inside one church and really get to understand their faith. It's really a tragedy...and we, Muslims, have been divided and mostly conquered in the same fashion--all, of course, for the capital of a few wealthy elites. I've also been apathetic to most news "specials" that are giving me the incredible opportunity to adopt network biases on liberation movements and revolutions happening around the world. And in this process, I unfortunately never took the time to do my own research; Thus, I am quite the blackhole, devoid of awareness. Not ready to be satiated by what Anderson Cooper will teach me about Hezbollah, I found that I really don't know much about them. With all this in mind, this clip nearly took me by surprise.


Outspoken Soul said...

Great post - I did a lot of 'independent research' about 9/11 because I simply did not believe what the media was saying..and wow. Scary results.

PS. Why did the second clip take you by surprise?

Samira said...

First of all, I'm still not sure of how to spell "Hiz/Hez/-ballah/-bollah," let alone do I have any honest, authoritative source to turn to for more information. Let's go with "Hezbollah" for now.
CNN and MSNBC/CNBC, in addition to WaPo and NYTimes, have asserted that Hezbollah is distinctly Shi`a (further associating it to Iran, somehow establishing so through Syria). And though it doesn't matter what the media labels its flavor-of-the-week, Hezbollah General Secretary Hassan Nasrallah's points about Muslim populations fighting amongst themselves because of the attention being given to whether or not an individual, group, or nation is Shi`a or Sunni by creating a divide within the Ummah was something I learned his movement also is against.

He seems sensible, and though accused even by Robert Fisk to be another political talking head, I think there's some serious truth to what he's proclaiming. What's more important is that this can be concluded from listening to what he has to say in addition to the truth of his statements as reflected by reality--a completely different reality than that painted before us by our media.

There are many groups of Muslims out there who have passion, anger, and frustration, at least as much as we, here in America, do. And though they pray, though they fast, though they are good, practicing Muslims, some don't always seem to have a sound plan. There are some Muslims abroad, and even in America, who would label us "disbelievers" because we participate in this particular political system. I'm sure you've run into at least one. I see what would lead them to this mindset--it isn't because they are "bad" Muslims, or "terrorists" as is so often asserted. Youth, passion, anger, frustration, and being in a situation where one feels trapped and helpless forms a horrible equation. And I wouldn't be surprised to hear Muslims coming from these circumstances do something that may not have been the best solution. We don't always come up with the best plans to better our situations under these kinds of pressures. And sometimes, even our most impassioned actions blind us to clouded intentions. But this doesn't lessen the cause, or our responsibility to help.

So I guess I've been watching and reading to see what this movement by Hezbollah actually has been, not just what it is promising today. Eventually, though, it does really come down to who we choose to give the benefit of the doubt.

By all means, regardless of whether or not I have full profiles of everyone influencing this crisis, Allah, SwT, has everything in His Power and certainly awaits to answer the sincere du`as of His servants. And that is something we owe.

(and JAKs for letting me sort this out for myself)

PS Your MSN site, for some reason, never seems to load in my browser. Maybe it's just my computer/connection...Sorry I can't get to your posts--I know they'd be fascinating :)

Chimichanga said...

I like the passion you have in your writing, mashaAllah. Keep it up! I have given up on this.

Samira said...

That's really sad to hear--though I think all human beings who are ever passionate about a cause go through cycles of apathy, frustration, and "active phases," myself definitely included. Your blog is inspiring--I obviously found good material by visiting it, so I wouldn't underestimate my "in-between phase" if I were you. If you think about it, as Muslims, we don't do well in "apathy mode." Time seems to defeat us--which, in this case, is a beautiful thing.

Outspoken Soul said...

Oh no ! I've gotten several complaints about my MSN Space :(. Sucks. I want to move it all to a Blogspot blog but I don't know how to do the thing where you transfer all your archives over (even forgot what that process is called :|).

Ayah said...


I live in a household that holds NasrAllah on a pretty high pedestal, especially now. So, these clips are not new to me (with the help of our Arabic satellite).

I do have to agree with you that NasrAllah has many valid points. I was so pissed off after I saw that video (the one in the first clip) a few days ago. It was like he was saying what no one else would: WHERE THE HELL IS EVERYONE? What are the Arab and Muslim countries doing? Just sitting there, shackled by their economic problems that lead them to pledge allegiance to the West, watching their brothers and sisters and children being killed ruthlessly?

It's sickening and the only thing that surprised me about the first clip was that he wasn't flipping out more. When I think about the lack of action from the rest of the middle east when it comes to Palestine and (now) Lebanon, I get so angry I can barely get out words.

The second clip is much needed as well. It's insane to me that there are Westerners that are killing Iraqis and the actual Iraqis are joining in by killing each other. What's that all about? I'm a firm believer in this Egyptian proverb: "I and my brother against my cousin; and I and my cousin against the stranger." Arab countries and religious sects can hate and quarrel amongst themselves as much as they want (these problems are hard to avoid), but when it comes down to it, when the "stranger" throws down the gauntlet, then they should forget their differences and protect themselves and each other from the enemy.

JAKs, Samira.


Ayah said...

*led not lead.

Also, what's with the half-translations on the second clip. I watched it without looking at the subtitles the first time, but then I glanced down and it didn't make any sense, so I watched it again on mute so I was forced to read the subtitles and they're missing like half the words he was saying. Lol. People.