One of the most frustrating things about the media coverage of the uprisings across the Arab world has been the unsophisticated way in which the dynamics of Arab politics have been represented. We consistently hear from western media outlets that we don’t know enough about the rebels. I need to put forward the proposition that perhaps that’s because we’re not investigating or asking.
It seems far easier to reproduce the Libyans or the Egyptians or whoever in our own image of ourselves and of ‘the Arab’. They’ve either been enlightened by Western democratic values, or they’re primitivist Islamic extremists. There is no room for particularity in this conception.
More and more you need to turn to other news sources to actually hear the opinions of people with knowledge and research behind them. Not western media intelligentsia blowing a few paragraphs out of their arse, but people with considered and comprehensive knowledge of the people.
This is another great segment on Al Jazeera. This time featuring Ibish Hussein and Dalia Mogahad, both of whom add considerable sophistication and detail to the debate.