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Hisham Melhem is a righteous dude

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ForrestGump Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 05:13 AM
Original message
Hisham Melhem is a righteous dude
Just caught part of a C-SPAN thing -- I think it was a Washington Press Club event -- and found myself very impressed by the statements of one Hisham Melhem, the Al Arabiya satellite TV folks' Washington correspondent. Among the gems that I heard him say were that we should dispel the notion that it is somehow inherent to 'the Arab mind' that being stripped naked in prison is any more degrading than it would be to anyone else. He stressed that the prison tortures were horrific, but that the idea that Muslim men are somehow more shamed by nudity is a bogus one spread by misinformed 'experts.' His testimony flies in the face of what I know of Muslim mores, from personal experience, but I can certainly at least allow that he's undoubtedly correct of at least some Arabs at least soem of the time. After all, Muslim and Arab people are not uniformly homogeneous any more than any of the rest of us are. As he said, being treated in that way would be plenty degrading in any American prison, too. I think he makes an interesting point, particularly in light of how westernized and secular Iraq was under Saddam.

Kind of along the same lines, in response to a question as to whether the fact that female soldiers were present for the torture-humiliation somehow made it worse, he maintained that the idea that Arab men uniformly view women as inferior or verboten from certain activities is similarly bogus. When pressed further, and asked if the very presenc eof American women in the war theater was significant to Muslims, he admitted that conservative elements in Muslim countries are offended by women's participation but that the same was true of many conservative elements in the American bible belt and elsewhere in the US. He then went on railing against what he called self-appointed American ayatollahs, mentioning Falwell and others by name.

I was most impressed.

He offered an interesting perspective, that runs contrary to the sacred 'conventional wisdom' (and I'm not saying that his is the whole truth, but I'm sure that it's part of it and a part that's been overlooked by most) and he stated his case very cogently. The dude was impressive. His evaluation of the problems with the US news media (he basically wants Chomsky et al. to have some degree of equal time in an increasingly right-skewed newspaper market) was also spot on.

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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 05:26 AM
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1. Ummm... let's put this in perspective....
He's probably not wrong, in this sense. If I were to strip Bush naked, put a bit in his mouth and ride him like a donkey, put a hood on him and beat him within an inch of his life, then forced him to jack off in front of Helen Thomas, then give him a few jolts in the gonads with a telephone generator, then stick a broken chemical light up his ass, and let some backwoods female lead him around on a leash, then take pictures of it all for general amusement, how the hell would he feel?

Anyone would be humiliated and damaged.

Bush wouldn't want those pictures published... especially so soon before the election.

I choose Bush as an example only because Randi Rhodes has said that Rumsfeld might enjoy it....

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saracat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 05:27 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Wonderful analysis!
I might keep this post.Too funny and really apt.
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progdonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 05:57 AM
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3. impressed
I've often been impressed with people from al-Jazeera. They tend to be true to journalistic ethics because al-Jazeera is the one independent news source in a region dominated by state-run media. You have to be a true believer in journalistic principles to hold your own in such an arena.

Specific to this man's comments, I'll have to agree whole-heartedly. It's good to know I wasn't alone when I had the same reaction to the pundits: "You know, stripping men naked and forcing them to simulate sex acts and masturbate in front of women is especially humiliating to Arabs." Yeah, those Arabs are so fucking repressed. Here, in the CIVILIZED world, we see nothing wrong with getting sodomized with chemical lights and being forced to simulate sex acts with other men. Geez, what a bunch of barbarians! :crazy:
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NuttyFluffers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 06:53 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Al Arabiya, btw.
saw that C-SPAN and it rawked. very very cool. and yes Hisham stole the show in my opinion.
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SpaceCatMeetsMars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 07:09 AM
Response to Original message
5. That one Sy Hersh article said
that the neo-cons were using some book that was written about the Arab mind in 1973 and they were treating it like some kind of great authority on the subject. That seems so typical of them, it's like they are frozen in time and incapable of getting any new ideas into their heads.

I mean, if you compared American males' attitudes toward women, sex, nudity and homosexuality between 1973 and now, you would get a world of difference, so there must have been some similar changes with the Iraqis in thirty years too. Those neo-cons seem so out of touch with reality and common sense.
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