Saturday, January 22, 2005

Clips from MEMRI

Kesher Talk links to a powerful TV spot about the upcoming elections in Iraq. She said it made her cry. I understand. As I watched I had a flashback to scenes in the movie Ghandi which depicted an example of direct action civil disobedience in which one after another a large crowd of people filed up, unarmed, to a formation of armed troops only to be beaten away, bloody but not defeated. In the end disciplined, focused civilized actions overcame tyranny.

Like colonial forces worldwide, the British in India used imperial force to maintain order. But behind that force was a belief system that was, despite whatever flaws it had, essentially civil. That core of civility eventually led to the end of colonial domination. But there is in a more evolved species of tyranny, lacking conscience, capable of unspeakable actions. That strain of toxic belief, unfortunately, seems woven into the Iraqi social and political fabric. The Iraqi elections will test whether a core of civility in that bloodied country will be strong enough to evercome the elements that seek to destroy it.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) explores the Middle East through the region's media. MEMRI bridges the language gap which exists between the West and the Middle East, providing timely translations of Arabic and Farsi media, as well as original analysis of political, ideological, intellectual, social, cultural, and religious trends in the Middle East.

Founded in February 1998 to inform the debate over U.S. policy in the Middle East, MEMRI is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501 (c)3 organization. MEMRI's headquarters is located in Washington, DC with branch offices in Berlin, London, Jerusalem, and Baghdad, and has a project active in Sweden. MEMRI research is translated to English, German, Hebrew, Italian, French, Spanish, and occasionally Turkish and Russian.

MEMRI's TV monitoring center operates 16 hours per day, overseeing every major Arab channel. The center has the in-house capability to translate, subtitle and distribute the segments from Arab TV in real time to Western news channels across the world, effectively "Bridging the Language Gap Between the Middle East and the West."

Here is a link to the archives. Look to the bottom of the screen and see that it is the first of 32 pages of links. They are not all pro-US by any means. They are, nevertheless, what is being broadcast in the Middle East.

Whether or not these clips are accurate is very much beside the point. Railing against them is like complaining about the damage done by tobacco smoke or global warming or sugar in your next candy bar.

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