Aljazeera opening door to understanding in the West

Aljazeera opening door to understanding in the West
By Ray Hanania

Much is being made about AlJazeera America (AJAM) opening bureaus and a fulltime broadcast news operation that launched Aug. 20 in the United States on cable TV.

It’s about time. AJAM wasn’t welcomed into America, though. They have been fighting against mainstream American prejudices against Arabs and Muslims since before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that were used to justify those racist practices against Arabs and Muslims.

Cable giants like Comcast refused to allow the Arab World satellite news channel to access its huge American audiences because they know what I know: when you give good people the truth, the truth always wins. It doesn’t happen right away, but it eventually comes out and empowers the movement of truth.

It doesn’t always take 60 years for the truth to surface, as has happened with the truth about the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadeq, the Democratically elected president of Iran in 1953. Mossadeq was ousted by the CIA and the Shah of Iran was installed in his place. The Shah’s oppressive, opulent life-style fueled the rise of religious fanaticism and he was replaced by the Ayatollahs in 1979.

Americans refused to believe that today’s Iran, which is so anti-America, is a product of their own hard work. Americans, through the CIA and the military, helped forge the hatred that is now the foundation of Iran’s approach to America, which Iranian leaders still call “The Great Satan.”

Americans have one thing most others in the world do not have, the freedom to believe what they want. But the downside of freedom is the biased news media which batters beliefs into lies. And today, Americans are free to believe the lies that don’t just stop at Iran’s doorstep, but also in Israel where brainwashing has Israelis looking like the victims when they are the aggressors.

I don’t even want to waste my time on what’s happening in Egypt because the violence there is so disturbing. We don’t know what’s going to happen there. They are at the beginning of a new chapter that will probably be long and painful.

Aljazeera is being attacked not only by fanatic supporters of Israel, who fear that its reporters will expose the lies that hide Israel’s oppression of Christians and Muslims in the Israeli-occupied Holy Land. It is also being attacked by many other Arabs. Sometimes justifiably so.

Arab culture has a flaw called excessive emotion. Arabs don’t speak Arabic, they sing Arabic. They yell Arabic. They scream Arabic in speeches that sometimes go on for hours. Arabic requires an inner power that creates this excessive passion to come out as unrestrained emotion. That emotion often drives Arab decision-making, and trumps commonsense.

Commonsense would have been to have created a state in Palestine in 1949, but the Arab ego can’t accept any form of defeat.

Aljazeera is a “news” organization and as a news organization its job is to report the news. Not the good news. Not the bad news. Not the favored news. Not the ugly disliked unwanted news. But the news. And the news is supposed to be based on truth, even when the truth hurts. Even when we don’t like the truth.

Aljazeera is an Arab news outlet but many Arabs hate it. It’s not just Americans who have been brainwashed by years of stereotypes, lies and falsehoods. Arabs hate it too.

Part of the problem is that Arabs who join any news organization are confronted by a stark reality. They can finally tell the truth. But Arabs are just like Americans, it turns out. Arabs don’t want the truth. They see the American news media as a conglomerate of bias and racism. And now they see Aljazeera as being the same.

When you try to report all sides of the news, among civilized people, that’s called “tolerance.” It’s a process that let’s the audience – the people – decide what is and what isn’t true. The professional news media is supposed to give the public all sides of a story and treat everyone fairly so that the public can use their natural brain power to decide for themselves. But commonsense is the first to go in a media that is biased.

Whether you like alJazeera or you hate alJazeera. Whether you are an American or an Arab. Aljazeera is going to change the dynamics of how the world views news. The heart of the news media is in America because America is the foundation rock of the promise – though it continues to fail – of freedom and free speech.

The world view is defined by the media in America. How Americans view the World determines events in the World, especially events in the Middle East. If Americans one-day open up their eyes and minds and recognize the injustices committed against Christians and Muslims by Israel, Israel’s future will change dramatically.

And the only way to change American minds is through a constant bombardment of information.

All Aljazeera has to do is tell the truth. Tell the truth about Israel. Tell the truth about Iran. Tell the truth about America. And, tell the truth about the Arab World, too.

As Arabs, we shouldn’t be afraid of truth. We should be afraid of what happens when the truth is slaughtered, as it is everyday in the mainstream American news media.
AJAM will be a refreshing change to the propaganda Americans are fed. But will they listen?

(Ray Hanania is an award winning journalist and columnist. Reach him at and follow him on Twitter at @RayHanania.)

Categories: US & National Politics

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2 replies


  1. Rev. King would be ashamed of America today « Ray Hanania Columns
  2. Arab world’s failure to use strategic communications « Ray Hanania Columns

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