Saturday, September 15, 2012
Consequences of hate speech, not for everyone
By Ray Hanania
The tragic killings of four Americans during protests in Libya including the American Ambassador to Benghazi, Christopher Stevens, has over-shadowed a major aspect of the role hate plays in provoking communities to hate.
The Stevens killing was a tragic exception to the rule involving protests that are sweeping the Arab and Muslim World against America’s hypocritical standards when it comes to hate speech.
An American extremist originally thought to be an Israeli American produced a movie which defames in the most offensive manner Arabs, Muslims, Islam and the Prophet Muhammed.
To Arabs and Muslims, the film was no different than a man standing up in a crowded theater and yelling “fire,” but then also blaming the “fire” on a specific religious or ethnic group.
While Americans have expressed unbounded criticism of the murders of Stevens and the three other Americans, the initial criticism of the promoter of the hate video was tempered by arguments that “people in American enjoy the right of free speech” and “free speech is a corner stone of Democracy.”
That changed days later when it was determined that the man, who claimed to be Israeli American Sam Bacile, has been identified as an outspoken anti-Muslim Coptic Christian, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. Immediately, police set upon Nakoula and determined that he had outstanding criminal warrants.
For those who argue that as disgusting as Nakoula’s anti-Islamic and anti-Arab video is, it is protected by free speech and American society is powerless to take any actions, I would remind them about the vicious campaign orchestrated by pro-Israel groups and activists against Helen Thomas in 2010.
Critics charged that Thomas, an award winning veteran journalist and the first female White House correspondent, had engaged in anti-Semitic hate speech when she flippantly responded to questions posed in an ambush by a notoriously racist anti-Arab supporter of Israel.
In fact, the Anti-Defamation League, which selectively fights instances of bigotry and hatred, issued a statement that gave the Society of Professional Journalists, the national organization of mainstream American media, the mandate to act on Thomas, one of the SPJ’s veteran and honored members.
The SPJ had created a Life Time Achievement Award in her name that was awarded to a long list of prestigious journalists.
But the ADL coordinated with the SPJ’s newly elected Israeli American president and a national SPJ board that had become increasing hostile to American Arab SPJ members and that same year terminated its then young program to give American Arab members of the SPJ a voice to raise issues concerning imbalanced media coverage.
The ADL spearheaded the assault on Thomas and issued this statement on January 10, 2010 to give the SPJ’s board cover for their political move to censor Thomas and punish anyone who dared to question media bias in favor of Israel, a foreign country:
“Fortunately, there are consequences in our society for those in positions of power or authority who publicly express racist, anti-Semitic or prejudiced views. We are pleased that the executive committee of the SPJ agrees that this award was no longer appropriate given the unprofessional and unbecoming conduct of its namesake.”
If you dispute that the ADL’s role was merely as an observer, it’s worth noting that the ADL statement denouncing Thomas came one year before the SPJ national board under its Israeli American presidency terminated the Helen Thomas Life Time Achievement Award, Jan. 14, 2011.
What are the consequences of anti-Arab and anti-Islamic hate speech? Statements by American politicians defending the rights of the haters included a declaration by Republican Candidate Mitt Romney attacking President Barack Obama for bowing to Arab and Muslim extremism.
The Egyptian embassy statement read, “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims, as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”
Romney said that a statement issued by a low-level Administration aid from the Egyptian embassy expressing regret for the hatred expressed in the video was a “surrender” to our enemies and an apology for “American values.”
Yes, when someone criticizes Israel, they become anti-American Nazi anti-Semites.
When someone criticizes Arabs and Muslims, or even denounces hatred against Arabs and Muslims, they are ridiculed as contradicting American values of free speech.
Maybe that’s why this year the ADL has been invited by the SPJ’s increasingly anti-Arab and anti-Muslim national board to be a sponsor of this year’s journalism convention which takes place in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Sept. 20.
Maybe someone should make a video about that. But God Forbid that we might protest, being Arab and Muslim and all.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning journalist who ended his more than 30 year long SPJ association by tearing up his membership card. Reach him at www.TheMediaOasis.com.)
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
American Syrians hosting fundraisers Sept 14-16 in Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland
PRESS EVENT ADVISORY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Ray Hanania
Sept. 5, 2012 Rayhanania@comcast.net
American Syrian Community Rallies for the People of Syria
Mural reminiscent of Spanish Civil War to be displayed
American Syrian activists will host three fundraisers on behalf of the people of Syria to help cover medical costs.
The fundraisers will be held in Detroit on Sept. 14, Chicago on Sept. 15 and Cleveland on Sept. 16, and are sponsored by the Syrian American Medical Society and the Syrian Sunrise Foundation.
In addition to speakers from Syria, a key feature at the fundraisers will be a mural painted by renown French artist Roger Dale in the tradition of the famous effort by the late Pablo Picasso’s mural, Guernica, which was painted and used as a rallying cry for Spanish independence during the Spanish War in 1937.
“We are taking an important page from the history of people standing up for freedom in holding these fundraisers,” explained Dr. Malaz Alatassi, one of the fundraising coordinators.
“In 1937, Picasso painted a famous mural that was displayed at the International Fair held that year in Paris, France and that mural helped awaken the world to the plight of the oppressed people of Spain. We expect hundreds of people to attend the fundraisers in each of the three cities, Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland, and to be inspired by this effort to parallel history.”
Picasso was commissioned by the Spanish Republican Government to create the painting memorializing Guernica, a city in the Basque region of Spain that had come under attacked earlier that year by Nazi Germany and Italian forces.
The “Guernica” mural became a symbol of protest against oppression and fascism and helped to rally world support against the Nazis and in support of freedom for the people of Spain. It was displayed at the 1937 World Exposition in Paris.
The Picasso mural brought the plight of the Spanish Civil War to the world’s attention.
This year, world renown French Artist Roger Dale will strive to do the same with a mural he has painted in support of the people of Syria and the Syrian pro-Democracy movement.
“Thousands of civilians are being injured and killed by Syrian military forces and the civil war in Syria reminds us of the civil war in Spain and the rallying of support for human rights it provoked around the world,” Alatassi said.
The Dale mural has been named “Homs 2012” and measure 351 x 780 cm. Dale and his students displayed the mural in Strasbourg and then later in Paris. Dale has promised that the painting will be permanently placed in Homs at the Clock Square once Syria is freed.
The Detroit Fundraiser will be held Friday Sept. 14 at the Auburn Hills Marriott, 3600 Centerpoint Parkway, Pontiac, Michigan.
For Detroit Tickets Contact:
Raya Rass at 248-824-0442
Malaz Alatassi, 248-953-0526
Hanadi Alatassi, 248-953-0899
Heba Dlewati, 810-410-5590
The Chicago Fundraiser will be held Saturday Sept. 15 at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center Hotel, 70 Yorktown Center, Lombard, Illinois.
For Chicago tickets, contact:
312-758-3995 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cleveland Fundraiser will be held Sunday Sept. 16, and the location will be announced very soon.
The contact there is Dr. Ihsan Mamoun
For more information online, visit: www.ssfusa.org or www.sams-usa.net