Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Al Qaeda, Al Arabiya, Dubai, and Common Sense

This is interesting, and hopeful:
"Popular Arab TV Program Exposes the Real Al Qaeda

"The show is called 'Death Making' in Arabic, hardly the way Al Qaeda probably wants itself described.

"But that is how the powerful pan-Arabic satellite channel Al Arabiya casts the terror organization and its foot soldiers in its popular television program.

"Hosted by female correspondent Rima Salha, the Dubai-based show is heading into its third year on Al Arabiya and aims to influence how the Arab world views Al Qaeda...."
("Popular Arab TV Program Exposes the Real Al Qaeda" FOXNews (September 1, 2009))
This seems like a bold move for an outfit in that part of the world: but Dubai has struck me as having leaders who understand the real world, even if they don't quite approve, and are making an effort at catching up on several centuries of changes.

The Al Arabiya show (third year?! not bad at all!) is one of those instances where 'those Muslims' defy the stereotype that organizations like Al Qaida and the Taliban have worked so hard to establish: that a Muslim is a religious fanatic . I hope this sort of thing catches on.

Once their petroleum reserves run out, and/or the rest of the world finds a viable alternative, many people in the Middle East will be in for a massive change in fortune. I think it'll be easier for countries there to adjust - or, better yet, prepare - if many of their citizens aren't struggling to live in the pre-Magna Carta world.

I'm no huge fan of Dubai. The country has a dubious record when it comes to freedom of expression and interference with online communications. On the other hand, Dubai's Sheik Rashid understands what a great opportunity his land has - and how little time there is to use it.
"...He knew that his land's oil was a source of great wealth that would last - a while. Looking at the few decades of prosperity that drilling for petroleum would yield, he said, 'My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I drive a Mercedes, my son drives a Land Rover, his son will drive a Land Rover, but his son will ride a camel."...'
(December 8, 2007)
Dubai's world-class architecture is part of an economic development plan intended to keep the people going after the oil revenue runs out. Judging from this program, it looks like Dubai's good sense may extend beyond economics. Or, maybe someone there realizes that it'll be easier to make a profit without religious crazies blowing up people and buildings.

Either way, if Sheik Rashid's plans work, and Al Arabiya's programming helps change minds and hearts in the Middle East: it's good news for Dubai, and for the rest of us.

Somewhat-related posts:


Anonymous said...

Dubai is of interest to me, thanks for a great post. Seriously a place to keep an eye on. Have you heard about Masdar City in Dubai?

Brian H. Gill said...


My pleasure. About Masdar City: the name sounds familiar, but I don't place it. Odds are pretty good that I'll run across it, researching posts for this and other blogs, though. Thanks for the heads-up.

Anonymous said...

Masdar City to me is super scary and yet addictive. Here it is on youtube

Brian H. Gill said...


Thanks for the URL. I'm watching the video. Interesting, to say the least.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.