Forthcoming

"Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another." author Toni Morrison (1931- 05.08.2019)

“If I tell the story, I control the version. Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me”; Nora Ephron, author/comedian

"Make your story count". Michelle Obama

"Social pain is understood through the lens of racial animus". Researcher/author Sean McElwee writing in Salon, 2016

"We are citizens, not subjects. We have the right to criticize government without fear."  Chelsea Manning; activist/whisleblower

“My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I’m going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you, And no fascist minded people, like you, will drive me from it. Is that clear?” Paul Robeson; activist/singer

“We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent”. from civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson

“This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?” Frederick Douglass, WHAT TO THE SLAVE IS 4TH JULY? 07.05.1852 (full text in blog)

Senator Elizabeth Warren "We're a country that is built on our differences; that is our strength, not our weakness"

 

"We are more alike than we are different"v  Maya Angelou

As a Black writer, I was expected to accept the role of victim. That made it difficult in the beginning to be a writer.      James Baldwin

I often feel that there must have been something that I should’ve done that I didn’t do. But I can’t identify what it is that I didn’t do. That’s the first difficulty. And the second is, what makes you think you’re it?   

         Harry Belafonte, activist and singer at 89

 

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble; It's what you know for sure that just ainst so.

Mark Twain

 

You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you.

Mary Tyler Moore

 

 You can’t defend Christianity by being against refugees and other religions

Pope Francis:

 

"I don't have to be what you want me to be". Muhammad Ali

"The Secret of Living Well and Longer: eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure"  attributed to Tibetan sources

Recent audio posts include interviews with Rumi interpreter Shahram Shiva, London-based author Aamer Hussein, South African Muslim scholar, professor Farid Esack, and Iraqi journalist Nermeen Al-Mufti's brief account of Kirkuk City history. Your comments on our blogs are always welcome.

 

A view of Al-Jazeera TV from the Middle East.

2010-12-10

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

Although I am not in Doha, Qatar itself I watch the Al-Jazeera networks daily along with a host of other Arabic language channels. I refer not to Al-Jazeera English, which many Americans (mis)understand as the famous Arabic language TV network that came to prominence after the first Gulf War in 1991.  Al-Jazeera (Arabic) attracted worldwide attention and admiration for alternative views it offered with the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. Today it remains a top news source where one can also find excellent critical views of US foreign policy and solid reports of developments around the world that never reach the US public.

The original Arabic Al-Jazeera is still an unrivalled world news source for Arabic speakers. It is a network (65 bureaus globally) with highly professional correspondents, excellent news sources, and a roster of Arab-speaking experts on a wide range of subjects. It features hard hitting debates led by provocative hosts—men and women; it maintains an unflinching support for Palestinian independence, and offers sound criticisms of Israel and US policies in particular.  

But Al-Jazeera (English) is a different and weaker creature. The Al-Jazeera that some Americans (especially those identifying themselves as progressives) look to as an hard-hitting alternative source on the Middle East is not the original Al-Jazeera.  

Much has changed in the last 6-7 years. Al-Jazeera Network now has five 24/7 Arab language channels: Besides (the original Arabic) Al-Jazeera News, it now includes Al-Jazeera Sports, Al-Jazeera Documentary, Al-Jazeera Mubasher (Live), and Al-Jazeera Children. Al-Jazeera Documentary frequently broadcasts translations of English language historical, political and science specials, often programs originating in the US. Al-Jazeera Children also takes a lot of material from western sources. 

Then there is Al-Jazeera English (English.aljazeera.net). It started up April 16, 2007. While this channel is generally supportive of Palestinian independence and seeks out alternatives to what one finds on CNN or BBC, it does not carry the hard-hitting programs and in-depth political analyses one finds on its parent Arabic news channel. Nor it as aggressively and uncompromisingly critical of US and Israeli policy as the Arabic channel.  

Al-Jazeera English is more akin to Free Speech Radio News (FSRN.org), the daily radio news radio program known to many Pacifica listeners. Unlike BBC and CNN, but like FSRN, Al-Jazeera English correspondents are primarily from within the country they are reporting on. Which means a story from Guinea Bissau will be reported by a Bissauan journalist, a story from Indonesia by an Indonesian journalist, and so on. These correspondents are excellent. The network also seeks out commentators who will, for example, dare to mention Israeli activities within Iraq, or to criticize UN policies, corruption and ineffectiveness. Welcome as they may be, criticisms of taboo subjects are limited, even on Al-Jazeera English.  

Then we have English Al-Jazeera’s in-depth interviews like that hosted by Riz Khan, and the debate program ‘Empire’ led by Marwan Bishara. Points of view broadcast in these discussions come close to what you might find on ‘Democracy Now’. (Al-Jazeera English is not a Middle East-focused channel.) 

This week Pacifica announced that its four US-Pacifica Radio stations will carry a one hour news feed from Al-Jazeera daily. This will, I expect be English Al-Jazeera; and since the original is a 24 hour service, the one hour of Al-Jazeera for Pacifica will, by necessity, be heavily edited. 

Will this edited English Al-Jazeera be a real addition to Pacifica? I suppose it is worth a try. But do not expect the hard hitting, real alternative news Arabic Al-Jazeera News provides Arabic speakers in the rest of the world. Alas. 

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