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|20/20 - A perspective on Saudi Arabia|
|03/29/02 at 22:12:13|
| [slm] bros and sistahs,|
Hey turn on your tvs, there's a pretty cool show on SA on 20/20 in abc 10 pm eastern....offering a different perspective. Will write more, once I'm done watching it.
|Lower than expected|
|03/31/02 at 07:20:54|
| [slm] :-)|
So the show....
Well it tried to present a different more modernized view of Saudi Arabia. Barbara Walters (was that her name ???), the host of 20/20 visited SA for 10 days, and gives an account of her journey. The show tried to remove the classic image of SA being nothing but a desert. They highlighted that both men and women receive education, showed the well-built roads, classy malls, fast food restaurants (the crown prince eating Mcdonalds fries :-/
They also interviewed several Saudis including Usama bin Laden's brother :o The main message Muslims there tried to send out is: "Muslims love America!" Some of the Muslims presented their beliefs but weren't able to support them. For example, Walters asked a group of Saudi students whether they were taught in schools that Jews are bad - keeping into context the history of jews. They all replied "Yes!!" but didn't quite explain why.
She also brought up the point that in some SA textbooks it is taught that: When the day of judgement comes, a tree will tell a Muslim "look out there is a jew behind you!" Muslims and Jews will fight, and Muslims will win. She asked the education minister/foreign affairs minister concerning this, and this is what he had to say (this is not word for word by the way): " There are many extremist groups in SA with different kinds of thinking....the textbooks that I revised do not contain such material. It's going to take us time to remove such material out of our textbooks :o" So, he practically was submitting to what the Americans were telling him to do.
Next, she interviewed a group of Muslim women, and questioned them about their abayas. They say they are proud to wear the abaya one of the reasons being not having to overdress. They also mentioned that they loved being a SA muslim but they would still like to see more women employed, and be able to drive cars. Walters asked them regarding the expensive, stylish clothing sold at malls, and if they ever purchase these. They replied that yes, but only at home or at parties. So the basic message was conveyed that Muslim women can actually dress up!! and look good but only in front of Mahram. I think they should have added a little bit more on the real purpose of hijab, i.e. modesty. When asked about what message they'd like to convey to Americans, they said: We are happy to be SA Muslims, we might not necessarily want to have everything American women do.
Next was Bin Laden's youngest brother. He was VERY nervous, and I wouldn't blame him. He used to study in Boston but has been in SA ever since 9/11 because he feared harrassment. He clarified that his family doesn't support him in anyway, and that Americans should know that the deviation of one child in the family shouldn't blemish the name of the entire family.
Well the show was all right, I think it portrayed SA as a modernized country, but the people being interviewed shouldn't have been so 'complying to American rules - we'll obey whatever you say kinda attitude" But I don't think I stand in a position where I can judge them, for atleast they made SOME effort to present Islam to the 'western' world.
|Re: 20/20 - A perspective on Saudi Arabia|
|03/31/02 at 07:52:35|
It is *such* a coincidence that while I was reading this post, I heard the 20-20 jingle from the living room! I think the show was relatively unbiased. Atleast an attempt was made to scratch the surface and see what SA (and Islamic life in general) is really like. I think the 3 women did a fabulous job of talking about why they observe hijab in the limited time they were given. And for a change, they got people who could express themselves in flawless English. However, it always ticks me off when they get Prince (sic) Bandar Bin Sultan (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/terrorism/interviews/bandar.html) to give the Saudi perspective on things >:(
I also liked the Brother's reply when Walters asked him if he wanted to convey any message to the American public (paraphrased): "If you respect me, I will respect you. If you love me, I will love you. But if you hate me, then surely I will hate you."
On another note, I just watched a live interview on CNN with a young American (Adam Shapiro) who is working with a voluntary organization (http://jerusalem.indymedia.org/) who are attending to the injured Palestinians. He is currently in Ramallah and actually spent 24 hours attending to the injured in Yasser Arafat's compound. Subhan'allah ... after seeing him speak, I believe that there are still honest people out there. Starting off, when the CNN interviewer introduced him as Adam Shapiro from Israel, he immediately corrected her by saying (paraphrased) "this is Adam Shaprio from Israel-occupied Palestine, not Israel". He went on to describe the attrocities he's witnessed while attending to the wounded. He even mentioned how Palestinian civilians were being targeted and how he had to negotiate for 3 hours before they were allowed to take the ambulance to the injured Palestinians. He even had the audacity to say that Palestinians were being targeted by Israelis carrying American made weapons and how the US spends 300mn$ annually in military aid to Israel which is used to terrorize Palestinians (yes, he used that word).
True to form, CNN tried to do everything it could to discredit his accounts. While he was speaking, they flashed a news line below that read "Shapiro's fiancee is Palestinian" (!) After he was done, the reporter was apparently flustered by his reactions and asked him if he was a practising Jew!!! Sheesh. But may Allah protect such people who call a spade a spade.
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