It is unlikely that Western media will take note, but there seems to be a rejuvenation of Arab atheism. Western media never take note of Arab intellectual trends, especially if they deviate from the classical conventional assumptions about the Theologocentric (as Maxime Rodinson called it in his La Fascination de l’Islam) impulses of all Arabs and all Muslims.
Speaking at a conference on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in Stuttgart, I came to realize that the movement is growing although it still faces many obstacles. The BDS movement is growing in the Western world and may have become more mainstream than its enemies may have imagined, as was revealed from the recent stance of Stephen Hawking.
There is no mystery anymore. Israel has been a major player in the Syrian conflict. The Syrian conflict has been an open arena for all the enemies of Syria – dubbed for historical irony as “friends of Syria” – to help themselves to the destruction of Syria the country and not the regime. In fact, all the enemies of Syria would have preferred a deal that would keep the regime intact in order to reassure Israel.
As the leader of the world, Obama does not shy away from bravado and bombastic rhetoric. He made his Red Lines on Syria famous. He basically told the Syrian regime that he won’t care about what the regime does as long as chemical weapons – which scare Israel – are not used. Short of chemical weapons, the Obama administration does not care. Of course, there are some in the Syrian exile opposition who thinks that Obama has been spending sleepless nights in agony over the plight of the Syrian people.
There is a hue and cry in Lebanon and beyond because some known and unknown media have published partial or full lists of witnesses for the international Hariri tribunal. The tribunal is tottering, according to a headline of Al-Akhbar.
There is much in common between King Hussein of Jordan and his son, although the father was far more shrewd and skilled than his incompetent progeny. Both seem to suffer from a White Man complex: they are keen to prove their loyalty and their civilized nature before the White Man. So King Hussein was capable of massacring Palestinians in the camps and seeking Israeli help during Black September, but he was very keen to appear polite and courteous in meetings with Western journalists and leaders.
It is reflective of American liberalism that Ben Affleck, who is considered to the left of the Democratic Party and who is supposed to have been critical of US foreign policies in the Middle East, is behind the movie Argo. The movie received wide publicity and acclaim and has served to energize American national pride. That is what patriotic movies are supposed to do.
Western media suffers from many severe problems in its professionalism and credibility: proximity to ruling governments is one of them. But there is another problem: there is a self-congratulatory tone to much of Western media. They regard themselves as the gold standard when their independence from governments may have decreased over time and when real investigative journalistic work is being undertaken by media in developing countries.