Thursday, December 01, 2005

Don't Bomb Us

Recently I mentioned Josh Rushing's decision to join Al Jazeera International, which must've pushed Donald Rumsfeld into full Strangelove mode. Well, today there's a perfect storm of Al Jazeera news.

First, word that none other than David Frost is joining the network, and former Nightline correspondent Dave Marash is apparently considering a job there, too. Even Ted Koppel is said to have met with Al Jazeera, though he apparently won't be working there.

Then Kevin Drum also directs us to this new blog by Al Jazeera employees, Don't Bomb Us, whose title is an allusion to the recent rumor that George Bush ordered an air strike on the network's Qatar offices.

Five things the Don't Bomb Us crew want us to know:
1. Al Jazeera was the first Arab station to ever broadcast interviews with Israeli officials.

2. Al Jazeera has never broadcast a beheading.

3. George W. Bush has recieved approximately 500 hours of airtime, while Bin Laden has received about 5 hours of airtime.

4. Over 50 million people across the world watch Al Jazeera.

5. The Al Jazeera websites are (Arabic) and (English)., and all other variations have nothing to do with us.
As anyone who's seen Jehane Noujaim's superlative documentary Control Room would know, there's more to Al Jazeera than the current U.S. administration would have us believe. Hopefully, this new international branch of the network, it's American bureau located on K Street in our own capital, will help more Americans to see there's much more to the Arab world in general than they've been lead to believe.

Of course, the onus is on the individual to learn, too, and I've been stunned to hear some of the things people believe about Islam and the Arab world over the past few years. Traveling to Morocco last year helped me dismantle some stereotypes about Islam I'd unwittingly held, though I know there's plenty more I could learn.

Related then: here's an page which focuses on some common myths people have about Islam. Not a particularly exhautive resource, so if you know of a better one, feel free to mention it in the comments.

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