Another delightful and engrossing article, on Ramadan TV shows in the Middle East, from the good folks at the Christian Science Monitor.
The article explores some of the interesting ways that TV shows are combatting extremism and terrorism.
One passage really highlights how problematic and contradictory America’s role is in the great Global War on Terror (GWOT).
In recent years, Ramadan miniseries have triggered controversy, frequently angering the US, Israeli, and various Arab governments, or as in the case this year, Islamic fundamentalists. Last Ramadan, a series called "The Road to Kabul," about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, was cancelled after just eight episodes. The show’s creators had received death threats for portraying the Taliban in a negative light. Industry insiders, however, say the reason for the show’s cancellation was US pressure on the Qatari government, which produced the show. The US reportedly feared that scenes of CIA agents selling heroin to fund the mujahideen would fire anti-American sentiment in the region.
Fascinating. An honest and effective criticism of the extremism of the infamous Arab Afghans and Taliban ultimately indicts American foreign policy! You don’t get better symbolism of the US government’s "messy" involvement in this phenomenon than the pathetic sight of the US pressuring Qatar to pull a show that attacks al-Qaeda.
Like the father of an illegitimate child, we squirm whenever specific facts about our baby’s parentage and birth come up. That’s how intimately involved we are in this problem.
Note: If this angle is news to you and if care a whit about fighting terror, turn off your computer and immediately read Mahmood Mamdani’s indispensable Good Muslim, Bad Muslim cover to cover. Hurry.
You simply can’t understand the rise of contemporary Islamic extremism until you know how enthusiastically we participated in the creation of and promotion of these vile forces around the world during the 1970s and 1980s. We created this monster. Mamdani’s eye-opening exploration of the American government’s longstanding involvement in the drug trade as a means to finance illegal wars is not to be missed.
If you have suggestions for other works that explore this underdebated topic, please share them in the comments section.