“The Making of the Arab Menace,” from Rayan El-Amine in the Dissident Voice, with thanks to Skeetstreet:
Anti-Arabism and Islamophobia are so much a part of the political and cultural discourse on Arabs and Muslims in American society today that most do not even recognize it as racism. The fear mongering of the Bush administration and the right wing media pundits who make a living from demonizing Arabs and Muslims have inundated people with images of the violent Arabs bent on death and destruction. For media outlets like Fox Television, it is a way to sell their sensationalist news programs and for the current administration, a way to sell its wars.
Funny how the Islamic world keeps obliging Fox and Bush by supplying plenty of images of violent Arabs bent on death and destruction. Or maybe all those are concocted by Italian and Greek actors on top secret soundstages adjacent to Camp David.
The article then goes on to repeat some old falsehoods about Daniel Pipes, and then says that we are now fighting, lo and behold, a “New Crusade”:
While the neo-cons and Bush embark on a new white man’s burden of remaking the Arab and Muslim world, the media has found a niche in being a mouthpiece to this new crusade. Fox Television, MSNBC, CNN and other networks saw their ratings go up after 9-11, as their production of the “war on terror” began. The strategy was to keep the story simple; the US is good and Arabs and Muslims are evil. The cast was already in place: neo-conservatives from the administration, generals, “terrorist experts” and retired military media advisors were all ready to be directed by right wing news show hosts, like Bill O’Reilly from Fox and the like…
This is insanely ludicrous in light of the fact that Fox behaved like a good dhimmi when CAIR complained about Islamic terrorists on 24.
The potency and resilience of anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia today lies in the combination of three factors. First, its historical foundations are rooted in the imperialist view of the Arab/Muslim world as violent, backward and uncivilized. This was generated by early colonial Orientalist scholars who wrote about the Arab world’s inferiority as a way to justify colonization by the West.
In fact, the Orientalists wrote honestly about Islam, and weren’t interested in justifying anything. The Saidists who smear and vilify them, like Mark LeVine, Omid Safi, and others we have encountered here, are the ones who have politicized academia.
Second, racism against Arabs in films and popular culture has gone on for years. Even before 9-11, Arabs were portrayed almost exclusively as terrorists, rich greedy sheikhs, belly dancers or backwards desert dwellers.
Yeah, look at the movie Kingdom of Heaven for more of those bad screen Arabs.
Last and probably most important, anti-Arabism and Islamophobia have been perpetuated by American foreign policy that has waged wars directly or indirectly on the Arab and Muslim world for decades for geopolitical reasons without any regard for its inhabitants. It is easier to justify control of a region when you demonize and dehumanize its people and culture.
Oh, brother. If you attempt read the rest, keep that bottle of Pepto handy.