Students and staff at Pathshala, the Dhaka-based South Asian Institute of Photography, received death threats over the weekend from proponents of Islamic law in Bangladesh. The letters, sent to at least three students and 16 staff, faculty and board members, allege that the school’s photographers are violating Islamic law in their work. — from this article
Imagine if the Departments of Arab and Muslim Propaganda had been unable to enroll their own, and especially so many willing hirelings, in the dual aims of depicting their enemies (with a heavy concentration, from 1967 on, on the Mighty Israeli Empire, and from 2003 on, the Crazed Colonialist All-For-Oil Americans In Iraq) as worse than wild beasts, and, secondarily, depicting the wise and just rulers of the Arab and Muslim societies.
In the first category, we have all the staged atrocities, including the re-use of a single children’s corpse during the Hizballah War last year, and the attribution to Israel of deaths clearly caused — possibly even deliberately — by the PLO and its various versions and avatars: Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and so on. (Solemn parsing of the names, and deep discussions of their differences, are absurd when that leads to overlooking their overwhelming agreement, the shared worldview, when it comes to Infidels). Then there are the endless pictures of the wounded in hospitals — a particular feature of Al Jazeera, showing the effects of those monstrous Americans. Yes, those same monstrous Americans who poured in tens of billions of dollars to build schoolhouses, build power grids, re-outfit hospitals, and so on — and would have continued to do it forever had the locals not blown them up, or attacked them, as they tried to do these things, or merely waited and destroyed whatever it was the Americans built.
And the other use of photography comes in such things as the deplorable features shown in National Geographic — which has a lot to answer for, in the last forty years of its local-color gullible and vacuous treatment of such places as Saudi Arabia. What would the Saudis, what would ARAMCO Magazine (I have a dozen back issues in front of me) be without pictures of those wise Saudi rulers, at the majlis, or engaged in some folkloristic dining under the stars in the desert, or dancing, in dishdashas, with daggers, or those pictures of dhows, and the new “Museum of Arab or Islamic Art,” and pictures of calligraphy, and don’t forget the skyline of Dubai.
Think of what Robert Azzi used to offer up, and the images impressed on Western brains about modern, bustling, Saudi Arabia. And now compare that to the real Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Arabia whom “The Religious Policeman” (a disaffected and humorful Saudi) used to blog about, the Saudi Arabia whom the expatriate workers, or the more piercing of them, recollect in tranquility and horror, the Saudi Arabia of those Bin Baz sermons, those ranting textbooks that American reporters were so amazed (see McFarquhar of the New Duranty Times) to discover, when such textbooks, and teachings, have been the stuff of Saudi life since the first school was opened, round about 1930.
Why not take the pictures of the real Saudi Arabia into account? Why not then have the Americans arm and back to the hilt the huge tribe of the Jabal Shammar, that bestrides both Iraq and Saudi Arabia, long ago defeated by Ibn Saud’s Wahhabi warriors, and help them retake Nejd and Hasa, and promise the Shi’a around the oilfields much better treatment? We could thus crush the Wahhabis and let up on the use of oil money for the worldwide support of mosques and madrasas.
Did I forget to mention that all assets of the Saudi royals should be seized by Infidel governments, sold, and the profits be used to pay for the increased security made necessary by Saudi expenditures just over the past three decades? Possibly the Hejaz, or the Two Holy Sanctuaries could be — temporarily — left as a consolation prize to the Al-Saud. They can live on the tourist dollars, what with all the high-rises and other gaudy attractions they are building like nobody’s business all over supposedly “sacred” Mecca. That, and other Hajj-related revenues, should tide them over.