I watched a very interesting documentary yesterday on Aljazeera Documentary Channel.
It is called (Nations stereotyping in Hollywood: Evil Arabs).(at least that how i translated the title,but the host was an american professor anyway)
I have to say that I like Hollywood productions very much, and I try to watch as many movies as I can whenever I find time. So it is not a call to stop watching American movies ,since I am a big fan of them myself , but I wanted to share you this.
The documentary was about the stereotypes presented in American movies, especially about Arabs and Muslims.
It is astonishing to know that 25% of American movies are presenting a negative image about Muslims, Arabs, and even Arab-Americans.
Historically, the cinema in America is used to present these kind of stereotypes in its movies, and that helped in shaping the subconscious of American people generation after generation: there was the dumb and funny blacks (N-word was in use then); the mean and evil mysterious Chinese with the long ,thin moustache and long frightening finger nails ,and there is also the greedy Jewish whose only concern was the good green of the dollar.
Gradually, for variety of reasons, the attention in these movies has been shifted to Arab stereotypes. It has become racism to make fun of blacks , Chinese and Jewish. Arabs have become the perfect enemy, and it is totally justified to present bad images about them, since media had no business for the past three decades but to show how Arabs were involved in every aspect of ruining the democratic way of life that the western nations embrace.
Well, the documentary mentioned many examples of a well known movies ,some of which I watched myself ,but one particular movie ,this one I’ve never watched before, caught my attention. I can’t recall the name of the movie now ,but Samuel L. Jackson and Thomas Lee Jones were the stars of the movie.
The story is about the U.S embassy in Yemen. The embassy was surrounded by large crowd of Arabs who were angry for some reason(you know , we are always angry about some thing). the crowd was made of many men, old men , women ,and children ,and the director made sure to make that clear on screen. the U.S government sent a force of Navy Seals ,the best in Navy army, to help evacuating the embassy. While in embassy ,the leader of this team(Samuel L. Jackson) ordered his men to shoot the crowds surrounding the embassy from the roof of it, and it was a massacre. The camera moved around to show us dead and injured women , children with their screams and cries. It was really a moving scene. After that the commanding officer presented to martial court for this crime. His attorney(Thomas Lee Jones) traveled to Yemen to investigate these allegation.
Every thing was leading to the fact that the officer committed a vicious crime of no excuse. But in the street, the attorney look at this innocent girl walking in the street with only one leg ,she was about 7 years old. She stopped, looked at him with her wide innocent beautiful eyes(very moving scene by the way), and started to walk away with the help of the crutches she used. He followed her till they reached a hospital filled with that shooting incident victims. He moved around looking at the injured on their beds ,then he stop near one ,there ,on the ground ,there was a tape laid down. He picked it up and left. When he heard what is recorded on that tape ,he decided to use it during the trial. On the tape there is a voice of a man speaks in Arabic ,shouting that all Americans ,soldiers or civilians ,deserve to die, and they must be killed where ever you find them. Then a flash back scene to the shooting incident revealed what (really) happened around the embassy that day. When the embassy was surrounded by all these people ,it wasn’t just a peaceful protest ,no, there was a signal ,after which every one of the crowd pulled out a pistol or a machine gun from underneath their dresses, and I mean every body in that crowd: the women, the young men ,the very old men ,and all together they started to shoot at the embassy while the navy seals took cover on the roof the embassy. The worst scene was when the camera started to move among the barbaric crowd while they were shooting ,all the women,men,teen age, old men ,the camera stopped at one particular face. Guess whose face? Remember that wide eyes ,innocent ,one legged ,7 years old girl? Yes, she was looking at the embassy with all hate and with out any emotion ,she pulled out a pistol and started to shoot!!!!!!!!. Of course the officer was forced to shoot defending himself and his team, so he was declareed innocent.
I was shocked ,what message this movie makers intended to deliver for God’s sake? It is as if the movie makers are saying :no one of them deserves mercy ,because they are all killers ,even the 7 years old??????????????
It gave me a strange feeling really. I defend no body here, there is criminals among Arabs and Muslims.as there is among every other nation, but this is not my trade mark!!!
It is really sad to present such a disgusting image about us ,but the worse is to accept this as an unavoidable price we have to pay. It is not true ,and must be changed.