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The Eternal Satellite Channel… - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Baath Party, and the way that it occupied neighboring Arab countries and murdered leaders and officials, will be remembered for its “contribution” to “one Arab nation, with an eternal mission”. It accused those who disagreed with the party’s values of betrayal and issued statements charging individuals with treason and affiliating them with “imperialism” and international conspiracies against the nation. Incomprehensible phrases were and still are tantamount to the drugging of the futures of nations.

On the other hand, there is the Muslim Brotherhood that has revived the notions of denouncing individuals as infidels and the politicizing of religion. It seeks to overthrow “disbelieving” regimes and to guide the “misguided” nations and has issued fatwas that permit assassinations and that state that anything goes in the interest of a higher goal.

These two ideologies, that of the Baath and that of the Muslim Brotherhood, have caused much havoc and division in the region. Ten years ago, their goal was realized in the form of a satellite television channel that presents an evil mix that plants ideas into the minds of innocents. Many of the programs and news bulletins are based upon an odd mixture of Baath and Muslim Brotherhood beliefs, the strongest level of Arab secular political ideology on one side and Islamic political extremism on the other. Two news items that were broadcast around the same time via this satellite channel would demonstrate this bizarre mixture of Baathist and Muslim Brotherhood principles: firstly, the news of a personal invite for the Israeli foreign minister from Qatar (where the satellite channel is based), and secondly Tunisia cutting off ties with Qatar due to what it called the satellite channel’s “hostile campaign” against Tunisian policies. As Israel arrives, Tunisia departs! It is inevitable that the channel’s selectivity concerning what it reports and what it ignores, and its decision not to take into account the Qatari alliances even if they are not in the interest of the truth and justice, would provoke surprise and even disgust.

Why is it that the Iraqis have the right to resist the American invasion whilst the idea of resisting the Iranian occupation of the Emirate islands is unheard of? Why is it that we hear about the prisoners in Iraqi jails and in depressing Guantanamo whilst the subject of the Lebanese prisoners in Syria is rarely discussed? If locally elected democracy in Palestine becomes a bidding tool between Iran and Syria it will gradually become a dictatorship that devastates lives and the future of innocents.

The continuous attempt to sell the idea that only one source is presenting the complete truth in the interest of the Arab world and Islamic justice is nonsense and the result of which is extremism, an increasing frustration amongst the public and an unstoppable Arab division.

A Qatari official commented on the Tunisian statement regarding the closure of its embassy in Doha and the suspension of diplomatic ties, saying that Qatar has no authority over the concerned satellite channel, whilst this very channel receives all its support and assurance of its continuation from the Qatari government. Comments such as these have become an old joke….a very bad old joke.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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