Sunday, June 29, 2008

LBC-TV had a show on U.S. policies in the Middle East. Shadha `Amr invited an Arabic speaking diplomat from the State Department to meet with a group of Arab students. The host wanted so bad that students would praise the U.S., but to no avail. She asked an Iraqi and a Kuwaiti in the audience, hoping that they would praise Bush. When they clearly did not, and criticized Bush's wars and policies, she kept going around until she found a Lebanese dude who came to the rescue and urged the Iraqis to give Bush's war a chance. And when a young student went on to rail against U.S. wars and occupation and U.S. support for Arab dictatorships, the host was visibly displeased with her. She interrupted her to ask: What about Iran? And then the host turned to a guest from Egypt, hoping that she would get a different message. She prefaced her question by saying that "Egypt had signed a peace treaty with Israel"...and the student interrupted her by saying: "unfortunately." The host clearly displeased asked: why unfortunately? The student went on the criticize U.S. and Israel and the tyranny of Mubarak regime. The host, again, turned to another Egyptian student asking: do you agree with the other Egyptian student? The student agreed. Next time LBC-TV should invite MEMRI guests. I am sure they would not disappoint LBC-TV or U.S. administration. But the Lebanese student, Carol Kirbaj, was the star of the program. She provided the most devastating critique of U.S. economic and political programs in the region. She gave a political economy critique and then said that his U.S. discourse on democracy "provokes" her. She even slipped a critique of Saudi Arabia. If somebody in Lebanon knows Carol Kirbaj, please send her my regards.
PS This show was quite interesting. And although the students were clearly screened, and they were very well-behaved and polite, but LBC-TV could not produce the agreeable Arabs that they wanted, with the exception of that Lebanese student (probably Lebanese Forces supporter). Even the Saudi and Kuwait students disappointed the host and her American guest.