Sunday, May 06, 2007

Michael Husayn Young, unplugged: A Liberal for Bush (and his wars). So I watched a DVRed show in which Michael Young was a guest. It was the first time I see him on Arabic TV. It was on a new show on Future TV (Hariri TV) hosted by the able Najat Sharaf Ad-Din. She hosts a weekly program in which she invites Arab and Western journalists to discuss various issues. I have admired Sharaf Ad-Din (not because she is from a family closely linked to my family in Tyre) because she does not smile on TV as she anchors the news. That takes courage. Her new show is Transit, and it is the only show on Hariri TV that invites people from "the other side." First, Young has lived in Lebanon all his life and his Arabic is so weak (Alberto Fernandez speaks better Arabic than him--I kid you not). The other guests were `Imad Marmal of Al-Manar TV and Hala Jaber (is she `Ali's sister, by the way) of Sunday Times. I was shocked how much Young tried to distance himself from...well, from his own English language columns. I think that Young often writes with the knowledge that nobody in the Arab world reads what he writes. To his surprise, the host has done her homework, and she asked him about what he actually writes against Hizbullah. He--I kid you not--denied that he is opposed to Hizbullah. He said that he merely offers "criticisms" of Hizbullah. She told him that she has read his articles and that he has described Hizbullah as a "terrorist organization." He, again, denied that. I was expecting him to say "under advise of counsel, I wish to exercise my right under the Fifth amendment." He said that he tried to interview Nasrallah a year ago but that the interview was denied a day after he wrote a critical article in the Daily Star. Let me say this, Mr. expert on offshoots. I don't wish to hurt your feelings but nobody (not in Hizbullah and not outside of Hizbullah) reads the Daily Star. It is merely read by students, journalists, and academics scattered in English language institutions in the West. She asked him a question and referred to him as "neo-conservative." He said that he is not neo-conservative and that he is not even conservative. He said that he is "a liberal" and that in the US it is called "libertarian." I guess that he is one of those "Liberals-for-Bush-and-his-wars." She asked him whether he believes Bush's promises of democracy: he dodged that question, once, twice, and thrice. He just did not want to answer it. It was clear that he was embarrassed to say the he indeed believes Bush and his promises. He indicated that he supported the war and occupation of Iraq because it was good for "Arab liberals." That was the hilarious part of the program: Young's constant reference to himself as an unofficial spokesperson of Arab liberals. You would think that Arab liberals would at least select a spokesperson who can write and speak in classical Arabic.