Sunday, November 30, 2014

Suleiman Bakhit: the Jordanian comic book artist and his bizarre promotion in the New York Times

I don't know who Danny Hakim is but he wrote this odd promotional propaganda piece about a Jordanian comic book artist named Suleiman Bakhit (his father was prime minister and ambassador to Israel and his latter post may have endeared him to the editors of the Times).  He makes unsubstantiated claims. Let me first say that I have been talking to Jordanians in the last 24 hours and asking about him and not a single one has ever heard of him.  I asked Arabs and no one knew who he was.  I used googled and could not find anything except one article from several years ago in Al-Akhbar, of all places.  He talks about over a million copy "sold" of his comic book when in reality the regime newspaper gave it out for free as part of the daily paper for a while. Yet, still no one knows who he is and no one ever heard of him. This is something common in US propaganda: they tell Arabs that there is one among you who is very famous, and Arabs don't know who that person is but they make that person famous by providing Western media coverage to convince Arabs that that person is famous.  But I watched his presentation in Oslo (which probably made him known to the NYT) and it was most pathetic.  First, there is no evidence whatsoever that he was attacked "by extremists" in Jordan.  We would have known about that had it been true.  And extremists were bothered by his work when no one knows of his work?  How suspicious is that. He also claims that he was beaten in Minnesota by a group of Americans after Sep. 11.  Minnesota is a friendly state and I also could not find evidence that he was attacked there.  So the story gets more and more supicious.  And his presentation about shame in Arab culture is drawn from racist books like the Arab Mind.   In other word, the US or its media want to make that guy known among Arabs.  I can officially report to you that no one knows who he is no one is aware of his work.  Also, he claims that he wants to provide favorable views of women by drawing characters of female soldiers (Americans in Jordan?) who fight terrorists.  I wrote about this in Arabic on Facebook and told Arabs: how can Arabs be blamed for being conspiracy-minded?

PS Notice that he gives the same answers in the same words in the interview in the Times as he used in his presentation on Youtube.  He made the same jokes even.

PPS Only a Western journalist and a government official in Washington, DC can believe that fighting terrorism requires a comic book with new heroes to replace "Bin Laden" (assuming that agree with the thesis of Bakhit that Arab youth consider Bin Laden and Zarqawi a "hero", which is not the case).