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Re: revolting paramount

1) J. Vernon's speculations as to the reactions of Arab-Americans to the
film Rules of Engagement may or may not be accurate.

It seems difficult to jump from such a speculation to the conclusion that
'Audiences with no knowledge of the Arab world will get a similar
impression', ie two-thirds of them will be 'thrilled' (J.V.'s description)
to see Arab children shooting at US Marines.

2) 'Is it the media's job to portray anybody as a hero?'

The question posed by Professor Shaheen was whether the Western media have
portrayed either 'humanely or heroically'. The problem Shaheen is pointing
to is that the tide of demonization and vilification poured out against
Arabs in Western society is not balanced by images and narratives helping
Westerners to see Arabs as human beings, and not 'terrorists', 'fanatics',
'fundamentalists' and other subhuman creatures.

The problem of anti-Arab racism is no doubt a major part of the continuing
public inertia over economic sanctions against Iraq. The question is how
best to combat this poison as we try to reverse specific policies as soon as
possible. Protesting against this particular film (presuming it is as
described) seems useful. On the sanctions issue, presenting real stories
about actual Iraqis suffering under the sanctions has seemed to us the best
way to break through the racism block.

Best wishes

Milan Rai

Voices in the Wilderness UK
16B Cherwell St
Oxford OX4 1BG
01865 243 232

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