Egyptens drømmevision:

Mubarak redder heldigvis verden

Sådan så det ud i virkeligheden ved ceremonien i Det hvide Hus, som naturligvis også er iscenesat. Men fotografiet er i det mindste ægte nok..
Sådan så det ud i virkeligheden ved ceremonien i Det hvide Hus, som naturligvis også er iscenesat. Men fotografiet er i det mindste ægte nok..

JERUSALEM (16.09.2010): Egyptens aldrende præsident Hosni Mubarak fører an i forsøgene på at gøre verden til et bedre og mere fredeligt sted. Det er ham, der står i spidsen for bestræbelserne for at skabe fred mellem palæstinenserne og Israel. USA's præsident Barack Obama og alle andre følger lydigt i den egyptiske præsidents fodspor.

Det er i hvert fald det billede den egyptiske regeringsavis Al Ahram giver sine læsere af virkeligheden. Men det er en manipuleret virkelighed. Foto-manipulation som i de gode gamle dage, hvor de kommunistiske landes statslige censur møjsommeligt sad og retoucherede fotografierne, så uønskede personer forsvandt eller partisekretæren kom til at tage sig mere imponerende ud end han var.

 
 
Det rigtige fotografi ovenfra INDEN manipulationen. Bemærk kong Abdallah ude i overhalingsbanen. Den hastighedsoverskridelse har garanteret heller ikke huet egypterne.

På de officielle fotografier, som Det hvide Hus’ pressekontor udsendte fra indledningen af den nye runde fredsforhandlinger mellem parterne i Mellemøsten, går de fem stats- og regeringschefer hen ad den røde løber frem mod det afsluttende pressemøde i V-facon. USA's præsident Barack Obama forrest. Israels premierminister Benyamin Netanyahu og den palæstinensiske præsident Mahmoud Abbas til højre og venstre for ham, et halvt skridt bagved. Og bagerst, endnu et halvt skridt efter går den egyptiske præsident Hosni Mubarak og Jordans kong Abdallah. (Da fotografen trykker på udløseren har Abdallah dog lige overhalet Abbas).

Men den virkelighed passede ikke ind i regeringsavisen Al Ahrams virkelighedsopfattelse. Så de gik i gang med at photoshoppe, som det hedder nu om dage. Manipulere fotografiet så deres egen præsident endte med at gå forrest. I spidsen for hele foretagendet. Bag Mubarak følger præsident Obama så med Abbas til venstre for sig. Kong Abdallah er også blevet banket på plads. Ganske vist er han ikke helt tilbage, hvor han burde være, men han er i det mindste ikke på højde med den egyptiske farao. Helt tabt bag af vognen er Israels premierminister Netanyahu. Han er naturligvis blevet placeret allerbagerst. Redaktørerne ville sikkert helst helt have slettet israeleren, men han er dog i det mindste fortsat med på billedet.

 
 
Virkeligheden som den BØR se ud efter det egyptiske regeringsorgans mening. Gode gamle Hosni i spidsen for det hele.

Egypten er gået ind i valgkampen, og det er sikkert i den sammenhæng, man skal se det klodsede forsøg på at blæse præsident Mubaraks betydning op. Om nogle måneder skal der være valg til Nationalforsamlingen og til næste år præsidentvalg. Til den tid vil Hosni Mubarak have været præsident i 30 år!!! Fem præsidentperioder hver på seks år. Og det regerende NDP mener, at den 82-årige præsident skal stille op igen.

Titlen på Al Ahrams artikel var heller ikke noget med ”Mellemøsten på vej mod fred” eller lignende. Nej overskriften var ”På vej mod Sharm el-Sheikh”. Den egyptiske Rødehavsby, hvor anden runde af forhandlingerne foregik for to dage siden. Målet er ikke fred eller forhandlinger. Målet er at komme en tur til Sharm el-Sheikh. Formentlig fordi alle så gerne vil til Egypten. Her er nemlig så stabilt, at præsidenter ikke går af, men regerer længere end de fleste af oldtidens store faraoner.

Den egyptiske opposition har naturligvis opdaget manipulationen og offentliggjort den.

 
 
Hov! Hvor er han henne? Hovedpersonen: Hosni Mubarak himself er forsvundet!!! Klippet ud!!! Kun en lille strimmel er der tilbage af Egyptens stolthed. Det billede får egypterne aldrig at se.

”Det her er hvad et korrupt regime har reduceret sine medier til. At foregøjle at Mubarak fører an og de andre følger”, skriver ”6. april-ungdomsbevægelsen” på sin hjemmeside.

Den uafhængige avis Al-Masry al-Yom kalder det ”et kirurgisk indgreb” på virkeligheden for at ”vise Mubarak i spidsen og de andre bagefter”.

Den statslige Al Ahram vil ikke kommentere sagen, men har nu på sin hjemmeside skiftet det manipulerede fotografi fra Washington ud med et, hvor de tilstedeværende ledere blot sidder ved siden af hinanden i Sharm el-Sheikh. Ingen over, ingen under.

Men i det mindste kom de da til Egypten. Al Ahram fik ret med sin overskrift. Så måske er det også deres fotografi, der er det rigtige?

På det tidspunkt var USA's præsident Barak Obama dog blevet hægtet af. Han var blevet efterladt i Washington. Men heldigvis har de telefoner i Det hvide Hus, så Obama kan altid ringe til præsident Mubarak, og få gode råd og vejledning fra en præsidentkollega med ikke mindre 30 års erfaring og styr på medierne.



AL AHRAM SVARER

Så har chefredaktøren for avisen Al Ahram, Osama Saraya, endelig reageret på sagen om hans avis' billedmanipulation. Se hans forklaring i AP-telegrammet herunder.

      Når man læser hans forklaringen, tager man sig til hovedet. Den er næsten dummere end selve manipulationen. Man spørger uvægerligt sig selv, hvilke kvalifikationer, man på avisen er ude efter, når man ansætter chefredaktører på. Men det finder vi formentlig snart ud af, for der burde vel snart være en stillingsannonce at læse, når Osama Saraya snart bliver fyret.

     Og så igen… det er Egypten, vi taler om. Han bliver sikkert ikke fyret. Måske blot forfremmet.


 

Egyptian newspaper defends doctored photo

By SARAH EL DEEB
Associated Press Writer
September 17, 2010 - 16:54

CAIRO (AP) -- A state-run newspaper on Friday defended a decision to publish a doctored photograph putting Egypt's president front and center at Mideast peace talks in Washington, saying it was meant to illustrate Hosni Mubarak's key role.
     The original photo shows President Barack Obama in the lead, flanked by the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah II on the red carpet as the talks got under way Sept. 1 in Washington.
     Al-Ahram, Egypt's oldest newspaper, altered that image in its Tuesday edition to show Mubarak in the lead, with Obama slightly behind him to his right, plastered over a broadsheet article titled «the Road to Sharm El Sheikh.» That was referring to the Egyptian Red Sea resort that hosted the second round of negotiations, which wrapped up in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
     Egyptian bloggers and activists said the photo was unprofessional and called it an example of the regime's deception of its own people. Critics also said the photo was an attempt to distract attention from the fact that Egypt's role in the Mideast peace process has waned.
     The newspaper's editor-in chief, Osama Saraya, lashed out at critics in an editorial Friday, pointing out the original photo was published the day the talks began and the doctored version was only meant to illustrate Egypt's leading role in the Mideast peace process, not to change the story.
     «The expressionist photo is ... a brief, live and true expression of the prominent stance of President Mubarak in the Palestinian issue, his unique role in leading it before Washington or any other,» Saraya wrote. The photo is still posted on the newspaper's website.
     Egyptian officials have said they were providing a location for the talks and were not involved in the mediation, although Mubarak suggested a compromise over Israel's plan to lift its partial ban on construction on the West Bank later this month.
     Opponents of Mubarak's nearly three-decade rule seized on the controversy to criticize the government, which is accused of widespread abuses aimed at suppressing dissent.
     Egyptian blogger Wael Khalil, who first called attention to the altered photo, said the photo was a «snapshot» of what he called daily deception about a number of issues, including democratic change and social justice.
     «They lie to us all the time,» he said. «Instead of addressing the real issues, they just Photoshop it.»
     Saraya accused critics of launching a smear campaign against Al-Ahram, which was first published in 1876. The newspaper has enjoyed the widest circulation in Egypt but has faced a growing challenge in recent years by a new breed of private publications and the Internet.
It is not unusual for Egyptian newspapers to retouch pictures of senior officials to improve their appearance or light.
     Hisham Kassem, a publisher and human rights activist, said those who posted the image had apparently meant to please the president; a practice he said was reminiscent of old Soviet ways.
     «It has done more harm,» Kassem said.


The Ultimate Lesson of Egypt’s Fake Photo
The Muslim world needs a cultural, as opposed to merely a religious, reformation

By Raymond Ibrahim
Middle East Forum
September 22, 2010

One of the most widely circulated newspapers in the world, Egypt's Al Ahram, recently ran a fake picture depicting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak walking in front of U.S. President Barack Obama and a pack of other Mideast leaders. In fact, based on the original photo, Mubarak, the octogenarian, appeared trailing last.

Why the outlandish deception by an internationally recognized newspaper founded in 1875? Al Ahram editor Ossama al-Saraya defended the fraudulent photo by referring to it as an "expressionist photo … a brief, live and true expression of the prominent stance of President Mubarak in the Palestinian issue, his unique role in leading it before Washington." All well and good, but beyond the euphemisms and rationalizations, the fact remains: by portraying something that was not true, the state-run Al Ahram intentionally tried to deceive the people.

On the one hand, as Wael Khalil, the Egyptian blogger who first called attention to the altered photo pointed out, this anecdote is a snapshot of the routine deception the Egyptian government foists on the people: "They lie to us all the time. Instead of addressing the real issues, they just Photoshop it." On a deeper level, this incident reveals that, contrary to common belief, the fundamental problem facing the reformation of the Islamic world is not merely doctrinal; it is cultural.

Consider: even though sharia law promotes various troubling doctrines — the subjugation of non-Muslims and women, animosity to the non-Muslim world, even the use of deception, as in the case of the Mubarak picture — the one hope has been that only "radical" Muslims follow these mandates. And this is true, consciously speaking. Unconsciously, however, sharia's teachings have become so imbedded in the Muslim psyche, permeating the worldview of all people born or bred in the Islamic world, regardless of whether they are "moderate" or "radical," indeed, regardless of whether they are Muslim at all.

Marshall Hodgson coined the term "Islamicate" to describe this phenomenon, which refers "not directly to the religion, Islam, itself, but to the social and cultural complex historically associated with Islam and the Muslims, both among Muslims themselves and even when found among non-Muslims" (The Venture of Islam, vol. 1, p.59). Daniel Pipes agrees: "Shar'i regulations were also at the heart of many Islamicate patters… [T]he Muslim approach to politics derives from the invariant premises of the religion and from fundamental themes established more than a millennium ago" (In the Path of God, pgs. 91-93).

In other words, if Muslim culture is more mind-molding and consequential than Muslim doctrine, still, the former has strong roots in the latter. Thus, while radical Muslims consciously seek to uphold the letter of the law, moderates unconsciously adhere to its cultural, social, and political manifestations.

In this context, then, Egypt's Al Ahram's Photoshop deception is consistent. Because Muhammad, and by extension sharia, permit deceit, or taqiyya, it was only natural for deception to find its way into the socio-political culture of Islam. So, whereas the radical Osama bin Laden consciously tries to implement Muhammad's injunction that "war is deceit," secularist Hosni Mubarak and his regime, including at Al Ahram, have been unconsciously molded by it. More to the point, aside from the Western media and opposition groups to Mubarak, the so-called "Arab Street" is hardly scandalized by this event, seeing it as a natural occurrence — not so much because the Mubarak regime is particularly deceptive, but rather because the use of deceit to stay in power is consistent to the Islamicate mindset.

Lest one still doubt that aspects of a religion can become casually embedded in the social fabric of a civilization, one need look no further than to Christianity, which continues to exhibit an unconscious influence on the secular West, including upon those who most disavow it. After all, tolerance, human rights, a desire for peace, being the "nice guy" — indeed, all of those concepts most championed by today's liberal secularist, did not develop in a vacuum, but rather from precursor concepts held by a 2,000 year old religion, concepts which were then absurd and today aberrant, but which nonetheless conditioned the West's secular mindset accordingly.

In short, the teachings of a religion can subtly color the worldview of its non-observant posterity. This is especially so for Muslims: for if Western secularists, who disclaim Christianity, are still influenced by its teachings, how much more Muslims who openly avow Islam? Not only Photoshop deceit, then, but any number of "Islamicate" aspects — from a tribal sense of loyalty to fellow Muslims to hatred for dogs, because Muhammad said so — remain part of the average Muslim's intellectual framework.

Let it be known, then, that well meaning, moderate Muslims have yet another obstacle to tackle in their quest to reform the Islamic world. After they manage to revise some of Islam's intolerant teachings and archaic doctrines — a feat difficult enough — they must then figure out how to eradicate the fourteen-hundred year old epistemology borne of them.

Raymond Ibrahim is associate director of the Middle East Forum, author of The Al Qaeda Reader, and guest lecturer at the National Defense Intelligence College.


http://www.meforum.org/2752/muslim-world-culture-reformation-islamicate

 

 

 
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