Sunday, April 10, 2005

John Paul the II a missed opportunity for the Arabs

This post was written by Twosret, a fellow Egyptian living in the United States.
Many thanks Twosret for sharing this.

There are mixed feelings in my heart about the Pope's death but the one that provoked me the most is how the Arab nation have missed a great opportunity by the death of this unusual man.

It is a well-known fact that Leon Uris' Exodus did more for the promotion of Zionism in a single novel (then movie) than all of the propaganda that tried to sell the concept of "Palestine for the Jews." And while it may be the case that dozens of excellent books and movies/documentaries have been created to humanize the tragedy of the Palestinian people the fact that Hollywood, mainstream media, large publishing companies are unwilling to promote these artistic endeavors lest they come under the relentless barrage of pro-Zionist, anti-Arab forces that have effectively silenced even high government officials.

We might as well accept the fact that mainstream media, Hollywood and the publishing industry is unavailable for us as modern day Arabs. What therefore is available for mass distribution, democratic access is the world of the Internet in particular the explosive of advent of Blogs which have now become sources of information for the mainstream media. Primary sites for journalistic research.

Witness how effectively the Jewish community promoted their cause by highlighting the few yet significant interaction of the Pope with modern Judaism such as his visit to Rome synagogue, Photo opportunity at the Wailing Wall, The Holocaust memorial. In contrast one has to cringe at the paucity of published photos, Internet material that document the remarkable interaction of this Pope with Arab and Islamic culture. I have yet to find a photo of the Pope's visit to a mosque during a trip to Syria in 2001 or his visits to the Palestinian refugee camp Dehiesha.

It is inexcusable given our current freedom of expression on the Internet such as Blogging that a grassroots movement doesn't propel the Arab and Islamic world onto a world stage illuminated by spotlights of understanding, tolerance and acceptance.

I don't think the Pope was less tolerant to the Muslim nation than the Jews. It is only when tank thinkers in the Arab world (if there is any) seize a golden opportunity like this one, we become known to the world as peace making people Verses terrorists. Ramzy Yassa, Marcel Khalifa and the legendary Fairouz could have held a concert to recognize the Palestinian and Iraqi children sufferings to the world through the Pope and under the umbrella of the Vatican.

The Pope was blessed in ARABIC by an Arabic speaking cardinal in his funeral. What an honor to the Arabic nation both Christian and Muslims. Let's hope that the new Pope will follow the footsteps of John Paul II.

The task at hand is very clear and we need to use individual and collective abilities to articulate in writing, music and art that are history and culture both past and present is as significant and valid as any others. We need to learn the art of PR and know how to promote ourselves as Arabs.


Pope's visit to the Umayyad mosque in Damascus, Syria, 2001 (source).
Pictures added by Mohamed. Before anyone comments that this visit was controversial, this was not the point of the post --you didn't get it.

Pope's visit to Dheisheh refugee camp in Palestine, 2000 (source).


The Sandmonkey said...

Man, i agree with you compeltly. We (egyptians, arabs, whatever)suck at the PR stuff. just not our thing and the Isarelies are masters at it. I remember right after 911, Sharon calling Rudy Gulliani on TV and telling him that he is naming a street in Tel Aviv after him "for his steely resolve infront of terrorism". I was thinking, why didn't we think of that? Sure, it's blatant ass-kissing, but it makes us look good at a time when our image needed all the help it can get. you know?

Al Sharief said...

Just for the record, I saw the Pope's visit to the Umayyad mosque in Damascus, Syria, 2001 in CNN 2days before the funneral for the first time and I took it as a truly civlized act of faith and culture of "..modern day arabs".
it looked very good...

praktike said...

I think the Palestinians are pretty good at the PR game. I mean, you don't seen Azeri refugees on the front page every day, do you?

Anonymous said...

Mohamed and author,

This is an excellent article. Very well written and touches very important point.

The number of times we saw the Pope at the Wailing Wall on T.V. was almost too many. The pictures you post Mohamed didn't reflect the sufferings of the Palestinian refugees in their camp.

The media is under the Jewish Seize and we need to breakthrough one way or another.


Mohamed said...

That's what the Israeli's would get you to believe Praktike. I think you've been spending too much time with them.

Hellme said...

Twosret is right. We have a serious 'media manipulation' problem.

Every minority I know has, in some way, positively manipulated local media - the Hindus, Jews and Blacks of Europe are on top of things, consistently promoting the idea that they are denigrated, prejudiced against and stripped of their rights (positive discrimination anyone?). When an Arab/Muslim representative comes on, I cringe, because all they can come up with is blind vitriole, and the compulsory 'Palestinian issue,' which has become a serious turn-off for many people. Yes, promote it, but for God's sake, let's please find another angle.

Highlander said...

You're right Twosret, that's why I'm hoping that blogs can do something in the PR business, does my blog-post today count as a reply ;) ?

Thanks Mohamed as well I've spent a couple of hours reading your posts and I'm impressed you're definitely one of my favourites now ..also if you are still eligible he he he , I read your posting about meeting up with someone....;)

R said...

Great post and well written.

Twosret, why are you blogging at Mohamed's? It takes less time to blog your own :)

As for the Pope's visit and the trouble it stirred, it just reminded me of an old thread.
Things are so relative.

Kat said...

I think the point is, you need "positive" PR. The problem is, in ALL media, "if it bleeds it leads" and I have to tell you that we did not see much of the pope's visit to damascus here in America, but we do see daily bombings, we do get to see refugee camps, we do get a lot of the "palestinian plight".

We also get to see the explosions at nightclubs in Israel that blow up 20 innocent bystanders.

Now, this is not about "pro Israel" or "pro-Arab", this is about how the news operates. Even my local news leads with a lot of "crime here, shooting there, trouble in city hall" yada, yada, yada because that is not considered "every day" occurance. And it does get them ratings.

Thus, when groups explode bombs and kill people, that's what gets the attention. That is not "positive" PR.

You want positive PR to get out and get your plight more sympathy? Try the velvet revolution. Try putting away the guns and bombs for just one day and marching peacefully in the streets calling for peace, freedom and democracy without chanting death threats or waiving ak 47s around.

I mean this with all sincerity, not as an indictment. You are missing great opportunities for positive PR.

People are tired of death and destsruction. They have developed a certain ennui towards these images.

For the record, I saw a number of Arabs attending the Pope's funeral. I was surprised and impressed. That was definitely a missed opportunity in PR.

If you want real support from the west (if you want it), it has to stop being "Arab against the west" (from your PR) and has to be "Us" (people who want freedom and peace) against the "others" (those who do not).

I know you believe that to be your calling, but that is not the publicity you get. And, the longer you hold on to the false idea of "zionist" controlled media and ignore how this really works, the longer you will not realize your dreams.

Again, not indictment, just thinking through how you can change the world, change your world.

This will not be easy. You do not control all the players in this game from the Palestinian side. Abbas has been attempting to manuever to a "central" control with bringing these groups into the PA security forces and political process. Until that occurs, until there is general control and concensus, the way forward will be rocky and bloody and full of bad PR (bombs and death and chants of death) for the Palestinian plight that over rides the essential realities of Palestinian life with very few opportunities.

Unfortunately, from my perspective (as far away as that is) it is near impossible for you to have a cedar, orange or velvet revolution because someone will show up with guns (and I don't mean sanctioned security forces).

There is an essential change that must be made within the Palestinian movement. I don't know how to get there. I can only tell you what I see from here, "zionist" media be damned.

While you are talking about the use of the internet, the people using the internet most effectively are the most violent forces in the Palestinian (and many other violent movements) world. That is the PR that the movement gets. So, how does "peace, freedom and a Palestinian contiguous state" get better publicity?

That is the question.

You begin that journey here. What can be done?

Mohamed said...

Nice. Thanks for that comment Kate.

I think the positive message will never come from here (the middle east). People here don't care about what message reaches the West. All they care about is how to make a living, and how to get their rights back. Do you think the resistance in Palestine calculates how the violence-hungry media will portray them when they kill an Israeli soldier, or blow up a tanker in Jenin. They don't care, they're trying to get their rights back with their own hands. Do you think Hizbullah cares that they're enlisted as a terrorist organization, they're heroes to most Arabs for getting the Lebanese back their land.

Those in the middle east who try to play the PR game are all politicians, failed ones. Governments, and the Arab League, allocating millions of dollars to finance trips to officials to go get interviewed on Charlie Rose and get a few pictures.

I agree, if we're looking for PR we should be aiming for positive PR. That positive PR will only come from Arab/Muslim-Americans however. It will never come from here, and it shouldn't come from here (here, real action goes on; there, nice images should be displayed). How come all the violence and terror that Israel is practicing does not contribute to any negative PR for them?! Because American Jews are doing a darn good job, and so should Arab/Muslim-Americans (and that's what I've been hinting at in a couple of previous posts here).

Twosret said...


On Sandmonkey blog you have called me and Magdee Terrorists, you went too far. I have made a promise to myself never to engage in futile discussions with you because you yourself have misrepresented the educated, reasonable, tolerant and knowledgeable segement of the western world.

Your racisit, biased nature is clear in your previous and current posting.

I will leave it up to other posters to reply to you.

Ignore button on :)


Josie said...

Very informative article, Twosret. Unfortunately bad news is what sells, and also the news media doesn't often take the time to explain complexities, make distinctions, etc. that's too much work. And obviously, you gotta admit, the "militant" Islamic folks have made such a bad name for themselves & that's spilled over to Arabs in general (Islamic or not!) I agree the internet & "new media" give the average Arab a chance to make themselves heard & known. The pen is mightier than the sword. And just like the sword, the pen cuts both ways.

Anonymous said...

The march planned for May 14 in D.C. is a golden P.R. opportunity for American Muslims to grab the media's attention and make meaningful speeches. I hope they can manage to do enough promotion to influence the media to give the march lengthy live coverage. I feel certain that Americans will be very interested to watch and hear what is said. We've been waiting for something like this from our Muslim citizens since 9/11. I'm glad everyone is being encouraged to participate. I hope there's a large Christian and Jewish turnout, too. But, I hope the majority is Muslim, so it's clear that they organized a positive march in support of democracy and freedom.

Kat said...

Twosert...thank you for the "outing" and allowing other's to make up their minds without due influence.

If I must give an explanation, it is simply that I don't believe in any realistic way that Israel can be made to "not exist", therefore, I don't find commentary to that regard productive and I do believe in two states, with security and contiguous borders, living in peace and, hopefully, prosperous with opportunities for all.

I don't believe blindly that all Palestinians are blood thirsty terrorists, nor that all of Israel would like to see the Palestinians wiped from the map.

I don't care for the word "Zionist" because it implies a giant conspiracy these days for the Jews to take over the world (with the alledged assistance of the US) and conspiracy theories, while dealing in fragmented truths to support them, are generally false. They also lead people to do and say things that are not helpful to their causes. Unfortunately, in several of our discussions, that is the road you chose and that is the response you received.

In response to Mohammed's comment, I would say that you're remarks are partially correct. The world works on PR these days. Unlike hollywood where even bad PR is good PR, bad PR in the political ring kills aspirations.

I would agree that the Israeli PR, supported in concensus by the general jewish population of the US (not completely, but it's there and certainly not "controlling" but definitely more capable) is more effective and well established. They have a message. It's a single message and it resonates. They keep on that message continuously and it is THE message, even if there are certain Jewish communities that don't agree with them and say something different, the main message is what is heard: existence of Israel and the forces against it (however legitimate one feels about that message).

Looking back historically, I would say this has been an issue for the Palestinian movement. Organization, central message, general concensus, leadership and PR abilities.

Even Arafat at the height of his game, did not have these all under control. The message that got out was 'death', not life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

To use a parable, you all missed the boat and are now paddling like crazy to catch it.

Some of it is about here in the west. Who is the voice of Palestine? What is the message? Who controls the message?

Groups here are fragmented. While some are "moderate" and reasonable, just as many others, while pointing to the plight of Palestine, are also those, right here in our back yard, who are ending their speeches with death chants to America or our soldiers or comments on crushing the Israelis in to non existence.

It is at that point that the movement loses your average American citizen (not that we are the sole compilation of the "west", just speaking from this perspective). The movement is simply not going to get the kind of respect and attention that it needs with that sort of rhetoric. It simply puts people's backs up, regardless of whether there is any truth to the issues of American support for Israel.

So, yes, PR here, but it needs central message, focus, unity, general concensus and leadership. The message and leadership cannot be something that sounds like a conspiracy theory or threats to the general population. It is too easy after that to lump it into the other issues of "terrorism".

So, what is the central message? Who says it? Who gets the publicity?

It has to be strong and focused. Maybe a few more dollars spent there would be helpful?

That is for the west. HOwever, I disagree on one small part of your assertions. I do believe that there has to be message and image, publicity, from the Palestinian front. I understand what you're saying about the general populations is just trying to get by, survive.

Unfortunately, this leaves the message to those groups who generate less sympathy or empathy. They are better organized, better funded and certainly have tried to work the PR situation to their advantage, but that message, while largely pointed to the population they exist in, is the message that gets out. It's the pictures that are taken and that is what is spread through the western world.

Again, I understand about the general population's main concerns, but, they are letting these folks control the message and it doesn't look good from this perspective. If the general population can be motivated towards a central resounding theme that will resonate in the community, guide the message, and resonate across the oceans, then you may see a change in attitude in the "west" and certainly that is needed to help put additional pressue on Israel.

If Palestinians do not grab that, the struggle will continue to be viewed one sided.

Today's word is "freedom". That resonates everywhere. A month ago, Lebanon was a spot on the map. Today, thanks to red and white flags with cedars on them and signs that read "freedom" with peaceful marchers handing out flowers, many more in the west (particularly America) know about it and care about it.

That image was from over there.

If the Palestinians could grab that message and turn it to their cause, they'd be leaps and bounds ahead of their current situation.

Central message, general concensus, organization, leadership and a voice or two that can stay on message and get heard above the rest, appear to be the legitimate voice of Palestinians (which can only come through a change of image of Palestinians IN Palestine demonstrating peacefully with that message as their cause du jour). That is how you get it out.

It's a concerted effort and putting it all on Palestinians here will not take the movement where it's needed.

A voice here saying something different than what it looks like there will just get laughed off the pulpit.

What's the message? Who's the voice? Who controls it? Who supports it?

Important questions. The daily struggle of Palestinians can be and must be part of it, but it is the Palestinian citizen that has to drive it.

Okay, dead horse. but, I hope, without engendering much more commentary on my support for either situation, that this puts the commentary back on track.

How does Palestine and it's people get some good PR?

What things could be considered "good" PR that would change the image?

Is there a high percentage that turns to university? How many doctors do they generate? How many go back into their communities to do work amongst the refugees? What sort of programs are underway for Palestinian development? What's waiting in the wings?

Dry subjects to some, but it's a place to start looking for "positive PR".

Ron Larson said...

Wow. A voice of sanity! Finally.

I agree. I've met so many Palistinians who ask me as an American, "Why don't you guys ever listen to us?".

Believe it or not, the answer is very simple. Because Americans are sick and tired of hearing "death to America" chants, watching the flag be burned, and all the other retoric. Why should I pay attention to someone who is insulting me? Why should I care?

Israel does a good job of their PR. They work very hard at it. The Palistinians on the other had seem to be using a play book called "How to loose friends and antagonize people".

The Palistinians have never bothered to explain to America WHY they should listen. Instead we get the same violence and hatred. It got old a long time ago.

I've also noticed that the Palistinians tend to also forget that they manged to dig themselves into a PR hell-hole. They not only have to create a positive image, they also have to undo all the damange from the last 40 years.

Things like the Munich Olympics, the airline hijackings of the 80's, shooting wheelchair bound old men on boats, backing Saddam in 1991, celibrating the 9/11 attacks, and on and on. These all did far more damange then you acknowledge. We hear the answer "Yea, but they don't really represent us".

Well too bad. Right or wrong, the public thinks it does.

There are so many simple little things that turn people off that you don't even think of. Take the late Arafat. Didn't he ever bother to look in the mirror? He never shaved and always tried to look like a gurrilla fighter who just crawled out of a cave with no sleep. He usually had weapons on him and was surrounded by armed goons. And he wondered why the west never took him seriously as a "statesman". He never really tried to look or act like one. He never spoke clearly or bothered to master English. Perhaps in Arabic he was a fluent master... but the western world doesn't speak Arabic.

If you want to be taken seriously, then act serious. Grow up. Look at the IRA and Jerry Adams. You see him trimmed, proper, speaking clear English, in a suit, and not surrounded by weapon clad hoodlums.

And here is a shallow, but very real thing. People won't admit it because it is not PC. But face it, Arafat was ugly. Seriously. It matters. He looked like some bug eyed pediphile uncle that you would not want to leave your kids alone with. It is hard to trust someone who give you the heeby jebbies.

I know that this "news" will deeply offend a lot of people. I'm sorry, but that is the bitter reality. If you want to change things, then you need to understand what others see, not just your take on it.

And the argument that it isn't fair, that America should see things from your perspective too is just an idealistic fantasy. Haven't you noticed? The world isn't fair.

The fact is, you need to sell yourselves, your grievances, and your plans to the American public. There are a lot of things vying for the American attention and money. You are simply one more.

The "negative campaign" of the last 40 years has failed miserably. Time to fire your media directors and get some people who know what the hell they are doing.

And a word of advice. Learn from the last 40 years. If the plan is to simply ratchet up the violence until it gets too lound to ignore, it will hurt you far more than it will ever help.

Twosret said...


Thanks for your post. The reason I posted this topic is because I simply admit faliure in our PR. I think you have a good points in your post but it sounds like you are putting the blame mainly on the arabs.

Here are few questions that came to mind reading your post.

-Are you aware of the grave mistakes that the American Foreign policies have contributed to the hate of America in the ME?

-How many Americans can point on the world map where the ME is? How many are willing to learn about the ME?.

-Are you aware of the history of diplomatic and political ties between the US and the arab world?

-How can we fire a Jewish media director that controls the main mediastream that feeds the United States of America?

-What is the role of the average American with the new era of Internet? Do they have an excuse for not doing their homework?

-How did you make up your mind about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? How many books did you read to educate yourself about the history of the conflict?

Now for the shallow part :) Arafat like any other leader have done mistakes but his contributions to the Palestinian cause is far greater than his looks. I always thought that Dr. Hannan Ashrawi should be the official speaker of the PLO but how does Condoleeza Rice will look like speaking in Arabic no matter what this woman wear she is much worse looking than Arafat in my opinion ;)


Highlander said...

As for looks, I thought Ariel Sharon was very ugly as well and Golda Meir was never exactly ahem can't be all about looks come on ;)

Ron Larson said...

Interesting questions Twosret. I'm glad you asked them because they illistrate perfectly the problem that the Palistinians have with modern PR.

Step back a minute and look at what you wrote. Try to see the forest for the trees.

What you are asking me to do is work. You are asking me to research history, to flush out the truth from extremely biased news reports. To separate fact from fiction.

In brief, you are asking me to do the work to understand YOU.

So you missed my point completely. If you are attempting to sell me something (a product, and idea, or whatever), then you have to do the work to (a) get my attention, (b) convince me it worth my time to focus on you, and then (c) effectively sell yourself.

I'm not going to switch tracks here and answer your questions because I am trying to act like the average American citizen. I'm trying to get you to understand why someone won't bother answering your questions.

I work 8 to 12 hours a day. I'm stuck in traffic. The kids are driving me batty. The wife is all over me for a vacation to Disneyworld next year. I turn on the news before falling asleep and they report another suicide bombing in the ME and video footage of angry arabs burning my flag and chanting "Death to America". "F**k them" I say to myself before I fall asleep.

So tell me why I should spend my precious time sorting out problems for some who shows up on my TV every day telling me how much they hate me?

The answer we get is usually one of two.
(1) Because if you don't, we will harm you. Yea, that is a great way to sell thigs. Imagine if Coca Cola came up with the new ad campagin - "Buy New Coke or we will shoot your dog". That will work great!

(b) Cause it is the right thing to do. That's better! Believe it or not, most Americans like doing the right thing. But, there is a catch, a big one. They will bend over backwards to help people that will help themselves. Conversely, the abhore helping people who are viewed as bottomless pits of need.

Because the Palistinains have presented themselves as hatefilled, spiteful, ungrateful bottomless pits of need, no one really gives a damn. Americans respect people who respect themselves, and who first help themselves. Simple as that.

Start producing Rhode scholors instead of suicide marters with your children, and you will start to see a change in attitude.

Remember, you have to sell yourself. Not the other way around. How are you going to do that?

Twosret said...

Ron Ron Ron,

Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the Iraq war and ME is one of the hottest topics in the world.

Everyone involved have some responsibility in this huge affair. Americans, Palestinians, Iraqis and Israelis. You make it sound like you have no share of this responsibility at all. The average American have time to watch the Bachelor/Bachelorette , the desperate house wives and fear factor. When their country is :-

a) Spending over 150 Billion dollars on war
b) Health care system is failing
c) Social security is threatened
d) U.S. trade deficit hits record $61 billion
e) Divorce rate is 60%
f) Children Obesity and Diabetes is at it’s highest level

I know this is bad news for you but I believe that most of the average American people are ignorant and not willing to learn and very self centered. I know people who work 80 hours a week married with two children that will still share with me their political articles that they searched on the Internet from different news sources.

I’m not trying to sell you something, since 9/11 Americans should know darn well that their country is in a mess, the US couldn't protect it's citizen so they have a responsibility to learn and educate themselves to protect it. Americans need to understand their enemy and ask themselves what have we done for them to hate us? (yes US I’m a lawful US resident and my husband and two children are Americans) I live in this country and subjected to danger more than you are (As per your blog you currently live in Australia).

You might say to yourself F***k them but the truth is they did F***k you badly those bastards and caused grieve for over 3,oooo families, they changed the American life forever and the war on Iraq is not gonna stop them.

If you don’t care about your country’s foreign policy and understand that it takes two to tango you are the loser not them!!

The struggle between the Palestinians and the Israelis is LAND but the struggle between the 1 billion Muslims around the world and the United States of America is HATE. Both parties have done wrong and they are both responsible! You hate us too Ron don’t forget. You can be racist and shallow too you know.

America is glad to help others sure LOL. I can see that you send Israel 22 million dollars daily your Apache when used by Israelis to kill Palestinian kids their families won’t love you they will hate you got it! I can see that you help Saudi Arabia and Egypt when you are fully aware that their citizens doesn’t even get a fraction of your Aid and America knows it but doesn’t even give a damn as long as the Fat King of Saudi and the Eternal Mubarak nod their head and laugh out loud with the American officials in pictures. I don’t call this help I call it HYPOCRISY!

People from the Middle east have great examples, especially Palestinians Dr. Edward Said, is one of many I think you have no clue who I’m taking about, he lived in America most of his life trying to educate you and others about the Palestinian cause. His books are on Barnes and Nobles shelves for those who are willing to know, even Chomsky (American-Jewish) tried to educate you but you are not willing to know WHAT HAVE WE DONE WRONG as Americans vs. Playing the Jewish American Play game that takes us nowhere. Learn about Palestinians first before you attack them Ron based on your limited 10 minutes Jewish controlled media that America approves of it’s monopoly.

If we are to correct our image because of multiple factors we would like to get a better audience than some ignorant people, because no matter what we do we can’t change a potato couch mentality.
If you want to know my answer to your last question stay tuned to my next article.

Aurvoir et Merci


Kat said...

I think what Ron is trying to explain is, pointing to our problems is not helping you. Telling Americans to see it your way is not helping you.

Twosert, with all due respect, you are falling into the same trap.

Let's face reality, with all the things you mention about American issues, they are far and away from signaling the imminent fall of America.

The power does not lie in Palestine. Palestinians need us far more than we need them (realistically and in your average American's mind). So, whether we have done wrong or rightly in our policies, affecting the change of that policy through winning the hearts and minds of the average American is not accomplished by telling them that they are bad people and should feel guilty about it.

Even on a personal level, guilt only works so much before people begin to resent it. Further, as we have in common, no one likes to dwell on their failures and mistakes. No one. They want a solution for tomorrow, not self flagellation for yesterday because it serves no purpose, but to ingrain the resentment further.

When working with reluctant customers that you need to do something for you, even if it may very well be in their best interest, you don't do it by telling them they are stupid or bad or foisting some guilt on them, you do it by telling them how it will help them solve their problem, and how they will help you (everyone wants to help when it's the good and right thing to do).

That's how you get them to do what you want.

And, pictures speak a thousand words, that's why the news is full of them. What image are the Palestinians selling?

That's whoever you are trying to impress with your situation. Once you hooked your customer, then you explain, as calmly and without malice as possible, how the mistakes affected their business (and it is the business of state if you can look at it that way as much as it does effect actual people) and how you can help them resolve their problem.

We're talking about working the PR angle here, not debating policy. Yet.

If you can understand the average American, who is far away from Palestine and even Israel, who only sees that activity as peripheral to their daily lives and does not see it as a great impact outside of the jaded cynisism that comes from too many reports of dead people, then you can understand how to sell the Palestinian cause.

Again, this isn't about wrong or right, this is about generating good PR and selling it where it needs sold the most.

I like Ron's analogy: selling me new coca cola by telling me that I'm an idiot for drinking Pepsi and, by the way, if I don't drink new coca cola you're going to shoot my dog will just make me tell you I don't have a dog and I'm drinking Pepsi, thank you very much.

So, what is it that the Palestinian cause is trying to sell? Death, destruction and guilt or Palestinian's rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

What image are the Palestinians using to sell it?

What's the message that is supposed to make people believe they should care?

Whose best interest is it to sell that message and image?

Who creates the image and guides the message?

Remember that the point of a PR campaign is to sell your product to a customer.

You have to identify your customer, identify their needs and show them how your product satisfies that. As a customer, it is not up to the average American to sell you their ability to buy. They already have it.

They aren't going to buy something that they think is a bogus product that hasn't worked in 60 years. They want new improved product that is going to solve a problem for them even if it seems like a small and niggling problem.

If it's just something they are throwing money down the drain on and their small niggling problem remains, they'd rather deal with the small niggling problem than spend their hard earned cash.

lastly, no business has ever gotten repeat customers by telling a customer that called and complained about their product, that the customer is an idiot and just didn't read the 500 page manual or use the product properly. They've been using the product for 60 years. At this point, if it hasn't worked for them, they figure it isn't ever going to work and they're going to toss it in the trash bin with the rest of the failed products.

Frankly, from this stand point, Abbas and his message is the new product. He's shiny and new and he says some of the right things, but every once in awhile he and the folks around him act like the old product, people start wondering if this IS the old product in different packaging.

New packaging of old product only boosts your sells so much before the reality of its functionality sets in. The product has to be improved at the same time.

New, improved product. Central message. Focus on message. Sell the message. Find an image that speaks to the customer. Convince the customer that it's good for them and they buy it.

It's simple salesmanship that works in business and politics.

I'm sorry if this takes it away from the personal struggle of the Palestinians. It is personal for them, but not for everyone and what Palestinians need to focus on is mass marketing to 175 million people who vote.

When your current customer base is not even a third of that number, you've got a long way to go to reach a policy affecting customer base.

Ron Larson said...

Thank you Kat. You get it! You hit the nail on the head.

Twosert. Listen to Kat. Instead of stepping back and looking the big picture like I asked, you go off debating the issues and telling me that I must be a lazy idiot for not caring or paying attention.

Again... that doesn't work. I feel my eyes glazing over and hear more "blah blah blah". I think I will ignore you and go watch Desperate Housewives. At least they don't tell me I'm an idiot and they make me laugh.

Another tip about Americans that might help the Palistinians. Americans can't stand looking backwards. Stop telling us about yesterday. Instead tell us what you are going to do to improve things tomorrow. Honest. We don't really give a rats ass about what happened last week. Time to move on.

Remember what I said about how Americans like to help people that help themselves? Well the Jewish controlled media, as you claim, does a pretty damn good job of selling Israel as helping themselves.

That is why we support them so much. We never see them in mass rallys telling us they hate us. Instead we see industrious, hard working people who have managed to make a successful and modern country while surrounded by deadly enemies. We see them taking charge of their destiny rather than playing victim.

That is how they sell themselves. It is rather odd that you think you have to compete with that. We don't view it as a you versus them contest. You can do the exact same thing and be as successful as them.

This isn't a zero sum game after all. Americans don't believe in zero-sum games. It is a very backwards and third world way of looking at life. You can have your cake and eat it too. Just use your brain.

And BTW... I'm not your "average" Yank, so please don't preach to me. I have lived overseas, currently in Oz as you noted. I'm very well read and I do keep up with things.

I'm only trying to get you to understand why your current "product" is failing in the US. I think I'm intelligent enough to see why it fails. After all, I grew up listening to it.

Mohamed said...

Kat, Ron, you guys are going on and on in circles (that's bad PR I'm telling you). I think we get what you mean, you want us to do what will please you in order to please you (and PR will come naturally).

Though I admit that the U.S. is currently the world super power, it doesn't mean that everyone should just fall on their knees to appease it.

The reason people in the middle east look so dumb, is that they believe in God, and they don't care to appease, except Him. Like it or not, stupid or not, its mostly the way it is. You find people who are not self-interest driven very repugnant, because they don't have the same value system as the secular west.

So, it will be almost impossible to please you in the way you want. If you guys, America, have any interests here (be it oil, Israel, whatever) and like to preserve them in a less destructive way, then don't just push to be pleased.

However strong and powerful America is, our fate does not lie in its hands, and America's "pleasure" does not get us anywhere, except serving the narrow interests of a few.

Now if PR will get us some bonus and a few benefits here and there, then well and good. But we don't change our value-system for PR. If PR can explain what we are, why we do what we do, our rights, and the injustices being done against us, well and good. If not, then its too bad, for us, and for you. You can enjoy watching the world from far away across the Atlantic, but don't think that you'll control it because everyone wants to appease you.

Life is not a business, its not a few transactions, believe it or not. And once you accept that we don't view life that way (the only way you view it), then maybe you can get our angle on things.

If you want your interests served here, don't only look for your own pleasure, don't ask everyone just to do as you please. You claim to be a tolerant open-minded society, well then accept others who are different, even if they seem repugnant to you because they believe in God and believe that there is more to this world than worldly self-interests.

Anonymous said...


I made a comment to you before about how you can detect trouble. Larson got you this time Habibiti and wasted your valuable time.

The topic address all arabs but two of our guests are keen to focus on Palestine.

Kat, on her second post claims "I don't believe blindly that all Palestinians are blood thirsty terrorists,"

You are dishonest Kat and I will quote her from another blog about what you really think about Palestinians. You know whatever you write before will come and bite you in the Ass. You write a lot of shit.

"All that Palestine is today is a place for terrorists to train, for fanatical religious sects to set up shop and have an infinite source of income and followers as they deal in the trade of martyrdom, it's a place for those that can't make it in the world to commit suicide and pretend it was for the greater cause while some charity pays their family for their son or daughter's death so maybe they can get out of the grinding poverty imposed on them by their corrupt leaders."

"Reminds me of those get rich quick programs you see on TV late at night:

"You, too, could be an instant millionaire. All you have to do is buy our complete package on how to set up a terrorist organization. Instructions include: selecting a catchy name, creating your logo, choosing the right cause to represent, obtaining charitable donations and other capital from sympathetic morons and how to network with other terrorist organizations.

If you act now, we'll throw in our "merchandizing and distribution" package for a one time fee of $900 where we will show you how to package your cause, create merchandise and distribute it to the losers of this world (television and other media packages are sold separately).

Just call this number: 1800-THE-BOMB and we'll send you our free sample on how to pick your first martyr. (bomb making materials not included; one per customer)."

"For you two groupies, I'm afraid I feel nothing but disgust since you might as well be standing there with him, showing him how to strap on the vest, pointing out a choice target and telling him where to stand in order get the best "bang for his buck"."

I don't find you amuzing Kat or intelligent as your claim. You are hateful and very below average.

Now that Kat is out of the way and at least I understand her motive. We have Ron Larson.


You really want arabs to do a better job, you don't come and insult their people and leaders.

You offer your thoughts and help and tell them how to improve. Your own PR failed you because you are a turn off yourself.

When you write this Ron "Because the Palistinains have presented themselves as hatefilled, spiteful, ungrateful bottomless pits of need, no one really gives a damn. Americans respect people who respect themselves, and who first help themselves. Simple as that."

You are actually below the average American because you mix the freedom of speech with ignorance. Typical case of American stupidity and arrogance.

Dania a Friend of Twosret Saudi-American

Anonymous said...


What Americans can't understand that they are building enemies themselves and failing misreably in their PR.

North Korean hates Americans, Russians hate Americans big part of Europe hate Americans.

The future is not America. The future is China. They will be history before you know it.

Dania-Saudi living in America

Mohamed said...

I was gonna say that in my Comment Dania, about China, but I didn't want them to feel bad.

Although I agree with you Dania and appreciate your general comments, I don't appreciate taking this personal, and bringing unwelcomed comments from elsewhere over here.

Sorry for that, but I don't want to see this getting low.

Ron Larson said...

*sigh* There you guys go, shooting the messenger instead of the listening to the message. Don't you get it? I'm trying to point out message that is getting across to the average American.

This thread is not going in circles. It is going off track with posters trying to attack the thoughts of the messenger (me) instead of trying to understand the perception of the Palastinian situation as seen from the US.

If the the attitude is "Fine. We don't need to kiss your ass", then don't act surprised when you are misunderstood and misrepresented. You have to take control of your image. If you are content to let others with agendas do this for you, then you have no one but yourself to blame for how you come across.

I dunno. I get the impression that Arabs think it is below them to have to have to sell themselves. They don't seem to get that others don't always see what they see.

If I walked into a store and the staff there treated me with contempt and with the attitude that they don't need me or my business, then I'll won't go there any more.

When I walk into a car dealer, I tell them "What are you going to do to get my business?". I don't go there saying "Oh please Mr. Car Salesman. If it not too much trouble, could you consider selling me on of your cars? I hope that I didn't offend you.".

So when you want the American public to understand your plight and garner sympathy, then you have to sell it. No different that selling a car or a tube of toothpaste.

Obiously what we think does matter because you obsess over it all the time. You wring your hands and wail "Why don't they understand and care?". "Why do they allow all this to happen?". What we think does matter because it effects you.

So if you want change, you have to sell it. Simple as that. Until then, you have no right to complain about how you are perceived by others.

Mohamed said...

Hey Ron, have you nothing better to do than to tell us what we should do!!

.. and enough with the business analogies, will ya. I'm sick and tired of valuing everything on how much money you'll make out of it.

Twosret said...

Ron and Kat,

You need to understand that some of what you say (the concept) I tend to agree with. My concern is that we are not talking about Marketing of fast moving consumer goods. We are talking nations, history, cultures and LAND.

I promise to sit back and read you again. I sencerely hope that you have good intentions in mind because that is what we need, reasonable, educated people to understand our position.

One thing you need to know Ron,you need to respect other people culture and Leaders and learn not to generalize. You can't insult a whole nation and expect us to listen to you.

My post to you was a mere request to look at your share of responsibility as an American.

I will be back tonight after the babies sleep to discuss more. That is if you are still interested.


I have to admit that I was very upset with what Kat wrote to me before but I have to give her credit for a much better attempt to communicate.


The Sandmonkey said...

Okay, I am gonna try to be the voice of reason here, even though it will probably get me in trouble, because I believe that I can bridge the miscommunication that is going on right now between the Ron & Kat camp and the Mohamed and Twosret camp. I will do it, even though it seems that with what’s going on right now with the discourse, that I am gonna regret it later. Oh well…

This excellent article written by Twosret ( Buttering you up babe, so take it easy on me and keep an open mind) was basically a lamentation on the fact that we, arabs, are not good at seizing PR opportunities to better present ourselves, while comparatively, the jews, seem to be doing a really good job at it. The example used was the late Pope, and the message seems to be: we should learn how to play this game better.

Now, What Ron & Kat are trying to do, is basically trying to give you the perspective of the average American Joe and get you to understand why the American public opinion- which is the basis of the major US decisions and policy mind you- usually sides with the Israelis against the Palestinians or arabs. What they are saying is basically that the average American probably doesn’t have time to research and learn in depth about such things. They form many of their ideas from what they see on TV stations and news broadcasts. What they saw on 9/11 was arabs dancing on the streets in celebration for the attacks on the US and Israelis sending condolences and starting vigils and Sharon naming streets after Rudy Guilliani. Then they see that the people who were behind the attacks were arabs and muslims ( the people who celebrated American deaths), and that the Israelis ( the people who made vigils for them) have suicide bombers ( arabs and muslims nonetheless) blowing themselves up amongst Israeli civilians on daily basis. Hmmm, if you were in their shoes, who would you side with? Who would you be more sympathetic towards? The people burning your flag on the street, or the people who said “ we are all Americans today!”? Do you see what I am trying to say here?

Now, Mohamed and Twosret, I know, I know. They supported Israel, who kill many the palestinains; they always veto every resolution indicting Israel. They are biased and unfair in their treatment. The Media only shows the Israeli side and never shows what they do to the Palestinians. Yes, I know all that you are gonna say and you are right. But you are missing the point: All of this, is history. Americans? Not big on history. The majority of them don’t even bother with American history. You want them to research the middle-eastern one? Tough luck! I know, they should after 911 and all that happened, i know, but still, they don’t! Whatchu gonna do about it? If you know a way to get more Americans interested in studying history then i suggest you e-mail the US department of education. They would really welcome the Tip. They can use the help.

The point is, we can, when we want to, play this game as well. God knows we have done it before. Or at least the Kuwaitis did. You wanna know when? The first gulf war.

The Kuwaiti ruling family, exiled in America after the invasion, hired a PR and lobbying firm to encourage the US to liberate Kuwait from Saddam’s forces. The Senate was presented with the testimony of a 12 year old Kuwaiti girl, who in tears told them about how she escaped her country after the invasion, how vicious the Iraqis were, and how she saw them kill babies in incubators. The testimony was so emotional, the senate agreed immediately to authorize the Desert storm campaign. The PR trick: The girl was in fact the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US. She hadn’t been in Kuwait for 2 years prior to her testimony. She had, effectively, lied through her teeth and manipulated the US senate to start the war. Cute lil story, right?

Look, if we really want the playing filed in the middle-east to be fair, they have to be willing to play the PR like the Kuwaitis did, all the freakin time. We really have no excuse not to. We ain’t poor. We can use lobbyist and campaign contributions to lobby the US senate to be more on the arabs side. But we don’t. And we have no one else to blame but ourselves.

The arabs could get the democrats support by emphasizing the Internationalist view and how we should all work together to get a better world. They could get the republicans support by emphasizing shared conservative morals with the arab muslim cmmunity: you know, anti-gay marriage, anti-abortion, capital punishment, more morals, abstinence education, all that fun stuff. It can be done and very easily. You get enough PR going and you get the senators to see things your way and you got a fairer US foreign policy. It can be done! But still no one will do anything about it.

Now, I know what you are gonna say ya Mohamed, about “how our fate isn’t in america’s hands and how our Values are not up for debate and exchange”. All that is well and good. But you gotta also admit that America is a good friend to have on ur side, at least until your china becomes the superpower everyone expects it to become. You gotta also admit that if the PR is done in a way that doesn’t make us compromise our values ( and I mentioned how in the paragraph previous to this one), then there is nothing wrong with using it. Right?

And mind you, even if you don’t like the US, the problem that arabs have image wise is everywhere in the world now. It’s as good as place to start as any, and an even better one because of the American negative preconceived notion of arabs. If you can change that into a positive one, then nothing can stop you from changing it everywhere else.

And one last note about Kat and Ron: don’t kill the messenger, even if you don’t like the message. They are engaging in discourse and giving you information and insight that you could use, even if you don’t like what they say or how they say it or in Kat’s case, what she may have said before. Even the devil tells the truth sometimes Kids. Never forget that and learn how to use it.

And now to Kat and Ron, well, you entered the hornets nest here and you weren’t prepared. Arabs are extremely sensitive when it comes to their leaders, their culture, their history and the plight of the palestinains. These are highly emotional issues for them to the degree that they might not be willing to look at it from another perspective. For them the US is wrong on this one, and it is the US’s fault that they don’t know any better. For them any extra effort at reaching out to the americans would be an affront to their dignity and would be seen as pandering or kissing ass, something that they are not-as people- very keen at when it comes to foreigners. Blame it on the extreme mistrust due to years of colonial occupation and that Arabs might feel that by telling them what to do you are being condescending and stressing your Euro centric superiority. Which is why, it is advisable, when things get as heated as they did here, to just back off. You might not have realized it or seen it, but when you notice the atmosphere changing like that, realize that you have crossed a line and now everyone is on the offensive and not really into it for discussion anymore. When that happens, simply back away! Let it go at that and try some other time. Ok?

That’s my 2 cents people. Hope I didn’t offend anyone, and I apologize if I did in advance. Probably safer that way!


The Sandmonkey said...

Ohh rats, it took me so long writing this thing i didn;t see Twosret's post. Good job babe. That's the way to do it!

Highlander said...

Sandmonkey, your essay is very convincing . That's a good way to put it. Wonderful PR if I may add.

TIC said...

Mohamed, pls remove my previous post, i wrote it in haste and the typos changed the meaning of some sentences. Here it is again:

This isn't about PR for heaven's sake! Israel is America's hand in the Middle East, its part of an imperial project that serves INTERESTS. Israel did not do good PR work to get America's support. This is naive thinking.
Some people cited Palestinian 'terorrism' excuse me, all of Israel's leaders were/are terrorists with blood on their hands for heavens sake and should be tried as war criminals. From Deir Yassin and other massacres in 1948 (and later)(in Palestine), Sabra and Shatilla (beirut), murdering Egyptian POWs, to what we see today of daily wanton shooting of Palestinians by trigger happy israeli soldiers. Remember the soldier who shot a 12 year old girl in her stomach for no reason at all? Last week they killed 3 boys who were playing football. The past four years they killed over 4,000 Palestinians.
Israeli occupation is Israeli occupation, no PR will improve any occupation's image, but INTERESTS do.

Josie said...

Sandmonkey, I was thinking of writing something today... and then I just read what you wrote and now don't need to. Great job.

Ron Larson said...

Thank you Sandmonkey. I've really enjoyed your blog. You seem to understand what I'm trying to say.

I would like to think that everyone is smart enough to know that I'm pushing buttons in order to get you to think. If I really was as bad as you think the average Yank is, then I wouldn't even be here. I would be over at the Fox new website.

I don't recall telling anyone to change their customs and traditions. I don't recall telling anyone to kiss anyones ass. All I am saying is that image and PR is important, often the most important thing. If you want to change things, and I think they do, then they have to understand the minds of the people thay want to change.

This is basic stuff you would learn in first year of marketing.

The "thoughts" I've posted are the perceptions that the average American gets of the ME. I'm trying to get you all to understand how piss-poor your PR is here, and how that continues to contribute to the problem.

Personally, I was discusted by the testimony of the Kuwaiti girl and how she lied under oath to Congress. Please don't get that bad. In the long run it will hurt you more than helps because it ruins your credibility.

Kat said...

Thank you Sandmonkey.

It's true sometimes we need to back off and ruminate on certain subjects.

As for poking the hornets nest, I wouldn't be here if I wasn't interested in the dialogue and attempting some understanding from both of our sides of the discussion.

I'm willing to keep poking it until we make progress if everyone else is willing to keep poking.

And twosret, I appreciate your comment as well. In many regards I believe we have similar interests: peace, less death (from either side) and prospects for a better future.

Mohammed is correct in a sense that it is something that will ultimately have to be resolved between the two parties and that the fate of this movement rests mainly in the hands of those who are there and living it.

However, I believe an excellent point was made: there is nothing wrong with having a strong friend helping out or watching your back. We do not control Israel to the extent another poster indicated, if we did, this would be a moot discussion. However, America does have some influence with them politically and financially as a "friend".

Palestine receives some assistance from the US and many other countries, but, it could receive more and be on the receiving end of additional influence on their behalf. It is only a helping hand, not the hand that will fix it. We agree on that.

But, everything I say here is not just about influencing America. I talk about it in that light because I am an American and that is something that interests me. But, all of these ideas and tactics are not just about influencing people far away. They can be used to generate a central and more powerful idea that could move whole masses of people locally to contribute to something they may feel some apathy towards because of the length of the struggle. It could renew energy within the movement and direct it positively towards an accomplishment for Palestinians in general.

To paraphrase an American civil rights leader: I have a dream.

Maybe it's only my dream, but, since the orange, velvet and cedar revolutions, it has brewing in my mind more and more.

Imagine the power of images from Palestine where 300,000 Palestinians march with the Palestinian flag only, declaring one land, one nation, one unity, carrying flags that demanded freedom, peace and Israel out now with one voice. A Palestinian voice.

Not the voice of Hamas or hezbollah or any smaller groups with their own agendas, but the voice of Palestine.

It would get the attention of Palestinians and Arabs alike as well as resonate with people around the world.

It would have to be a demonstration devoid of weapons (except real authorized Palestinian security protecting the marchers) and chants of death to anyone.

An image like that would put extreme pressure on Israel and generate energy within the movement.

The question is, how to organize such a thing? Can it be done when it is possible that disparate groups may not want to join or may try to void it to insure their own voice and agenda remains strong?

I believe that if such a movement were strong enough, the others would have to begin to comply more with the central government and support the one message, one voice theme, strengthening it even further.

This is not something that can be accomplished by Abbas alone, neither the centralization of the voice and movement nor the strength to bring pressure on Israel. It is by the common man and woman of Palestine that he has his power and from whence that power grows.

In reality, the disparate groups sap away the central strength and message that would give the sway of power back into the hands of Palestine.

If you look at history, there are two types of movements that succeed: peaceful, non violent movements with huge support and violent movements that have less support but are well organized and supplied.

In many respects it would appear that Palestinians have tried a mix of these two types of movements with only marginal effect both locally and internationally.

When you review performance under any structure, it is generally understood that failed and costly processes should be discontinued and a new idea brought forward. Or, when having a "hybrid" movement that is not producing the desired effect, then it is also generally understood that one process needs to be selected and adhered to totally while the other is rejected.

Here the question is, which process? Voilence or peaceful negotiations? It is understood that the best types of negotiations are undertaken when the party seeking concessions from the other has some strength behind them. True in business and politics. To date, the Palestinian strength has rested in the ability of certain groups to perpetuate destruction on Israel.

I'm trying not to be negative here when I say that I believe this is actually the failing process. It has certainly had some advantages, but when analyzing it, the armed movement cannot really bring to bear the kind of strength needed to offset Israel.

So the matter is left up to what strengths can be hedged from the Palestinian side.

Reviewing again recent movements demanding freedom, there is strength in numbers (unified numbers); there is strength in the moral high ground (if Palestinians aren't shooting, but Israelis are, who is the bad guy? and, when you cannot produce the kind armed strength necessary to really influence your adversary, having this in your pocket becomes a very powerful tool); there is strength in the message; there is strength in finding and bringing to the table the thing that your adversary most wants. Last, if your adversary wants something more than you do and you have the power to give it to them, you own the negotiations.

In regards to comments about selling a product vs. a land, people and history, I admit to deliberately leaving that territory for the impersonal "product" because it gives some perspective on the situation and allows me to think beyond pure emotions to how to make something work.

If product is too impersonal, then might I suggest "selling your idea" because ideas are supported by people and is a product of their personal endeavors, beliefs, sweat and tears. And, I might add on to Sam's comment about Kuwait's PR campaign. ASide from that, there are many countries that use the same practices to sell their tourist industry, but selling "the land, it's people and history".

Ireland and Australia come to mind immediately. Of course, this isn't about Palestinian tourism (though that would be helpful in boosting the finances someday), but the images that these campaigns produce are the images that stick in people's minds.

obviously, Palestine wouldn't be able to produce the exact images, but there must be positive things that could be presented:

the people in a positive light - let's face it, you're right and the images that get beamed everwhere, wrong or right, are largely angry people in masks, waving guns and promising more destruction or destroyed homes with sad people sitting on the rubble or picking through it for their belongings. These are real images, but they aren't all sympathetic images. Except maybe the heart tugging ones of children and normal people saddened at the site of their home. Still, is that the only image of Palestine?

You were headed in the right direction when you were talking about using the Pope's visit as a positive image of influence.

The future: what is the future of Palestine? Is this it? Who is working towards that future and what is it? Is it more strife or peace and prosperity? Who represents that future? Children are great representatives of the future. If I was working an image campaign for Palestine, I'd show children in their classrooms, eager to learn and grow up into productive members of society. I'd show them at play like regular children and then show some of the conditions they live in today, then look ahead to the future. What could they be, if only.

History: Has to be shown in the light of the future aspects for Palestine. What positive and motivating things are there about Palestine and Palestinians? Family? Strong ties to the land? How will they be used to promote a future prosperous Palestine? Again, if I was producing and ad campaign, I'd show images of Palestine before the wars and occupation, what it looks like now and then images of changes or people that look like what I (as a Palestinian) want it to look like? What do I want the world and my fellow Palestinians to see as the future of Palestine?

To save money and effort, I would insure that my message was universal for local and international use, though, some would be produced specifically for the location I was trying to influence.

Just remember that everything we say and do today can be seen at anytime by the click of a button onthe TV or PC so there is still the issue of who is controlling the image, the voice, the message.

I apologize if this is long winded or "circular" again, I just feel strongly this is an opportunity to talk to people I've wanted to talk to for a long time. Someone like you, even if we got off to a rocky start.

I feel that we have one other thing in common and that is that we are lone voices crying in the wilderness and this maybe one of the few opportunities we get to meet in a forum without shouting each other down or passing by in the fog.

There is a lot more I could say, but I will leave with some moments in time that could be useful to the Palestinian movement (some of which some groups are trying to use, but, as Mohammed points out, it's really up to the locals to claim it and use it):

-Ghandi walking the length of India to go collect salt from a free salt bed and bypassing the British salt mines and taxes. How many people joined him on his walk? What influence did it have on the British occupiers.

-Martin Luther King, Jr: he insisted on a peace march and even disbanded one march when some groups tried to use it for cover to committ violence. His steadfast belief in this won him respect and admiration and won his movement national and international acclaim. The images today of peaceful unarmed marchers being attacked by water cannon, dogs and police with riot gear is an image that plays on the American populations minds whenever the thoughts or ideas of segregations, discrimination and civil rights are thought of today. It certainly galvanized the nation.

-Polish Solidarity
-The fall of the Soviet Government (I remember the images of people carrying candles and flags and marching on the capital that were protected by the tanks who then turned their turrets around)
-Tiennaman Square (true, they were crushed, but it sent a message that still resonates in China and around the world)
-Velvet Revolution
-Orange Revolution
-Cedar Revolution
(I'd point to Kyrzgistan too but I believe there were sticks and rocks used there, so doesn't exactly fit my point)

But they had something in common that could be used to push the Palestinian cause: one message; one voice; one image; unity; numbers; the moral highground. They didn't need guns because the power was in the numbers.

The message resonated with the people and the world and gave it energy that it did not have operating under multiple movements and messages.

Just thoughts. The Palestinian movement could use an upgrade on their public relations advisors. Although, I'm sure I am not the only one thinking about these kinds of things.

Again, thank you for your time, my apologies for the length and I hope that somewhere in between here we can make a bridge. If not, it was still a good use of time from my end. I am getting to speak with people I may never have had the opportunity to speak to before.


Mohamed said...

That was a very well thought out comment Kat. Glad you came back with that.

My point remains, that changing in order to present a rosy image from inside does not solve our problems. Yes, having the U.S. on our side would help, but it will never solve the problem. Those rosy images you talk about exist vividly, Palestinian intellectuals, as well as children eager to learn and build a future. But the Palestinian suffering is a fact, a fact that we cannot pretend is not there, and simply overlook, to present a rosy image of cheerful, happy people who are looking forward to a bright future.

There are too many peaceful demonstrations going on by Palestinians, peaceful marches with no guns and death threats. You just don't get that on your TV (that's where our PR people should push to get it on there). While this side of the equation exists (that rosy image), the other also does, the violent one --as is obvious to everyone. We cannot tell the resistance to stop fighting because that will present a good image for the cause. They are fed up with people pretending to help the cause, and then selling out. Palestinians may even be willing to sell out if it will end their suffering, but even that is not good enough to the Israelis. Violence will never be eradicated, especially that which is for rightful causes.

The Israelis are given a right to have an army that crushes Palestinians, destructs their homes, build new settlements over Palestinian land. All that happens along side with the peaceful image they present of themselves, the everyday life of Israelis, learning, working for the future, and participating in technology development. But they haven't dismanteled the settlements, or stopped killing Palestinian children and women, or destructing Palestinian homes, or using targeted assassinations!

Even when Martin Luther King Jr. was having his dream, that was not the only dream that existed then. Think of how King died, and think of who killed him?

If we're still talking about PR, a big part of it is presenting the good side of the people on the ground. So here's an example of that, but I doubt that it got to any American. A movie like Bab ElShams is presenting the real image you're talking about. History, family ties, love, children and women learning and working hard to get an education, all that amidst their continuous struggle to survive and stay in their land that they've been pushed away from. Now, how many Americans have heard of this movie? how many movie theaters have shown this movie? Did you (Americans) get a chance to see this real representation of Palestinians and their plight?

Ron Larson said...

Thanks Kat. That was very well written.

Mohamed. Again, some good questions. The answers are publicity. Hollywood is very good at generating interest in films. Did the producers of "Bab El Shams" plug into that marketing network? Or did they just throw the film out there and hoped people would see it? I never hear of it and I love indies. So, improve marketing. Unfortunatly, that takes money. The producers should have asked KSA for some marketing money.

Can I throw a theory out? This is how I perceive the situation. I honestly believe that the powers in charge of the Muslim nations have no interest in seeing peace between Israel and Palistine. In fact, I think it would be their worst nightmare.

So I think they do everything they can to keep the conflict going on and on. They constantly undermine progress. They throw fuel on the fire. They want their cake and to eat it too.

I know this might sound crazy, but step back and look at the facts. You need to ask yourself who is profiting from this conflict? Simple. The oil producing nations, and the nations that have dictators running them.

How they profit is to exploit the conflict for political and security gains. They use the conflict to distract their own citizens from noticing what is going on in their own country. While those in charge loot, steal, plunder, and profit. They keep the masses enraged and distracted.

Politically, they use the conflict to claim legitimacy, to suppress opposition, and to warrent military expenditures.

They have the luxury of doing this because unlike many conflicts, this one does not effect them personally. There are no Israeli tanks rolling through Cario and KSA. They powers in the other nations get to sit in safe comfortable houses and watch the whole thing on TV.

In order to keep this conflict going, all they have to do is throw some money towards groups that are too radical to compromise (ie. Hamas). This acts like gasoline on a fire.

Ending this conflict would be a terrible loss for the Saudi Royal family, the Batth party, the ruling clerics in Iran, the ruling party of Egypt, and even the late Saddam Hussain.

What it would do is allow their own citizens to focus on corruption in their own country. It would remove their excuse to maintain and expensive and intrusive military that used to keep them power under the guize of "protecting" them from Israel.

I think the PA needs to take a long hard look at their so called "friends" to see if they are double dealing. I think they are, and I think they are selling them out. They are playing you and milking the suffering for their own ends.

The solution is to tell them all to go get stuffed. After all, what have they really done in the last 60 years? Not a damn thing. Just made lots of empty promises and lies. They don't really care. How many more chances do you give them?

If they really gave a damn, this would have all been put to bed a looong time ago.