The book Arab Women in Arab News: Old Stereotypes and New Media by Amal Al-Malki, David Kaufer, Suguru Ishizaki and Kira Dreher is not really a book about new media and its uses by Arab women. Rather, it is a book that seeks to undermine stereotypes of Arab women as submissive, using accounts of new media practices as evidence.
This book is unique in its efforts to contrast how the Arabic press represents not simply gender but a very specific gendered and politicized categorization of people in contrast to the way the Western media represent the same category of persons.
Several studies have shown that Western media tend to portray Arab women as passive, fulfilling a longstanding Orientalist stereotype. The authors of this text set out to discover whether Arab media portrays Arab women in the same way. As the author of a paper on ways US media represents Muslims worldwide, I was very interested in the answer.
To analyze how Arab media represents women, the authors engage in a quantitative analysis of 2323 news items from 103 Arabic-language news sources in 22 countries reported between 2005 and 2007. These are then coded to determine whether women are represented as active agents or passive subjects:
Several months ago I was at a public talk here at Miami University on the Middle Eastern uprisings by a visiting scholar. When it was over, the person next to me said, “But when is it going to finally settle down? Why is it taking so long?”
I keep hearing these sentiments — and from Egyptians as well as North Americans and Europeans. There seems to be an expectation that when a regime falls to popular protest, an orderly transition to democracy should be expected.
“Well, after all, it took the US 20-30 years to establish order after the revolution,” I said.
“What do you mean?” she asked. After a brief conversation it became clear that this colleague, with a PhD in Arabic Literature, educated in US high schools and universities, had some notion that the US sprang magically into being in 1776 or thereabouts, once the British regime was thrown out. To be fair, she’d never really thought about it before.
Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth.
The Bibliography resource on the Egyptian uprisings has been updated.
The bibliography now includes over 500 references. Updates include articles from such journals as Democracy, the Washington Quarterly, Middle East Topics & Arguments, Television & New Media, Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research, Journal of Civil Society, Soccer & Society, Australian Journal of Communication, Social Research, Foreign Policy, and many others, including books like Jeffrey Alexander’s Performing Revolution in Egypt, Naomi Sakr’s Transformations in Egyptian Journalism, Mohamed El-Bendary’s The Egyptian Revolution Between Hope and Despair: Mubarak to Morsi.
Michelle Bachmann appeared Sept. 7 (along with fellow representatives Steve King and Louie Gohmert) in a prerecorded message on ONTV where she cheered the Egyptian military for removing Morsi from power and putting down the Muslim Brotherhood.
Bachmann’s penchant for making dumb erroneous statements was in full swing as she described the Muslim Brotherhood as a worldwide terrorist organization and implied they were responsible for 9/11
The MB is not, of course, a terrorist organization. They are an organization of socially committed Muslims who combine political activism with Islamic charity work. There are members of the organization that have committed acts of terrorism, and members who have broken away to form terrorist organizations.
And they are not associated in any way with Al-Qaida, which was formed in the 1980s in the crucible of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the subsequent US-USSR proxy war.
I get the semiotics of Bachmann’s statement,, of course:
It was not the confusions and contradictions of Egyptian electoral politics that pushed the Muslim Brotherhood into power. Morsi was put into power by the United States. Resistance against the Brotherhood protesters is thus also resistance against US domination of Egypt. Threats by the US to halt aid or introduce other sanctions are just last-ditch efforts by Washington to keep its ally in place.
That is the way many Egyptians see relations between the US and Egypt right now in this period of violence and uncertainty.
The latest iteration of this is an editorial this week in the UAE newspaper Al-Khaleej:
The American Administration is practicing a dangerous policy in the region, namely in regards to the post revolutionary Egypt, by using all sorts of means and tools such as threatening the use of force and political and economic pressures. This all aims at containing the countries of the region and placing them under the American control in a way that primarily serves America’s and the Zionist entity’s interest.
The editorial goes on to reassure readers that the Egyptian people will never submit to American blackmail.
The Arab sheikhdoms have made it clear how pleased they are not to have another “Islamic democracy” in the region that might give their own people ideas, but this op-ed is more than a piece of propaganda. It represents just one instance of a widespread discourse that links the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to the national interests of the US and Israel.
I’m not sure exactly why they picked me, but I was asked this week to comment on the situation in Egypt and specifically the recent theft of artifacts from the Malawi Museum in the city of Minya. Joining me was Carol Redmount, Assistant Professor of Egyptian Archaeology at UC Berkeley. We were featured on “This Morning”, which I’m told is the top-rated morning show in Seoul, Korea (but I’m told that by the show’s producers, so…)
Anyway, click on the screenshot to the left to hear a podcast of the story.