Friday, April 2, 2010

Murdoch's Arab Mates

"Any doubts that Rupert Murdoch has a god complex have been dispelled. Murdoch and his wife ,Wendi, have celebrated the baptism of their daughters Grace 8, and Chloe, 6, at what some reports say is believed to be the baptism site of Jesus Christ beside the River Jordan. Hello! magazine devoted 18 pages to the event, which was hosted by Queen Rania of Jordan. Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman were named as godparents..." (A big day for Grace & Chloe, Sydney Morning Herald, 1/4/10)

"Murdoch's newspapers and television stations have misrepresented and distorted news from the Middle East for decades. Yet here he is in Abu Dhabi being cossetted and flattered by Arab princes and businessmen, people who want to make money with or from him. They are Rupert's kind of Arabs. Like him they have no conscience. What they have in common is money and power. Murdoch already has extensive connections with the Saudis, especially with Prince Al Walid bin Talal, who owns 7% of News Corporation stock (& is therefore the largest single invester outside individual members of the Murdoch family). In return Murdoch has bought a 9.9% stake ($70 million) in Talal's Rotana media group: while in Abu Dhabi he announced a further deal, between Fox International Channels and the local twofour54 company in what was called 'a creative content initiative'.

"Herein lies the fatal weakness of the Arab world. The fundamental problem is not just Israel and the 'west'. It is certainly not the man and woman on the street. From Morocco to the Gulf they support the Palestinians wholeheartedly. The central problem is the lack of will and principle in the Arab state system, and underneath this, the lack of democracy. Almost all of the 'leaders' who speak for the Arabs on the world stage are unrepresentative, either because they have no elections or because they debauch the electoral process. They are the guardians of 'western' interests, not the interests and aspirations of their own people. Proper democratic processes would result in the election of governments that would give active support to the Palestinians. There would be no wall between Egypt and Gaza and there would be no negotiations or backdoor trade with Israel as long as it occupies and colonises Arab land. There would be no deals with a man whose media abuses the Arabs and supports their enemy. In the real world of international diplomacy states usually use their resources to achieve diplomatic and strategic ends. Only the Arab states (especially the Gulf States) give theirs away for nothing. While the people of the West Bank and Gaza are struggling to hold their ground, while their friends and supporters around the world rally and campaign for them, they are let down at every turn by their Arab 'brothers' holding positions of power and influence." (Murdoch's kind of Arabs: Sleeping with the enemy, Jeremy Salt, The Palestine Chronicle, 16/3/10)

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