A Jordanian media firm hopes its new TV cartoon series can achieve what politicians have failed to do so far: bridge the cultural divide between East and West. It sounds like a tall order, but the Rubicon firm — named after the river Caesar crossed to establish the Roman Empire — is armed with an equally mighty motto: "to embark on a mission from which one cannot turn back."
Even more important is that the cartoon, called Ben and Izzy and aimed at 8 to 11 year olds, has royal backing from Jordan’s media savvy rulers, King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, who have made it their goal to promote tolerance. Rania will showcase Jordan’s first TV cartoon export in New York on May 8 at a black-tie dinner she’s hosting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. American media ‘royalty,’ like Barbara Walters and Katie Couric, are expected to be on hand.
"Ben and Izzy has all the right ingredients," Rania told The Associated Press. "It uses the fun medium of a children’s cartoon, promotes important intercultural understanding and educates our children as well … It’s all about partnership. This isn’t about East telling West, or West telling East, but rather East and West putting their heads together and figuring out what’s best for us both." Source: [Yahoo News]
I have to say I’m really proud to see this great initiative coming from my homeland. It really is needed in this day and time. It put a huge smile on my face to see the US media talking about this initiative and mentioning the fact that is "Jordanian-made." Kudos to all those behind this very amazing initiative. I would also like to salute Randa Ayyoubi, the CEO of Rubicon, which is the company behind Ben and Izzy, for putting forward such a wonderful image of Jordanian women to the outside world! More Ayyoubi’s are needed in the Arab World. Here is the cartoon’s website and here’s a link to The New York Times feature from last week about Monday’s presentation. The Times even has a bit of the cartoon online. Jordanian blogger Black Iris has also weighed in with a few thoughts on this fantastic initiative.
A NICE CONVERSATION
>Q Daddy, why did we have to attack Iraq ?
>A Because they had weapons of mass destruction.
>Q But the inspectors didn’t find any weapons of mass destruction.
>A That’s because the Iraqis were hiding them.
>Q And that’s why we invaded Iraq ?
>A Yep. Invasions always work better than inspections.
>Q But after we invaded them, we STILL didn’t find any weapons of mass
>destruction, did we?
>A That’s because the weapons are so well hidden. Don’t worry, we’ll find something, probably right before the 2004 election.
>Q Why did Iraq want all those weapons of mass destruction?
>A To use them in a war, silly.
>Q I’m confused. If they had all those weapons that they planned to use in a war, then why didn’t they use any of those weapons when we went to war with them?
>A Well, obviously they didn’t want anyone to know they had those weapons, so they chose to die by the thousands rather than defend themselves.
>Q That doesn’t make sense. Why would they choose to die if they had all those big weapons with which they could have fought back?
>A It’s a different culture. It’s not supposed to make sense.
>Q I don’t know about you, but I don’t think they had any of those weapons our government said they did.
>A Well, you know, it doesn’t matter whether or not they had those weapons. We had another good reason to invade them anyway.
>Q And what was that?
>A Even if Iraq didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein
was a cruel dictator, which is another good reason to invade another country.
>Q Why? What does a cruel dictator do that makes it OK to invade his >country?
>A Well, for one thing, he tortured his own people.
>Q Kind of like what they do in China ?
>A Don’t go comparing China to Iraq . China is a good economic competitor, where millions of people work for slave wages in sweatshops and help make US corporations richer.
>Q So if a country lets its people are exploited for American corporate gain, it’s a good country, even if that country tortures people?
>Q Why were people in Iraq being tortured?
>A For political crimes, mostly, like criticizing the government. People who criticized the government in Iraq were sent to prison and tortured.
>Q Isn’t that exactly what happens in China ?
>A I told you, China is different.
>Q What’s the difference between China and Iraq ?
>A Well, for one thing, Iraq was ruled by the Ba’ath party, while China is Communist.
>Q Didn’t you once tell me Communists were bad?
>A No, just Cuban Communists are bad.
>Q How are the Cuban Communists bad?
>A Well, for one thing, people who criticize the government in Cuba are sent to prison and tortured.
>Q Like in Iraq ?
>Q And like in China , too?
>A I told you, China ‘s a good economic competitor. Cuba , on the other hand, is not.
>Q How come Cuba isn’t a good economic competitor?
>A Well, you see, back in the early 1960s, the US government passed some laws that made it illegal for Americans to trade or do any business with Cuba until they stopped being Communists and started being capitalists like us.
>Q But if we got rid of those laws, opened up trade with Cuba , and started doing business with them, wouldn’t that help the Cubans become capitalists?
>A Don’t be smart.
>Q I didn’t think I was being one.
>A Well, anyway, they also don’t have freedom of religion in Cuba.
>Q Kind of like China and the Falun Gong movement?
>A I told you, stop saying bad things about China . Anyway, Saddam Hussein came to power through a military coup, so he’s not really a legitimate leader anyway.
>Q What’s a military coup?
>A That’s when a military general takes over the government of a country by force, instead of holding free elections like we do in the United States.
>Q Didn’t the ruler of Pakistan come to power by a military coup?
>A You mean General Pervez Musharraf? Uh, yeah, he did, but Pakistan is
>Q Why is Pakistan our friend if their leader is illegitimate?
>A I never said Pervez Musharraf was illegitimate.
>Q Didn’t you just say a military general who comes to power by forcibly overthrowing the legitimate government of a nation is an illegitimate leader?
>A Only Saddam Hussein. Pervez Musharraf is our friend, because he helped us invade Afghanistan .
>Q Why did we invade Afghanistan ?
>A Because of what they did to us on September 11th.
>Q What did Afghanistan do to us on September 11th?
>A Well, on September 11th, nineteen men – fifteen of them Saudi Arabians – hijacked four airplanes and flew three of them into buildings, killing over 3,000 Americans.
>Q So how did Afghanistan figure into all that?
>A Afghanistan was where those bad men trained, under the oppressive rule of the Taliban.
>Q Aren’t the Taliban those bad radical Islamics who chopped off people’s heads and hands?
>A Yes, that’s exactly who they were. Not only did they chop off people’s heads and hands, but they oppressed women, too.
>Q Didn’t the Bush administration give the Taliban 43 million dollars back in May of 2001?
>A Yes, but that money was a reward because they did such a good job
>Q Fighting drugs?
>A Yes, the Taliban were very helpful in stopping people from growing
>Q How did they do such a good job?
>A Simple. If people were caught growing opium poppies, the Taliban would have their hands and heads cut off.
>Q So, when the Taliban cut off people’s heads and hands for growing flowers, that was OK, but not if they cut people’s heads and hands off for other reasons?
>A Yes. It’s OK with us if radical Islamic fundamentalists cut off people’s hands for growing flowers, but it’s cruel if they cut off people’s hands for stealing bread.
>Q Don’t they also cut off people’s hands and heads in Saudi Arabia ?
>A That’s different. Afghanistan was ruled by a tyrannical patriarchy that oppressed women and forced them to wear burqas whenever they were in public, with death by stoning as the penalty for women who did not comply.
>Q Don’t Saudi women have to wear burqas in public, too?
>A No, Saudi women merely wear a traditional Islamic body covering.
>Q What’s the difference?
>A The traditional Islamic covering worn by Saudi women is a modest yet
>fashionable garment that covers all of a woman’s body except for her
eyes and fingers. The burqa, on the other hand, is an evil tool of patriarchal oppression that covers all of a woman’s body except for her eyes and fingers.
>Q It sounds like the same thing with a different name.
>A Now, don’t go comparing Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are
>Q But I thought you said 15 of the 19 hijackers on September 11th were
from Saudi Arabia .
>A Yes, but they trained in Afghanistan.
>Q Who trained them?
>A A very bad man named Osama bin Laden.
>Q Was he from Afghanistan ?
>A Uh, no, he was from Saudi Arabia too. But he was a bad man, a very
>Q I seem to recall he was our friend once.
>A Only when we helped him and the mujahadeen repel the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan back in the 1980s.
>Q Who are the Soviets? Was that the Evil Communist Empire Ronald
Reagan talked about?
>A There are no more Soviets. The Soviet Union broke up in 1990 or
>thereabouts, and now they have elections and capitalism like us. We call them Russians now.
>Q So the Soviets – I mean, the Russians – are now our friends?
>A Well, not really. You see, they were our friends for many years after they stopped being Soviets, but then they decided not to support our invasion of Iraq , so we’re mad at them now. We’re also mad at the French and the Germans because they didn’t help us invade Iraq either.
>Q So the French and Germans are evil, too?
>A Not exactly evil, but just bad enough that we had to rename French fries and French toast to Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast.
>Q Do we always rename foods whenever another country doesn’t do what
we want them to do?
>A No, we just do that to our friends. Our enemies, we invade.
>Q But wasn’t Iraq one of our friends back in the 1980s?
>A Well, yeah. For a while.
>Q Was Saddam Hussein ruler of Iraq back then?
>A Yes, but at the time he was fighting against Iran, which made him our friend, temporarily.
>Q Why did that make him our friend?
>A Because at that time, Iran was our enemy.
>Q Isn’t that when he gassed the Kurds?
>A Yeah, but since he was fighting against Iran at the time, we looked the other way, to show him we were his friend.
>Q So anyone who fights against one of our enemies automatically becomes our friend?
>A Most of the time, yes.
>Q And anyone who fights against one of our friends is automatically an
>A Sometimes that’s true, too. However, if American corporations can profit by selling weapons to both sides at the same time, all the better.
>A Because war is good for the economy, which means war is good for
America. Also, since God is on America’s side, anyone who opposes war is a godless un-American Communist. Do you understand now why we attacked Iraq?
>Q I think so. We attacked them because God wanted us to, right?
>Q But how did we know God wanted us to attack Iraq ?
>A Well, you see, God personally speaks to George W. Bush and tells him
what to do.
>Q So basically, what you’re saying is that we attacked Iraq because George W. Bush hears voices in his head?
>A Yes! You finally understand how the world works. Now close your eyes, make yourself comfortable, and go to sleep. Good night.
>Good night, dad….!
Breaking News: Israeli Strike on Gaza: Where is World News?
The Palestine Monitor
June 13, 2006
Approximately one hour ago, Israel killed 9 Palestinians in Gaza during an extra-judicial assassination on a leader of Islamic Jihad. Two children are among those killed, and at least 20 others are injured.
Images of medics dragging the injured and dying to hospitals flash across Al Jazeera’s live coverage, complete with running narration of events from a reporter at the scene. However, BBC World is limiting its coverage to the announcement of the attack and number of those killed, plus the running headline “Israeli strikes in Gaza” ticking across the bottom of the screen. No live images are transmitted. CNN Headline News, meanwhile, is reporting on American fears of this year’s hurricane season.
The Arab media is doing its part to show the current and frequent attacks on Palestinians in Gaza, while international television service is downplaying the event, or not covering it at all. With respect to CNN, the coverage of today’s tragedy in Gaza repeats the insufficient coverage of the killing of the Ghalia family in a similar strike on Gaza beach on Friday June 9.
Palestine Monitor demands BBC and CNN to cover the live story in Gaza, as well as other breaking stories of violence incurred upon Palestinians.
Contact the Bureau Chief’s of BBC and CNN here in Palestine to tell them to cover what is going on right now in Gaza as fully as possible, so that the millions of people they reach see the ongoing violence of Israeli missile strikes.
CNN Bureau Chief Thomas Fenton
+972 (0)2 500 9500
BBC Bureau Chief Simon Wilson
+972 (0)2 537 4199
THIS INCIDENT IS ONE OF THE MANY, WHICH DEPICTS THE DARK SIDE OF THE MEDIA. THIS INCIDENT THROWS LIGHT ON HOW THE WORLD IS FOOLED BY THE WESTERN MEDIA, WHICH DRAMATISES THE PALESTINE RESISTANCE TO THE ISRAELI INVADERS AS TERRORISM.
how can anyone justify israel?
Well Well Well, Israeli or any else dump, DON’T you dare talking about Palestinians, you don’t have half their courage and there you are judging them as if you are the god of wisdom! A miserable fact, when Palestinian children are carrying rocks to defend their country, the stupid Israeli soldiers are hiding inside their tanks shooting them with no mercy! After all that you call them terrorists… You Cowards… I really pity you trying to prove that you are innocent all you wanted is to kill Palestinians and take their land… oh yes it’s your right though!!!! O La Laaaa
Be careful about calling someone a racist when you know absolutely nothing about them. I said that the situation in Israel is not all black and white. And because of that you label me a racist. And you assume that I agree with Jewish extremists when I said nothing in my comment to make you think that. In fact I was also saying that I didn’t agree with Israeli.
There can be no rational dialogue with people like you. You start in with the name calling before you even know what a person really believes. Nice going.