Buffoonery and state killing

3 04 2011

Category; Media, Middle East

I can understand why people are sometimes scared of clowns. There’s a frightening buffoon appearing in the British media at the moment; Sami Khiyami, the Syrian Ambassador to the UK.

Jeremy Paxman did an excellent job trying to impose a sense of reality on a man who describes his country, in the grip of civil unrest and which has seen more than a hundred of its citizens killed by their own government, as ‘the nicest and most beautiful state in the Middle East‘.

As to the cause of the unrest, it is nothing to do with the authoritarian regime of President Assad, but it may be the work of the Israelis; ‘they could be behind any bad thing in the world‘.

You can watch the interview here:

Paxman handled the surreality of the interview well. His colleagues on the Radio 4’s Today programme did not.

Evan Davis interviewed Khiyami on the Today Programme on 1st April 2011. It is a negligent piece of journalism. In a programme known for combative questioning, Khiyami was handled with kid gloves.

It’s a dreadful interview. Davis even sums up for him, have a listen: Read the rest of this entry »

Human Rights Muddle

5 03 2011

Category; Media, Middle East, Politics

BBC Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen and Gaddaffi 1/3/11

This is the photo the BBC chose to put on it’s homepage on 1/3/11 for coverage of the ongoing crisis in Libya. It shows their Middle East Editor with Colonel Gaddaffi.

As I write this Colonel Gaddafi is holding onto power in Libya while insurgents hold various parts of the country and there are sporadic battles.

Internationally there are calls for the overthrow of Gaddafi and calls for foreign intervention to bring that about. Things are changing on a daily, an hourly basis at times. The situation may be different tomorrow.

This episode brings into focus the values that drive Human Rights as a political and legal issue. On what grounds should the west be actively working for his overthrow? Read the rest of this entry »

Human Rights Pick ‘n Mix

27 02 2011

Category; Media, Middle East, Politics

Colonel Gaddafi is a bad man. That is about as far from a controversial statement as you can get right now, when he’s gunning down his own citizens in the streets of Tripoli. But he has been a bad man for a long long time.

There is now a chorus of reaction against him, and Western governments that have dealt with him in recent years. There are reams of condemnatory column inches, a procession of talking heads. ┬áIt’s about time, but it would be a lot more comforting if those joining the clamour could answer two straight questions: Read the rest of this entry »