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I have the right to tell immediately. If an Arab shows up in an action movie climate you deserve to be almost details that he will be a terrorist. If the movie is set in the middle East, then the local world must be behind – and also unattractive. There is no fail. I immediately switch the channel. Now, much more than ever, Arabs space being depicted as ignorant and also brutal.

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As because that Beirut, according to Hollywood, the is a bullet-ridden city whereby militants run about freely and also where Hizbullah fighters roam the highways threatening citizens. Never ever mind that the civil war finished 13 years earlier and the city has been rebuilt.

Even in cartoons, Arabs space the ‘bad’ men who kidnap the heroines. Psychic Disney’s Aladdin? The opened song shown the Arab world as ‘a faraway place, whereby the caravan camels roam, whereby they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face. It’s barbaric however hey it’s home.’ It take it a many work native American-Arab anti-discrimination activists in the united state to readjust some the the text for the video clip version.

And that course together stereotypes inform real life, too. I remember when, fl eeing native the Lebanese civil war, we saw the united state in the so late 1980s and I enrolled in the local high college just external Washington DC. Top top a tour of the school, my student guide planted me in former of a television set and said fairly loudly: ‘This is a TELEVISION, us watch moving photos on it.’


A few days later, curious students inquiry me how my father managed his camels and also oil wells and also did I know what a church was. Ns think if ns were to satisfy them now, they would certainly ask me where my father’s terrorist cell are.

Of course, if you watch nothing various in popular movies, climate it’s tough to shake off such ignorance. Physically, Arab men are portrayed with unshaven beards, long noses, head kaffiyas and also dirty clothes. Women space seen draped in black clothes with chop headscarves and also submissive to men. Unless, the course, they’re life in a harem.

At one suggest during my university years in the US, posters to be hung up heralding a deodorant. It illustrated a man with a lengthy nose and dirty head garment. ‘Don’t smell like an Arab,’ that said. ‘Use a deodorant.’

Friends have reported similar stories. Throughout her continue to be at a west university, Rania – who has actually blond hair and also blue eyes – was told by administrators the she blended in well in the campus together she didn’t ‘look prefer an Arab’.

Jack Shaheen, author of Reel negative Arabs, has sat through more than sufficient films through such attack stereotypes. In one interview v Beirut’s day-to-day Star, he said that he can count end 900 movies which project Arabs together villains. Amongst the terms supplied to refer to them are ‘rag-heads’, ‘towel-heads’, ‘sons-ofshe- camels’, ‘son-of-an-unnamed-goat’ and ‘camel-dicks’.

Arabs trying to rape or abduct west heroines appear in an ext than 20 films. Arabs enslaving Africans function in around 10 and also at least 11 Israeli-made movies portray american and/or Israelis killing ‘evil Arabs’.

Anti-Christian Arabs feature in more than 20 films. As for Christian Arabs, they seem to it is in non-existent. Because that Hollywood, Arabs are automatically Muslim.

Of the 43 fiction films examined by Shaheen that associated Palestinian characters, an ext than fifty percent were filmed in Israel between 1983 and 1998, including the blockbusters True Lies, The Siege, and also Delta force – every one of which pitted Palestinian terrorists against American heroes.

Unfortunately, together movies just fuel Arab anger and deepen the Israeli-Arab divide.

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But together Shaheen says: ‘The Arab stereotype is easy. It provides money. Filmmakers thrive up with the stereotypes and so revert come them easily.’

Reem Haddad functions for the everyday Star in Beirut.

This write-up is fromthe April 2004 issueof New Internationalist.You can access the entire archive of end 500 problems with a digital subscription.Subscribe today »

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