American hypocrisy is limitless when it comes to Arab World

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American hypocrisy is limitless when it comes to Arab World
Saudi Gazette Newspaper, Sunday, April 14, 2013

By Ray Hanania

If there is one thing that defines American attitudes about the Arab World, it is hypocrisy.

It’s sad to say considering Americans self-define themselves as the most educated and most Democratic nation in the world. Americans are the most educated people in the World, but the least educated about the World.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad and it could be far worse than it is. But discrimination and racism drive American attitudes not only of foreigners but also of their own diversity. The engine driving this flaw is the mainstream American news media, which is corrupt, unethical, inaccurate and constantly wrong, driven by partisan politics rather than journalistic integrity. So why do Arab countries reach out to American journalism institutions for guidance is establishing journalism entities at their colleges and institutions? Well, because Americans are also good at disguising their hypocrisies and the Arab World, frankly, is not always bright about recognizing between great, good, bad and evil.

This week, Amnesty International released a detailed report on executions. Based on what we read in the biased Western media, you would think that the Arab World is driving the world’s executions.

The report is flawed in many ways. In some cases, they just couldn’t get the precise number of executions in China because there are so many. They think executions are taking place in Syria, but no one knows. Israel is given a pass, and how they define executions is questionable. But it touches on a favorite American practice of pretending to be morally better when in fact they are just like everyone else.

Americans, for example, think that electrocution, lethal injection and hanging are “more humane” methods of execution allowing them to shriek in horror and regale in finger-pointing preaching at the news of beheadings or the act of severing a convicted thief’s hands. The Amnesty report is interesting because of the way it is written. Clearly, Amnesty is playing politics with the report.

Rather than provide a list of who executed more, the report lectures several countries and then casts the United States in the context of being the only exception in the “Americas.” Belarus is the only exception in Europe. But here are the facts: China had more executions than any other country, maybe thousands. But because the regime is so repressive, the number cannot be documented.

Iran ranks in 2nd place with a more than 314 executions in 2012. Iraq, which is still basically controlled by the United States, ranks 3rd with 129 executions. Overall, there were 682 executions in 2012 and 680 in 2011.

The number doesn’t reflect an accurate total, however. Another 1,722 people have been sentenced to death in 2012 in 58 countries, mainly in the West.
The report excludes Israel. It’s not even mentioned at all. In reality, Israel has a worse form of executions policy, a creative method of executions that does not fall into the Amnesty International Report, mainly because of Western politics.

The executions in the Amnesty report reflect killings that at least followed some form of judicial proceeding. In Israel, however, they ban the death penalty through the legal system, but engage in execution by fiat under a policy called “extra-judicial killing.” And, the practice is driven by racism and politics, as the victims of Israeli execution are only Palestinian and Arab.

In other words, Israel executes individuals without trial and because it is “outside” of their legal system, it’s not even acknowledged.

Hypocrisy is the foundation of American democracy. They have a rolling comparison ethics in which they condemn other countries for things that Americans once did but no longer do. Slavery was the foundation of the American system for almost three centuries, before and after its founding. But because they eliminated slavery as a “policy” in the 19th Century, continuing racist practices for another 100 years, they condemn other countries where slavery continues as an illegal black market.

Americans burned “witches” at the stake, hot tarred and feathered people accused of wrong-doing, and hung people not from gallows but from trees for crimes and racism because they were African American through the 1960s. They continue to jail people, mainly Muslims, because of their political views and expressions of “free speech.”

It’s just that in the United States, the mainstream media is complicit in the hypocrisy. American presidents don’t have to issue decrees censoring the media. They use favoritism and public bullying to segregate popular expressions of free speech from unpopular expressions of free speech. They marginalize those voices that challenge American hypocrisy, discriminate against them, and harass them with investigations and rumor mongering.

When I was a young activist in the 1970s, the FBI harassed all of my friends and investigated me for two years, even though I had just completed two years of active duty military service with honors during the Vietnam War, all because I was Palestinian. The issue of executions with or without justice is one that needs more discussion and understanding. It is incomplete and partisan. American actions are important because although it is not really a free democracy, it is militarily the most powerful country in the world.

Some might define America as powerful, but sometimes I wonder if it’s not just about bullying and a form of extra-judicial censorship.

— Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. Reach him at www.TheMediaOasis.com or on Twitter at@RayHanania.

This post has already been read 138 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com