The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.
In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.
Damn! Isn't it always the way? Just when you're getting into a new soap opera, they go and cut it! The sponsors aren't getting enough advertising, or the principle lead has gone into drug rehab, or something like that. And I was really looking forward to the next episode of "The Rothschilds".
Here's a taster:
Helen, a Christian lady who lives in a Romanian Jewish ghetto, is holding a Tupperware party. Amongst others, she has invited Nathan Rothschild and the Rabbi.
The doorbell rings. The Rabbi stands at the door. So does Nathan, clutching a large box, tied up with a ribbon.
Rabbi: Hello Judith. Thanks for inviting us. We're looking forward to buying some Tupperware, especially something to keep warm sticky liquids in, so they don't congeal. Anyway, how are you?
Judith: I'm fine thanks, Rabbi. But I'm a bit worried about my little Joseph. I haven't seen him for a few hours.
Nathan: Oh, I shouldn't worry, Judith, you know what young boys are like, always going off without saying where, they forget Mother's Day, they don't call, they don't write. He'll be around here somewhere. Anyway, I've brought you a present!
Judith: Oh Nathan, you shouldn't have! (Removes ribbon and opens box). Oh! My favorite! Matzos! Passover Matzos! (Picks one out and eats it). Mmm, it's delicious! (Helps herself to another one). They've got an extra-special taste, familiar in a strange sort of way. You Jews certainly know how to bake! It's obviously all local ingredients, and organic too! Joseph is going to be awfully disappointed that he didn't get to eat these. You must let me have the recipe!.......
So what happens next? We'll never know.
Here's the story of how the series got pulled. Now this is a classic bit of Arab "Saving Face". The Jordanian Government can't say that they cancelled the series, because that would imply that they authorized it in the first place. This in turn would mean that:
- They knowingly sanctioned offensive libellous propaganda against their neighbour Israel, with whom of course they have a peace treaty, and thus cannot be trusted.
- They were forced to do a humiliating about turn.
So instead they create an elaborate fiction.
"It has come to our attention that a controversial program entitled 'Al-Shatat' or 'The Diaspora' has been broadcast from an independent/private channel entitled 'Mamnou' operating from the Media Free Zone in Jordan, which is not subject to Jordanian Law. The program itself was not broadcast from any Jordanian channel..... The Government of Jordan does not monitor or control the content of any program broadcasting from the free zone, whether it is cultural, political, or otherwise.
Nothing to do with us, guys, say the Jordanians. We've just created a "Media Free Zone". And it's totally out of our control.
Must be difficult for them to stop programs in that case. So how was it stopped?
"'Al-Shatat' drew concerns for inciting hate. Accordingly, the program has been stopped from the private channel as of Tuesday, October 25th 2005. The termination was only done through personal intervention of responsible Jordanians.
Ah. Of course. Responsible citizens of Jordan stopped it. Marched up to the studios, carrying banners. Led by a shortish guy called Abdullah II, perhaps? Trained as an army officer in Sandhurst, England? Took over the family firm when Dad died?
If only there were more such responsible citizens around. And if only they would stop this garbage in the first place, instead of being found out and humiliated.
Nice one, MEMRI.