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<nettime> what is to be studied digest [x4: recktenwald x2, geer x2]
nettime's_qualquant on Sun, 5 Aug 2007 18:27:58 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> what is to be studied digest [x4: recktenwald x2, geer x2]


Subject: Re: <nettime> the fate of Middle East studies
     "Benjamin Geer" <benjamin.geer {AT} gmail.com>
     Heiko Recktenwald <uzs106 {AT} uni-bonn.de>
     Heiko Recktenwald <uzs106 {AT} uni-bonn.de>
     "Benjamin Geer" <benjamin.geer {AT} gmail.com>

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Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2007 11:13:02 +0300
From: "Benjamin Geer" <benjamin.geer {AT} gmail.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> the fate of Middle East studies

2007/8/4, Heiko Recktenwald <uzs106 {AT} uni-bonn.de>:

> IMHO it is not the business of Arabs to make the West listen to them.

Which brings us back to my original question: who persuades Westerners
to listen to people in the rest of the world?  Who persuaded them to
listen to Latin Americans?  Maybe academics...

> Maybe the business of Western journalists in Egypt etc to report what is
> really happening. In Gaza etc.

OK, but how do you define "what's really happening"?  A friend of mine
was working recently for Associated Press in Cairo, and I asked her
why most Western news reports about Egypt are about discoveries of
Ancient Egyptian artefacts or about violence, while there's very
little about the basic realities of life in Egypt today.  She said
that unfortunately, a story only becomes "news" when an event with
significant effects happens, like an explosion, a scientific discovery
or a major change in government policy.  If a problem has been going
on for years, and nobody is doing anything about it, it isn't news.

Maybe that's why most Westerners seem to imagine that Egypt consists
entirely of pyramids, camels and terrorist bombings.

Ben

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Date: Sun, 05 Aug 2007 08:54:19 +0200
From: Heiko Recktenwald <uzs106 {AT} uni-bonn.de>
Subject: Re: <nettime> the fate of Middle East studies

Hi,

Benjamin Geer wrote:

> Which brings us back to my original question: who persuades Westerners
> to listen to people in the rest of the world?  Who persuaded them to
> listen to Latin Americans?  Maybe academics...

I dont think they have much influence outside of universities. Indymedia etc
may have more..;-)

>> Maybe the business of Western journalists in Egypt etc to report what is
>> really happening. In Gaza etc.
>>     
> She said that unfortunately, a story only becomes "news" when an event with
> significant effects happens, like an explosion, a scientific discovery or a
> major change in government policy.  If a problem has been going on for years,
> and nobody is doing anything about it, it isn't news.

There are a lot of Muslims in Germany, in France, the US etc and they 
are starting to try to build nice clean mosquees. Out of backrooms, with 
or without high towers, with or without a speaker on that tower, the 
are hot topics today in Cologne and Berlin.

Conclusio, again: the Muslims themselves will raise awareness by just being
here.

Best,

H.
 
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Date: Sun, 05 Aug 2007 13:03:42 +0200
From: Heiko Recktenwald <uzs106 {AT} uni-bonn.de>
Subject: Re: <nettime> the fate of Middle East studies

And btw, we should not overlook them:

> There are a lot of Muslims in Germany, in France, the US etc and they are
> starting to try to build nice clean mosquees. Out of backrooms, with or
> without high towers, with or without a speaker on that tower, the number of
> parking lots and the visibility of Muslims in general, that are hot topics
> today in Cologne and Berlin.
>
> Conclusio, again: the Muslims themselves will raise awareness by just being
> here.

There are famous "new Arab quarters of Marseille", see

http://www.leonardo.info/isast/spec.projects/artandwar/artwar.malina.html 
for example,

where more or less no cars were burning in those hot days in France some 
years ago.

Arabs in France,


H.

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Date: Sun, 5 Aug 2007 14:48:11 +0300
From: "Benjamin Geer" <benjamin.geer {AT} gmail.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> the fate of Middle East studies

2007/8/5, Heiko Recktenwald <uzs106 {AT} uni-bonn.de>:

> Conclusio, again: the Muslims themselves will raise awareness by just
> being here.

Europe's recent history shows that minorities can "be here" for a long
time, in large numbers, without raising enough awareness about
themselves to ensure their well-being or even their survival.  And
there are disturbing similarities between the current political
climate in Europe and that of the 1930s.

Presence is not a guarantee of being understood.  Instead, I think
understanding depends on the work of people who create and spread
ideas (journalists, academics, writers, filmmakers, bureaucrats,
politicians, activists).  Edward Said's book _Orientalism_ showed, for
example, how Western academics created Orientalism as a field of
knowledge that had broad influence outside academia.  The discourse of
Orientalism was used by the most influential novelists and the most
powerful politicians, and shaped Europeans' "common sense" about
"Orientals", making it seem natural for Europe to dominate them.
Orientalism is now contested, but it's still very influential.  Just
look at Jackie Salloum's film "Planet of the Arabs", a montage of
Hollywood images of Arabs:

http://www.jsalloum.org/films.html

An alternative "common sense" about Arabs and Muslims won't just
appear by itself in the West.  It will appear, if it appears, because
people (Arabs, Muslims and others) worked to create it, because they
had a successful strategy for doing so, involving academia, the media
and the arts.

Ben

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