Thursday, March 30, 2017

Today's really fake news from Israel that tells a truth

The essay you are about to read is fake news. It's about a Middle East where reality has been turned on its head. Put another way, the essay below is nothing more than political satire, otherwise known as fake news that, if you get the satire, is funny. If you don't get the satire, you might think it's a real story.

That's how crazy the Middle East is: you need an encyclopedia to understand the scorecard.

The essay below comes from the website, preoccupiedterritory. Today's example spoofs US State Department's Middle East experts who call for 'democracy' in the Middle East--and then attack Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. 

How can one satirize such hypocrisy? Here's how (I've done some editing to fit my format): 

State Dept. Had Been Hoping For *DEMOCRATIC* Genocidal Mideast States

Diplomats had hoped the region could transition from iron-fisted rule by hereditary dictatorships to iron-fisted rule by democratically-elected governments.

Washington, March 29 – With the release of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from prison today, staffers as the US Department of State voiced disappointment at the denouement of the vaunted Arab Spring, and confessed they had been looking forward to ridding the Middle East of despotic, genocidal regimes and facilitating their replacement with democratic, genocidal regimes.
Mubarak was ousted in early 2011 and subsequently put on trial for presiding over brutal military suppression of the protests that eventually led to his resignation. Elections brought a Muslim Brotherhood candidate to the helm, but continued social unrest led to another coup that brought a military general to power in 2013. 

During the early days of the Arab Spring, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and Morocco, to varying degrees, saw popular protests that led to outright uprisings. These bloody revolts sparked hope among locals and foreign diplomats that the region could transition from iron-fisted rule by hereditary dictatorships to iron-fisted rule by democratically-elected governments.

Many had a vision that, at last, dictator-inspired genocide would be replaced by democracy-inspired genocide.
That vision, however, failed to pan out. Mostly, the existing regimes simply crushed the uprisings or continue to wage civil wars that have transitioned not to democracy but to bloody proxy fights among Islamists, Iran, and the Sunni states of the Persia Gulf. The death toll in Syria alone has reached into the hundreds of thousands, leading policymakers at the State Department to lament the lost potential of a regional sociopolitical movement that could have brought to power democratic leaders to perpetrate all those atrocities and mass murders instead.
“It’s nothing short of a shame,” grieved Aidan Anabetten of the Middle East and North Africa Section. “Syrian dictator Basher Assad bears ultimate responsibility for close to half-a-million deaths and the displacement of millions, in the process committing every kind of crime against humanity and violations of the laws of armed conflict. The Saudi-Houthi-Irani conflict over Yemen has also cost tens of thousands of lives, not to mention the ongoing horrors of the Islamic State, Al- Qaeda, and myriad other tyrannical entities all over the region. Imagine what it could have been like to have those policies and crimes committed by democratic countries instead – can’t you just sense that things would be different?”
Anabetten and his colleagues took some measure of comfort, however, in noting that there was still one democratic nation in the midst of the chaos that could be counted on to face accusations of tyranny, apartheid, and overall evil. “Thank goodness we still have Israel to blame – I don’t know how we would form a coherent world view otherwise.”
Somehow, the US State Department would be a lot more honest if it had actually written these words--because, some might argue, this satire is exactly how State thinks about both the Arab Middle East and Israel. As it is, we've got to rely on satirists to show us what the US State Department really means when it speaks about democracy in the Middle East.
Maybe the road to truth-in-the-Middle-East is through satire, not diplomacy. Is that possible? We'll stay on top of this thought, to see where it leads.

More next week.

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