Bird’s Eye: We’ll start with a closeup, of the new Prime Minister of Egypt speaking to the people, not the media, in a way that seems impossible to imagine here. Then an overview by The Nation of the change in Arab perception, and what the implications are. And we end with an in-depth look at Al Jazeera, unquestionably one of the powerful forces pushing these changes.
Egypt’s new prime minister has called on thousands of cheering protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to rebuild the country and said he would step down if he failed to meet their demands. Essam Sharaf, appointed by the military, told the crowd: “I salute the martyrs. Glory and respect to the families of the victims and a special salute to everyone who took part and gave for this white revolution. I am here to draw my legitimacy from you. You are the ones to whom legitimacy belongs.” Sharaf was cheered and carried to and from the podium on the shoulders of protesters, escorted by military police.
* The Arab Spring The Nation
Suddenly, to be an Arab has become a good thing. People all over the Arab world feel a sense of pride in shaking off decades of cowed passivity under dictatorships that ruled with no deference to popular wishes. And it has become respectable in the West as well. Egypt is now thought of as an exciting and progressive place; its people’s expressions of solidarity are welcomed by demonstrators in Madison, Wisconsin; and its bright young activists are seen as models for a new kind of twenty-first-century mobilization. Events in the Arab world are being covered by the Western media more extensively than ever before and are being talked about positively in a fashion that is unprecedented. Before, when anything Muslim or Middle Eastern or Arab was reported on, it was almost always with a heavy negative connotation. Now, during this Arab spring, this has ceased to be the case. An area that was a byword for political stagnation is witnessing a rapid transformation that has caught the attention of the world.
Three things should be said about this sea change in perceptions about Arabs, Muslims and Middle Easterners. The first is that it shows how superficial, and how false, were most Western media images of this region
* TED Blog A historic moment in the Arab world: Wadah Khanfar
Wadah Khanfar, the head of Al Jazeera,shares a profoundly optimistic view of what’s happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and beyond — at this powerful moment when people realized they could step out of their houses and ask for change.
* Hillary Says Al Jazeera Is Better Mondoweiss
“Viewership of Al Jazeera is going up in the United States because it’s real news,” Hillary Clinton said Thursday. “You may not agree with it, but you feel like you’re getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and arguments between talking heads, and the kind of stuff that we do on our news, which is not particularly informative to us, let alone foreigners.”
…. Al Jazeera’s superiority is, to me, a matter of seeing, understanding, and perceiving at many levels that the vast majority of Americans typically cannot. Al Jazeera is emblematic of a more complex, contextualized understanding of life representing, for lack of better term, a third world or perhaps old world view.
In an effort to provide viewers with an authentic, first-person account of conditions on the ground in Libya, CNN news anchor Kyra Phillips conducted an exclusive, one-on-one interview Tuesday with the Al Jazeera news anchor who interviewed leaders of the uprising.