Orientalism is simply the representation of the Arab world in a prejudiced way that is considered an embodiment of the colonialist perspective. The repertory of Orientalism is a collection of information relevant to the orient of the west to the Middle East. Professor Edward W. Said addresses the issue of the West viewing the Middle East from a restrained perspective that distorts the factual reality of the inhabitants of the Middle East. The film “On Orientalism” presents precise example of Orientalism through the repertoire of images, which, illustrate the Middle East as having sensual women, sexual secrets and monsters. This repertoire of images is only a consistency of Orientalism that has no accurate relevance to the actual Orient. Professor Edward W. Said emphasizes that the descriptions and art works produced by great artists such as, Gerald De Nerval Edward W. Lane were taken as the objective knowledge about the Middle East. According to Professor Edward W. Said, all the Orientals were similar hence; Orient never develops thus a contradiction to the facts of history. The theme of Orientalism and empire is rooted in the reasons used to justify the colonization of the East by the European imperial powers. The launch of the war against terrorism by the U.S has been associated with affirmative terms such as “root out evil” especially during the reign of President George W. Bush to emphasize on the great military effort to restore sanity in the East. Thus, the East is portrayed as barbaric, evil and dangerous hence the U.S followed suit after the European imperial powers to launch military efforts in the Middle East (wings.buffalo.edu).
The American Orientalism is rooted in American, foreign policy mainly influenced by political and economic interests in the East. The American Orientalism features along the theme of barbaric stereotypes of the Middle East inhabitants. For instance, President Bush’s speech after the September 2001 New York attack by the Al-Qaeda he expressed his notion of the Middle East. President George W. Bush posed the rhetoric, “why do they hate us?” still in his speech, president Bush asserted “they hate our freedoms, our freedom of speech, freedom to, freedom of religion and freedom to assemble.” The U.S views the Middle East with the notion that it is a terror region with the mission of disrupting peace and stability of the American people. Modern America experiences challenging diplomatic relations with the Middle East that began in the twentieth century demonizing the Muslims and Arabs as anti-western terrorists (wings.buffalo.edu).
Orientalism today is depicted in the mass media, which gives a prejudiced representation of the Middle East. Since colonialism, the west has had misconceptions about the Middle East that are inevitably persistent in the modern world. Western journalists contribute most to modern Orientalism since they have preconceived notions about the East, they conduct hasty interviews in the Arab world to cover a story without effective research to avoid bias. In the modern world, majority of the Muslim population would support that most distortions of Islam world is from newspapers, television and magazines. The distorted information about the Islamic world disseminated by the media carries along with it the Western view of the Middle East not the facts about it. The western understanding of Islam is a distortion that reduces Islam to the ideas of polygamy, fanaticism and fatalism. The colonialism of the Middle East introduced the western influence to the Islamic world, which is still effective even today. The west influences the economic activities of the Middle East through financial institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which were founded by the West to nature the western values of capitalism in the Islamic countries (wings.buffalo.edu).
The Oklahoma City bombing is quintessentially a guiding experience of how the West has a misunderstanding of the Middle East as a terrorist region. Professor Edward W. Said gives an account of his personal experience in which, the media had an interest to interview him when the attack occurred since he is an Arab. The main interest was to find out whether he had information beforehand regarding the attack, which was assumed to have originated from the Middle East. The media, especially the London Sunday Times portrayed racist phrases. For instance, the attack was described as “match made in Mecca”. Said explores the impact of Orientalism in the production of information on a restrained framework that ignorant of the diversity of the Islamic world. Furthermore, the Oklahoma City bombing was not Middle East attack. In fact, the attack was reported to be from a deep-seated Christian origin. The Palestine question is another intriguing aspect of how the orientalist trend by the West has created an ideal middle east in modern Orientalism. The media coverage of Palestinian people gives a distorted image of Palestine, which depicts its inhabitants as irrational, unreasonable and violent people. The practice of irresponsible journalism by the Western media thrusts the stone throwing brand on Palestine as violent country.
The question about Palestine generalizes the Middle East as a violent region. The impact of this stereotyping overlooks the reality that there is violence in the Middle East as any other place. The misrepresentation of the Middle East progresses due to lack of information policy to give the true picture of Arab countries. The western media and politicians claim that peace could be restored in Palestine only if they would do away stone throwing violence. The Western powers would like an ideal Palestine, which in their value would abide by the western culture to suit modernization. The coverage of the Palestine in funeral by the media depicts their culture practice which the West detest contrary to the Israel modern western, familiar morning in a black suit which they deem acceptable. Both Palestine and Israel are different since Israel is an ally of the West while Palestine is an Islamic rooted country that the West is interested in conquering ideologically. The Western media coverage of Palestine revolves around the odds lifestyle of Palestine giving the impression that the Palestine should strive to achieve the western culture. For instance, the West would like Palestine to fight in the army not militiamen and suicide bombers. The fact that a western journalist posted the question whether stone throwing is a bad brand for Palestine is simply the Orientalism today due to irresponsible journalism. Instead of appreciating the Islamic culture and diversity, the western powers seek to conquer the Islamic world ideological like in a scenario whereby Palestine is juxtaposed with Israel (wings.buffalo.edu).
The video is a great presentation the work of Edward W.Said on Orientalism. The video covers a wide range of topics interrelated on the issue of Orientalism. This is one among the strengths, which makes it recommendable for other viewers with an academic interest in Orientalism. First, the video introduces the viewer to critical fields of study such as postcolonial theory, which emerged due to Orientalism. The video gives the viewer a detailed account of how the west views the Middle East from a prejudiced perspective that distorts the actual of the inhabitants of the Middle East. The personal experience of Said regarding Orientalism is a major of this video expressing the misrepresentation of the Middle East. Said raises the concern of the 1973 war in which the media portrayed Israel as cowardly, less acquainted with fighting. The misrepresentation concisely covers the disparity of what the west perceived the middle to be with the reality of what being an Arab is. The video has quite reliable repertoire of images about the Middle East which offers an explanation why the middle appears the way it does from a western perspective. Given the detailed information the video contains, it is mandatory to declare it a must watch for other viewers (wings.buffalo.edu).
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