Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Now the Arabic media is mocking Al Qaeda...

Articles Mocks Al-Qa'ida Media Image, Says Viewers Tired of Tapes' 'Monotony'

Well, now the Arabic language media is mocking Bin Laden and Zawahiri. This is an interesting article from Sharq al Awsat:

Article by Dayana Muqallad:

"Al-Qa'ida Organization and the Imagination Behind the Images"

Al-Sharq al-Awsat

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The latest videotape by the number-two man in Al-Qa'ida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in which he blessed what he called "conquest of London and its sisters," has not succeeded in stealing our attention nor moving much in our imagination, unlike what those videotapes used to do a few years ago. Despite the fact that this videotape and the words that Al-Zawahiri uttered on it appeared on the front pages and occupied first place on Al-Jazirah's newscasts for many, many hours, this type of propaganda for Al-Qa'ida has started to become monotonous for our imagination and our viewing, to the extent that the tapes make us feel more bored and fed up, rather than stirring the emotions they want us to feel.

The appearance of Usamah Bin-Ladin himself no longer has the impact that it used to have before and after the New York and Washington attacks. Here, one may start wondering with derision as one follows Al-Zawahiri's tape, at least visually (because one's mind may wander as a result of one's boredom) that perhaps Bin-Ladin and his clique should meet and decide what to do about their image in the media, which has retracted to an extent that has become almost pitiful.

Bin-Ladin's very few appearances on the videotape and his tired features blend in well with the reports that spoke about his sickness and poor health.

This is the person who was keen on appearing fighting fit, donning ammunition and weapons, prancing around on his horse, or showing off his cleverness to a Western journalist by conducting an interview with a map behind him, only to announce years later that the map in that picture bore one of the locations targeted by his organization in bloody attacks.

There is no doubt that Bin-Ladin showed a clear infatuation with his own image before the world, particularly before the Western world, which prompted many to compare Bin-Ladin with Che Guevara, especially the fact that both of them were quite taken by their own images. It seems that the Al-Qa'ida leader has decided to substitute his image, which no longer conveys the image he aspires to convey, by repeatedly showing his aide Al-Zawahiri. But this is nothing more than a garbled repetition of the same old message, only this time it has lost all its power of attraction.

If one lets his imagination run away with him, then perhaps one can think about the image of Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, who is now the new Al-Qa'ida star, the inspiration for the suicide bombers and for his fans. He is the one whose crimes have sent shivers down the spine of the whole world, while those who like him demand more of them. However, despite the narcissism Bin-Ladin displays, Al-Zarqawi displays a hatred of his own image. Or at least, this is the feeling we get. The few images of Al-Zarqawi that have been shown have revealed a restless and worried figure, given the way he looks at the camera and his reluctance to appear before it.

If it is proved that he is the one who appeared in some of the clips where the throats of foreigners in Iraq were being slit on screen, which the extremists' sites have been bragging that Al-Zarqawi himself carried out, then we would be confronting a different kind of image that Al-Zarqawi links himself to, since he believes perhaps that his image is forbidden (from being shown) unless it is for some throat-slitting here or killing there.

Perhaps Al-Zarqawi's emergence on the videotape constitutes an earthquake that could break the visual monotony of the current scenes from which Al-Qa'ida is suffering.

What has just been said is not praise for the image. Rather, it is speculation about its significance.

(Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat in Arabic -- Influential Saudi-owned London daily providing independent coverage of Arab and international issues; editorials reflect official Saudi views on foreign policy)



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