The US Hindered from Bettering its Image - 25 December, 2002

At the end of 2003, the US leadership found out the country image in the opinion of the world community should be bettered. As for Europe, it is no time to think about it. The White House administration is especially concerned about the Arab world. The country which is preparing for the military conflict in Iraq needs allies, and first of all in Muslim countries.

To better its image, the US invents different means, including direct once, which are understandable even for Americans, for example TV advertising. Though, there are already some obstacles in this direct way. State television of Lebanon intended not to show “social advertising” devoted to wonderful life of US Muslims. Arabs living in the US gladly explain in the reels, how wonderful it is to live in America. They say Islam is held in high respect in the US.

Among people who act in the advertising films, there is a former Lebanon citizen who now has his own bakery in the US,  the head of US National Health Institute born in Algeria, a Palestine woman who now teaches children in a US school, and others.

The Lebanon information minister, Gazi Aridi, however, from some far-fetched reasons, suppressed the reels. According to him, these advertising pauses do not correspond with reality. While the reality is, Lebanon information functionaries suppose, that Muslims do not feel well in the US, especially after September 11.

Aridi said he could not permit these reels to the television, when reports arrive from the US about pressure upon Arabs and Muslims. The Lebanon minister is especially indignant at the fact that Americans finger-print every Arab entering the country. And Muslims hardly can feel better, as only newly arriving Muslims are finger-printed, without finger-printing that ones who constantly live in the US.

A worker of the US embassy called the Lebanon authority activities “disappointing.” At least, that are non-political reels which show the live of average Muslims in the US. But, is there something which is out of politics now? Americans, especially that ones, who live in the Arab wold, have to console themselves with they being considered as “people of the system.” The system, whose values are supported not by all Arabs. And the question is not only about Arabs.

The reels are prepared by US Muslim Council for Understanding. The Lebanese did not understand them. According to Aridi, the advertising just intensifies the impression of the anti-Muslim discrimination in the US. He teaches Americans what to do to “polish” their image.
Advertising reels are not enough for it. They should take measures to persuade Arabs and Muslims of their sincere aspiration to establish peace in the region and to annihilate weapon of mass destruction.

Though, Americans did not account on such kind of “persuasion,” while preparing their advertising reels. They could be glad: the Lebanese will see the reels, for they will be shown by the satellite channel, which belongs to Prime Minister Rafik Khariri. So, this what they call “united state policy.”

In an advertising reel, an organizer of the Islam Academy in Toledo says he was never disturbed after the 11 September events, moreover, he felt being supported by average Americans.

The “Lebanese mistake” showed to Americans, they should introduce some changes into their advertising campaign, which would be attractive for Arabs: at least, let us say, they should throw away their Iraqi war plans and to an advertising film about it. Any information minister would not suppress it.

Sergei Borisov

Translated by Vera Solovieva

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov