Anti-Daeshism in Television: From Mediocre to Meaningful

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Thu 14 September / Sep 2017. 12:00 AM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

A report in the “Asharq al-Awsat” newspaper on the Daesh problem, by Tariq Shannawi, shed light on an important and complex issue in Arab drama and television. Especially series highlighting the questions of extremism and terrorism.

The Arab media ridiculed, dwarfed the problem, in an unequivocally naïve way; trivialised it!

Meanwhile, the West has been producing movies, series, and documentaries with a far deeper, more thorough approach to the problems of extremism and terrorism.

The family series, which was recently aired in Britain, Shannawi says, was based on date collected over nearly a year and a half of research.

In the meantime, the Egyptian cinema produced two mediocre, comic films on the topic; “Qarmouti Ala Khat al Nar” and “Daadoush”.

Personally, I have seen neither one of them, but Shannawi said they were budget films, lacking any sort of background research or scientific effort!

Not long ago, I went to see another movie on Daesh and extremism, and convinced a friend to come.

He, my friend, left in the middle of the movie to watch another movie, due to the silliness of production.

Sadly, it all shows how lightly our media takes us, the audience.

Many of you remember the series I told you about, in Ramadan, which was packing with propaganda and trivialisation.

In a similar setting, these comic movies attempt to simplify the problem, while in reality they just reflect the deterioration of the movie scene across the Arab World.

Mediocre is the least of all the words I can think off to describe this new low in arts and culture.

Perhaps the only film which doesn’t fit this criteria, and could be viewed with far more appreciation is Hind Sabri’s “Flower of Aleppo”.

The well-written movie features a story of a Tunisian youth who leaves for Syria, and his mother follows him.

This, at least, entailed some research and has a respectable plot that does not underestimate its viewers!

In Jordan, we should have a drama series focused on Jordanians who joined extremist and terrorist organisation in Iraq and Syria.

Or maybe we can shed light on Jordanians in peril to join such groups here, especially since extremism noticeably grown in Jordan.

There are thousands of stories, between youths in Jordan and others who went to Syria and Iraq.

Through our work at the JU’s Strategic Studies Centre, documenting the progress of Salafi Jihadist currents in Jordan, we’ve come across dozens of Jordanian stories.

Many of these stories talk about Jordanian youths who left to join ISIS and Nusra, many killed there.

Other stories shed light on the effects of spreading extremism on society and families

In fact, the stories we have are suitable for not just one drama series, but many, not to mention novels and movies.

Arts, drama, movies, theatre, and novels, are an effective cultural mechanism in the face of rising extremism.

They is far more effective than any plan or strategy to counter extremism and terrorism, if they are to be done right.

It could be a documentary or a movie, so long as it is constructed right and presented in an appeal to the audience.

Nonetheless, the problem is that the official mentality neither realises nor accepts this.

The fact is that the official institution has been the greatest hurdle to our research endeavour, at the Strategic Studies Centre.

From withholding information to restraining access to data, the official and public device goes to ends unfathomable to keep this “sensitive topic” from being addressed properly.

As sensitive as the state deems it, the amount of information stored in the oblivion beyond our access could be extremely beneficial, if put to good use!

This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.