A scandal for whom?

تم نشره في Tue 25 March / Mar 2014. 08:53 PM - آخر تعديل في Tue 25 March / Mar 2014. 08:53 PM

By Muhammad Aburumman

A journalist, known as Yousef, faced a relentless campaign during the past few days, after it was discovered that his article — published last week under the titled "Why doesn’t Putin care?" — is the same article of the Jewish writer, Ben Judah.

Yousef acknowledged the size of the mistake, and that he should refer to the source, from whom he has translated, with some editing. But what happened to him was a valuable opportunity for his opponents to attack him and abuse him, even some designed Twitter Hashtags for discussions, titled "Basem turned out to be a thieve!"

One cannot justify Yousef’s "sin"; today, he is one of the most important, popular, and controversial TV presenters, who is fighting a fierce battle on multiple fronts after he opened fire on the floundering Egyptian media, the behavior of the military, after he was critical of the rule of the “Muslim Brotherhood”. Yousef ought to have known that what he had done is unacceptable, from an ethical and professional point of view, and can be considered a "scandal”.

However, his last text (in the Egyptian newspaper Shorouk), where he declared he will stop writing temporarily, carries, in itself, high values and professionalism. It has a courageous and beautiful recognition of error and lack of arrogance. He refused to put forth any excuses, and even publicly apologized to the Egyptian public opinion, without trying to escape from the situation, ignore it, or downplay it.

The value of the text comes from the value of open and frank self-criticism, without any attempt to evade responsibility, despite the damage that it will cause. This culture needs to be learned in the Arab and Muslim world, because it is completely absent — not only on the media level, but even on social, political, and cultural levels.

Secondly, the value of the text stems from the value of ingraining the "culture of apology"; there is nothing wrong with that, whether from an official who misused his power, an academic who plagiarized a study or research, or a journalist who plagiarized an article from one of his colleagues. But unfortunately the culture does not exist in our daily lives.

This is not an attempt to justify or understate Yousef’s “sin”, but a reference to the importance of cultural and ethical behavior. If we look at his political opponents and the media who were attacking him, we should ask if they could admit to, or apologize for, their sins? Or even the crimes that deserve that they not only stop writing (as Yousef did to himself), but also spend jail time, but also literary exile?

The story is not about Yousef, as far as it opens the door to the question: If this culture (the culture of recognition and apology) was popular, how many media personality, academics, intellectuals and political officials owe an apology to the public? Have you heard in Jordan, for example, that — despite all the wrongs that have occurred — that someone apologized?

The scandal is not on Yousef who made ​​a mistake, but his beautiful text exposes those who do not recognize their mistakes or apologize for them.



This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition.