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الموقع تحت الإنشاء

النسخة التجريبية من موقع النهضة العربية (أرض)

Yusuf Mansour: We Must Activate the Role of Arab Communities in the West So They Have an Effective Impact on Activism and Advocacy


“What is happening now is very different from what it was yesterday, so a strong response to the challenges posed by the current reality is required. Dealing with these challenges by Arab communities in the West with outdated tools will not enable them to face these challenges, and it is important to find modern mechanisms and use them consciously.”

These words were the “key to diagnosis” with which economist and former Minister of State for Economic Affairs, Dr. Yusuf Mansour, began his speech during the seminar “Arabs in the West: Roles and Challenges”, held by the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD), on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, in an attempt to assess the situation of Arab communities in the West, especially with what is happening in Palestine today.

In the seminar, which comes within the framework of the Palestinian Cause, and within the first group of a series of seminars held successively to follow up, record, and document the developments of the war, Mansour stressed that we must activate the role of Arab communities in the West so they can have an effective impact on activism and advocacy there, indicating that hate speech against Arabs and Muslims has deepened and has been steadily increasing during the current period, which means more violations, acts of violence, and incitement against them.

Addressing the issue of the influence of Western media on the region, Mansour pointed out that the largest media channels and newspapers in the world are controlled by individuals of Israeli and American origin, which confirms the Western world’s utilization of all its means and tools to deliver its messages and voice to influence public opinion.

Mansour made it clear that the influence of the Israeli media is not new, but it has been increasing significantly and rapidly over the last couple of decades, saying that “It is no secret that many Palestinian and Arab media outlets allocate lots of space for what is circulated in the Hebrew media, which seem more influential and credible than others, whether it comes to Israeli or even Palestinian issues.”

Furthermore, Mansour went on to explain that “Stereotypes about Arabs have existed for a long time,” citing Edward Said’s book Orientalism, which states that this phenomenon dates back to the days of the ancient Greeks, where “the Orientals were considered the others.”

According to Mansour, no matter how powerful the Western media may be, it will not reach the point where the world is convinced that the greatest injustice is somewhere else in the world other than Palestine, which in return requires strong and influential Arab media to convey the image clearly to Western peoples and Arabs alike.

For her part, CEO of ARDD, Samar Muhareb, explained in her speech, which was based on a published global research, that “institutions supporting the occupation work on many levels to convey their voice and image to the world, including building current and  future generations, building a myth in the minds of their citizens, paying attention to diplomatic, economic, and cultural affairs, and focusing on the media, public relations, policymaking, as well as investment.”

Moreover, Muhareb stressed that Arabs have many potentials that they must focus on, including increasing their knowledge, documenting the Palestinian struggle, reviewing policies and legislation, working institutionally and not individually among all parties to increase their development, and having decision-makers listen to the voices and proposals of young generations and utilizing them properly.

In conclusion, the participants in the seminar concluded that changing the West’s perception of Arabs requires huge and real efforts to confront it. On the other hand, the Arab and Western sides need now more than ever to forcefully confront their ignorance of each other.  Therefore, according to the participants, just as the security, stability, and attainment of the rights of our peoples depend on changing the policies of Western governments towards us, so does part of the security of Western societies depend on reforming the conditions of our societies and our countries, as well as reforming their educational systems and their economic and social policies.