Saturday, October 04, 2008

In the Name of Hezbollah: Al-Manar TV

Written by Damian Penny (Link)
Published October 04, 2008

Say what you will about Al-Manar, but you cannot accuse the Beirut-based TV channel of having a hidden agenda...
...Al-Manar makes no bones about the fact that it serves to promote the interests of its patron: Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed, rabidly anti-Israel militia which has established a de facto fiefdom in much of Lebanon. In the documentary In the Name of Hezbollah: Al-Manar TV, one station employee is asked whether Hezbollah's guns or its TV programs are more effective at fighting the hated Israelis. "The clips help the gun," he responds.

In the Name of Hezbollah, originally made for French television (and presented on DVD with English subtitles) was made with surprising cooperation from Al-Manar and its employees, and it's deeply unnerving to see the channel's modern equipment and skilled, professional-looking staff making loaded, often blatantly anti-Semitic propaganda...

Israeli victims are also occasionally shown, but only with Hebrew subtitles informing the "Zionists" that they cannot defeat Hezbollah and the Palestinians. Still, the Palestinians and Lebanese make up the bulk of Al-Manar's audience, and while some viewers dismiss the channel as one-sided propaganda (one Palestinian says the Israeli TV networks have better news coverage), it has found a very devoted audience.
In the Name of Hezbollah is not a perfect documentary - in particular, the film grinds to a halt when a French academic is dragged in to point out things the viewer will already have noticed - but it is an eye-opening look at how Islamic extremists are spreading their message. Outside of the Middle East, Al-Manar has created controversy wherever satellite TV providers have made it available, but a part of me wonders whether people in the West should be encouraged to watch the station, so we can see what Hezbollah and its allies really stand for.


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