Red, White and Black

Lifting the Fog
22 March, 2006, 10:25 pm
Filed under: general, Islam

Today, I had the chance to watch a documentary on the Middle East. The documentary entitled “Lifting the Fog” primarily focused on the Palestinian problem. But it also looked at the genesis of the Western interests in the Middle East. I found it to be a very impartial take on the events starting from the late 19th Century into the late 20th Century.
It cleverly exposes the exploitative mentality of the colonial powers initially and points out how the power game played in the Middle East during the 1920’s is not much different from the power equations of today. You would find the same ideas floating in the comments and speeches of the world leaders of then and the world leaders of now. It shows the amazing consistency of the Western powers to bleed the Middle East for oil. Little facts stood out. Like the fact that the first oil pipeline set up in the Middle East in 1941 – the IPC was 94% foreign owned. Like the fact that as soon as the Iranian Mussadiq nationalised the Iranian petroleum plants, he was assassinated by the CIA. Like the fact that the Palestinians were willing to live in a multi-religious, a multi-cultured, democratic and a ‘whole’ Palestine. This meant co-existence with the Christians and the immigrant Jews. But guess who didn’t want that to happen and why? Like the fact that Nasser was assassinated too when he started too independent a stance – when it looked like he could counter the Western interests in the region.

What is abundantly clear after viewing the documentary is that the Middle Eastern politics are mapped by three things:

  • the indirect control of the Middle Eastern states by the Western powers. Heck, half of them are rentier states.
  • the oil factor. cheap and abundant.
  • israel – the watchdog of the region

This documentary is a must watch for those whole believe that all that is wrong with the Middle East is because of Islam and the fact that they are Muslim states. Comes as highly recommended.


2 Comments so far
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I will definitely try to get hold of this one.

There is another documentary I viewed at Princeton last year titled, ‘ Crossing the Lines”. Its a documentary by Pervez Hoodbhoy and Zia Mian, and produced for the Eqbal Ahmad Foundation. Both Zia and Pervez are eminent figures in academia; Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy has a Ph.D in nuclear physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has been a faculty member at the Department of Physics, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad since 1973; Dr. Zia Mian is a physicist and member of the research staff at Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security that focuses on nuclear weapons and nuclear power issues, especially in South Asia.
This documentary was enlightening in many ways. One major one being that it provided a possible solution ( an economic one at that!) to the strained relations between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue! This is how Dr. Zia Mian introduces this documentary:
“Nationalism and religion have entangled the fate of Kashmiris, Pakistanis and Indians for over 5 decades. After four wars, Kashmiris and their land are divided between Pakistan and India, the source of recurring crises. Many feel that the next war may be a nuclear war. In this tragedy, each side tells the story of the injustice and violence of the other, and feels only the suffering of their own. This path-breaking independent documentary film, made in Pakistan, challenges us to look at Kashmir with new eyes and to hope for a new way forward.”
I would strongly recommend it to anyone who seeks to see the issue with a different lens.

Comment by I Me My

IdItIs, I have heard a lot about this documentary as well. But unfortunately, have never had the chance to watch it. Will definitely keep an eye out for it.

Comment by ayesha

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