Monday, March 23, 2009

"Capital of Arab Culture"

This year, the Arabs have declared Jerusalem to be the "Capital of Arab Culture." Previous cities to have this honor were Cairo, Tunis, Sharjah, Beirut, Riyadh, Kuwait, Amman, Rabat, Sanaa, Khartoum, Masqat, Algiers, and Damascus.

But this year they are making a big deal over the selection of Jerusalem and, not surprisingly, they are turning it into a political event rather than a cultural event. Their official website has as many articles about Palestinian Arab issues in general as it has about Jerusalem itself.

The logo itself uses political imagery to make it appear as if Jerusalem is behind barbed wire, while it also resembles Lisa Simpson's hairstyle:

The site also unintentionally reveals the fear that Arabs have about the Jewish connection to Jerusalem - by completely ignoring it. The words "Judaism" or "Jews" do not exist on the website. On the contrary, on this site you will find pages like this one, still under construction:
Their whitewashing of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem proves their own tenuous connection to the city. After all, Jews in Jerusalem don't deny its importance to Islam, because they are secure in knowing that Jerusalem is indeed the capital of the Jewish nation and has been for thousands of years. But the Arabs - both Christian and Muslims - cannot bring themselves to even admit that perhaps Jews have a history in the city as well.

Their denial betrays their discomfort.