"I feel Al Jazeera English is a reliable source of information, and I think what they are offering is a perspective from the Middle East region, but the professionalism of the reports, including on [lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans] topics, has global standards," says Hossein Alizadeh, Middle East and North Africa program coordinator at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)."Gay activist El Farouk Khaki"--now where have I heard that name before? Oh yeah, it was here:
Gay activist El-Farouk Khaki says Al Jazeera English's entry into Canada is good news for the representation of queers in media.
"What we suffer from is invisibility in Canada within the larger Muslim community," says Khaki. "Some of the more traditional, conservative groups do not recognize our existence."
Al Jazeera English regularly reports on gay issues. In recent months, its coverage included segments about the gruesome murders of close to 100 gay men by al Mahdi Shi'ite militias in Iraq in 2009, the killing of gay youths in a Tel Aviv club last summer and India's court decision to decriminalize gay sex.
But Al Jazeera's Arabic network "is not interested in covering gay rights issues the way Al Jazeera English does," says Alizadeh. Comparing Al Jazeera Arabic with Al Jazeera English "is like comparing apples and oranges." Al Jazeera Arabic is geared towards a Middle Eastern audience and does not challenge cultural values or orthodox religion, he says.
On May 23, 2009, Khaki made the opening remarks at a Queers Against Israeli Apartheid event to "reignite Toronto’s queer community in the fight against apartheid". Shortly after, B'nai Brith condemned him and implied that he is "part and parcel of the anti-Israel machinery that continues to churn out hateful and divisive propaganda."
B'nai Brith executive vice-president Frank Dimant said Khaki should be subject to "disciplinary action" by Pride Toronto. Khaki is the 2009 parade grand marshal for Toronto's pride parade.Quel honor. I salute Mr. Khaki. Oh, not for his prize-winning float, which I'm sure was a beaut. No, I'd like to thank him for shedding light on a little discussed phenomenon--i.e., that you can be a bona fide "moderate" and still be every much an enemy of Israel as any fire-breathing radical.
In retort Khaki with his partner Troy Jackson formed the Human Positive foundation, an organization which stands for Justice, Freedom and Dignity for All peoples to speak above the "anything said in critic of Israel is antisemitism" propaganda movement. Khaki a Human Rights Activist believes that no country is above critique. As a result his Human+ Float was the recipient of Best Embodiment of the LGBTTIQQ2S award from Pride Toronto
In "honour" of float boy and A-J English's Canadian debut, I'm reviving one of my favorite parodies:
Come on, babe, why don’t we paint the news?
We’re gonna praise some ‘rabs
And then we’ll slam some Jews
Start your day with scenes of lots of gore
It’s sure to stir the blood and leave you wantin’ more.
But then we’ll say again
It’s just like CNN
Don’t you love those scenes from Palestine?
That ghastly Gaza stuff has gotta blow your mind.
Who’s to blame?
You know it’s hard to tell
If it’s America or if it’s Is-ra-el.
But you will never lose if you just blame the Jews
Oh, we’re first to scoop with those Osama tapes
Then it’s great to show you who decapitates
Poke some fun at Arab despots.
See who shows up in our guest spots:
Someone who you’ll wanna boo
Don’t you think it’s kind of like the Ceeb?
Oh, look, there's Avi L., who is our token Hebe.
Sure, we know that we cannot go far
Broadcasting Hockey Night in sunny, hot Qatar
Don Cherry--Mr. Big--ain’t gonna do that gig.
Oh, just tune us in and then turn off your brain
You will soon be hooked and singing this refrain
“Golly, it’s so good to see ya,
Better than al-Arabiya.
We’re so queer for al-Jazeer’
And all that jazz.”