When it comes to America, most people from various parts of the world agree on two things, they all like the American films, and they all dislike the American foreign policy.
At least that holds as true in the Arab world and the whole Middle East with an exception of a small and a new state in the region namely, Israel.
The United States has managed through the film industry to infiltrate the minds, capture the imagination of millions of young people in the Arab world with the American dream-plot repeated over and over again.
People used to identify America with the movie stars especially the big names in the action movie genre which began to develop in the 1970s.
By the way, Egypt is one of the pioneer countries in regard to the cinema industry worldwide; it is one of the leading cinemas in the Arab world, enjoys a good distribution in the Middle East. But still can’t beat the American at their game of action played by a list of big names in the American cinema.
The list included many names among them Bruce Willis as john McClain in the Die Hard series, Sylvester Stallone as Rambo and Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan or better known as Dirty Harry in Magnum Force.
Arab teens even used to memorize by heart some of the lines written for those famous characters, like the memorable one in the 1973 film ” magnum force ” when dirty harry reacts by saying “nothing wrong with shooting as long as the right people get shot” .
A strong quote indeed, befitting not only Harry Callahan but most of the American action film heroes, for they are often portrayed as sharp, smart, focused and with an eye on the real traitorous enemy.
Those heroes were invulnerable and undefeated; they reflected a powerful and righteous aspect of America in the viewer’s mind. That’s why the Arab teens like to go to the movies and watch American films and they even prefer to have dinner afterwards at MacDonald’s.
So the American films managed to sort of – Americanize – the Arab teens, dazzle and reconcile with them, something that the American foreign policy failed at time and time again.
And it`s not the American foreign policy in general that we`re talking about, but rather the one implemented in the Mideast. Most Arabs don`t follow the international news updates, but they keep good eye on the news of American foreign policy in the middle east simply because it is the policy that takes shape and place in their backyard.
Basically As I said before, the Arabs and especially the young generation don`t hold any grudge against Americans, but look upon the U.S biased policy towards Israel as not only reprehensible but also unfair.
Israel often reiterates and reminds everybody specifically the Arab countries with its unbreakable bond with America, in a way that made the Arabs view both America and Israel as two sides to the same coin.
Palestine to Arabs is not just another neighbor state, but rather an occupied Arab land where Palestinians are being subjected to hostile and systematic cleansing by the Israelis in one of the most cruel genocide acts known to man in modern times .
And by the law of the two-sided coin, America found itself as the perfect partner and accomplice to the impeccable atrocities committed in Palestine. And deservingly earned its share of the Arab resentment and anger.
That is where the American foreign policy went wrong in regard to the Middle East, and the picture got darker and darker with the invasion of Iraq.
Arab People couldn’t figure out what “Dirty Harry” was doing in Baghdad, and seemingly Dirty Harry himself had no idea what he was up to in that big Arab country. Maybe he didn’t read the signs or somebody must have misinformed him.
At Least in the film he shot the right people and at the end managed to discover the traitorous accomplice.
And that is why Arabs liked him better in the movie!
Ashraf Ezzat is an Egyptian born in Cairo and based in Alexandria. He graduated from the faculty of Medicine at Alexandria University.
Keen not to be entirely consumed by the medical profession, Dr. Ezzat invests a lot of his time in research and writing. History of the ancient Near East and of Ancient Egypt has long been an area of special interest to him.
In his writings, he approaches ancient history not as some tales from the remote times but as a causative factor in our existing life; and to him, it’s as relevant and vibrant as the current moment.
In his research and writings, Dr. Ezzat is always on a quest trying to find out why the ancient wisdom had been obstructed and ancient spirituality diminished whereas the Judeo-Christian teachings and faith took hold and prospered.
Dr. Ezzat has written extensively in Arabic tackling many issues and topics in the field of Egyptology and comparative religion. He is the author of Egypt knew no Pharaohs nor Israelites.
In 2013 his short The Pyramids: story of creation was screened at many international film festivals in Europe. And he is working now on his first documentary “Egypt knew no Pharaohs nor Israelites”.