Well, how do I start this? must admit, I am a great fan of Oprah, what she did is amazing, I am refering to how she built her brand and grew a company from nothing, she conquered the world of chat shows, and made her image worth billions of dollars, and at the end of the 25 years she became the richest woman in America. A friend of mine never missed a show for Oprah, I did miss many of course, as I don’t have the time to watch TV. However, I had to watch the last show, and saw how her viewers and audience’s tears, why? Because she made a difference, she wasn’t playing on anybody’s emotions, she was uncovering hidden issues and forbidden situations.
Last week there was an article about Oprah in one of our local papers (http://gulfnews.com/arts-entertainment/celebrity/is-oprah-ignorant-of-the-middle-east-1.812300). I read the article few times, and took the cutting before the newspaper became a paper bag! The idea of accusing a woman of not knowing the middle eastern countries is something that is very sarcastic, more than that, it is ironic, as we the middle eastern do not know our culture, nor do we respect any human being in this world. It doesn’t matter if we follow a religion that asks each and every one of us to be forgiving to one’s neighbour, and helpful to his/her fellow human beings, but we do not do any of this, we think that we know it all, but in reality we are ignorant of our slightest feelings, and think of no one but in ourselves. So asking Oprah who helped millions of people in USA to know what we are, who we are, our culture and customs and traditions, and to know where we bring our money from, and where we spend it, how our social system is composed, and if at all we have a class system? How our rich people live, and how we deal with the poor people is a far cry aimed mainly to ourselves.
We have a saying in arabic “when the camel falls many claim his death”, I think this saying is very relevant here, as those that has nothing to say are all gathering now to put a dark side to Oprah. I liked her Questions to Zain Alsabah, in actual fact I still remember the giggles of Zain and Oprah when they were talking about the wealth and the designer bags. Of course if she had interviewed a poor person from the streets of Baghdad, the discussion would have been completely different. So what was discussed is a rich culture that some of us do encounter, the poor culture seems to be a shame in the middle east, for that reason we do not attempt to remove even though most of our Islamic teaching emphasise on removing poverty and better distribution of wealth. Hence, I feel that making Oprah opologise for something that we ourselves ignore is not warranted, I think she only did it so she doesn’t lose out on the millions that she will make from MBC.
What we need in the middle east is a good talk show like Oprah’s, where we disclose similar subjects or more as we do have many diseases that no other country has, but they are all undercover.
Maybe I should teach Oprah arabic, and let her live in one of the arab world countries to see for herself that the cord that she struck with the Americans is not so different to the one she will strike with us the Arabs. We live similar circumstances, and we have similar diseases, our rich are the same as their rich, and our poor are not worse off than their poor. We have it all baby, the drugs, alcohol, prostitution, White slaves, miscarriages, men with affairs, corruptions, conspiracy theories, bad medical treatments, conglomerates making their billions even though they provide consumers with substandard products or services. I am naming a few of our social factors. I will not dig more until Oprah learns Arabic.