Tuesday, February 17, 2015


By Mansor Puteh

What is happening in Europe, the west and America is reminiscent of what happened in America in the 1960s when the Blacks formed the Black Panther and SLA parallel to the movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King.

The Black Panther and Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) were a radical and militant Black Power movement which had also gained the support of some American athletes; two of whom wore a black glove when they received their medals in the Olympics.

But they these underground groups did not get the credits due to them all of which were given to one person – Dr. Martin Luther King who now has a day in the American calendar named after him, other than some roads and also a concrete statue in his liking near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.

The Black Power movement had to kidnap the daughter of American media magnate, Randolph Hearst, before they were taken seriously.

It was unfortunate that this kidnapping had to happen before America came to their senses.

And it was also unfortunate for Australia, France, Belgium and also America had to experience similar calamities by small groups and other individual Arab or Muslim radicals who fashioned themselves as the Black Panthers or SLA members, but how far those countries would come to their senses, is yet to be seen.

Cartoonists, especially some French ones can also be terrorists who like to use their pens as arms to terrorist a very large group of people in the world with about six of them living in France.

The saying: ‘pen is mightier than the sword’ holds true in this case.

When will France start to treat their cartoonists as terrorist?

The cartoons created by the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo did not wish to satirize anymore; they wanted to go beyond that, by terrorizing the Arabs and Muslims.
I can see how a discourse on the need for the creation of the New Muslim Cinema by the Muslim World can indeed cause Arab and Muslim anger and emotions to be pacified and expressed more creatively without them being spilled on the streets.
I hope such a discourse can be organized at OXCIS or any university in the United Kingdom or America.
The problems faced may not be political but merely sociological and psychological and creative or cinematic. 
I was a member of the international observers' team monitoring the Syrian Presidential election of 3 June last year.

I have been to forty countries and attending international film festivals, forums, seminars and conferences.

I presented a paper, 'Muslim Cinema as an antithesis to Hollywood' in the First International Muslim Filmmakers' Conference in Tehran, Iran in February, 1994. If the proposals I have in this paper had been implemented by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) or the American government, Arab Spring and the carnage that we have seen since then till now would not have happened.

Hollywood must be more accommodative and from them the films they come up with can help shape the new world especially and to promote better goodwill amongst many especially the Arab and Muslim World and the West, or America.

Early Hollywood silent films had Arab sheikhs as the lead heroes - they were the romantic heroes of the day. Remember Rudolf Valentino who died young and the whole f America cried. Here is the poster of the film he first starred in called 'The Sheikh'.

So if there is going be any effort to promote world peace, to fight terrorism and to establish greater security, then surely, it is prudent to also look at the cinema and how it had caused so much dissent and dissatisfaction amongst many especially those whose who are not Americans and amongst Americans who are not white.

Blacks in America had been pacified when Hollywood embraced them, and it is just the cinema that can put things right.

If Imam Khomeini had not decreed that creating the New Iranian Cinema to be acceptable in Islam and if Iran today does not have such a cinema, then surely, the whole of Iran would be turned upside down long ago.

Even in Malaysia when we had the Old Malayan Cinema then based in Singapore, there was peace amongst the people of the three major races - Melayu, Chinese and Indians.

However, when Singapore broke off or was pushed out of the Federation of Malaysia in 1965, and the Old Malayan Cinema collapsed, there were a major racial riots called the May 13, 1969 riots, when the Melayu, Chinese and Indians started to watch films that were made by the filmmakers from their respective races with the Chinese and Indians getting them from Hong Kong and India.

Pakistan turned upside down months after the Pakistani government banned a traditional folk art performances from being performed, which had created a lot of understanding and diversion to the Pakistanis before, deeming them to be unIslamic, when they should have reshaped them to comply with Islamic values which is what Malaysia has done to some of the early folk art shows that entertained the people here.

And in the lacking in the New Muslim Cinema is what's causing the Arab and Muslim World to be so, and the Muslims are not able to appreciate each other's quirks and differences and diversity to create a better world for themselves, and in the consequences, their relations with the west and America too suffers.

Japan bought itself into Hollywood and hence into the hearts of America, despite the country and people having been condemned to becoming America's worst enemies after their attack on Pearl Harbor.

Only World Trade Center One or Freedom Tower has risen on the site of the Old World Trade Center, and not much else, world peace, etc.

The people of color have not been given such acceptance because Hollywood does not realize that they can come up with better works for the wider world if they know how to embrace diversity and views from many other filmmakers who are from other countries.

Ask yourself: Why is it that there are now more scholars in all fields and more universities and think tanks in all the Arab and Muslim countries including those in America and the west, yet, the world is not better than it was during the Stone Age?

Where are the think-tankers, philosophers and scholars and researchers?

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