M I D - E
A S T R E A L I T I E S and 1
9 9 9
In yesterday's letter it was a look
at the overall Middle East and media situation, in both the region and
in Washington, trying to put everything into better perspective and focus.
It was also a review of what MID-EAST REALITIES is all about, what we have
been able to do so far, and what uniquely positive reactions we have had
from so many people in so many places.
Now the new year is here. And in this
important year ahead what we are going to be able to do is up to all of
us collectively at this point. MER is already launched, already reaching
thousands of people around the world, and already known to some in the
"mainstream" media where we are giving a novel and credible alternative
address some have begun to use. But we are only just started and our impact
is in all candidness far too marginal, especially for such an important
historical time. We not only hope to change that, we think we all have
a responsibility to do so.
Precisely because we are so independent
and so hard-hitting our main limitation, now that we are already launched,
is financial support to keep going, improve and expand, and increase our
outreach and our influence. As we have been explaining for the past few
weeks, our own financial "realities" can't be avoided and are quite understandable.
There are reasons why there are so few worthwhile and independent organizations
and institutions dealing with issues relating to the Middle East. There
are reasons why the situation we all face is one where most of the information
from the mass media is terribly twisted, biased and at best inadequate.
There are reasons why the organizations we had in the past had some hopes
for are always so weak, so politically correct, so manipulated, and increasingly
"client organizations". There are reasons why we have so few credible sources
of truly insightful, penetrating and tough-minded information and analysis
that we can count on and be enthusiastic about. Yes, there are a few worthwhile
human rights and humanitarian relief organizations, but when it comes to
the hard and tough political and historical issues there are very few places
to turn. And that's why we think a graduate student in journalism at Columbia
University, Nadine Alfa, recently wrote us to ask how she could help and
to say that MER is:
"...an amazing and rare site. Rich
in content, information, and facts that so many other organizations would
prefer to hide or color for their own personal reasons. You have taken
over most of the media's responsibility in this country by becoming the
providers of important information, overlooked or purposefully ignored
by others, and relaying it an accurate, objective, and fair manner. I commend
you on such an effort. The work you have gathered is accurate and in depth,
putting everything in clear perspective. The truth hurts, but in the end
it is the truth... Congratulations..."
At the core of why things are the way
they are is the basic reality that the world of Middle East affairs is
now filled with institutions, personalities and commentators who are beholden
to the powers that be; who get their money and positions, in one way or
another, from the regimes, the business tycoons, the arms salesman, the
oil companies, and the lobbying and propaganda organizations that this
situation has spawned.
Not only is MER purposefully totally
independent from these interests -- though we know a great deal about them
-- but as we have become more effective and more hard-hitting, as we have
come onto the political and journalistic radar screens so-to-speak, some
of the above have started trying to undermine our efforts and quiet our
voice. That too, of course, is part of the "realities" of the Middle East
scene today. In some cases we become aware of the disingenuous disinformation
and the behind-the-backs knife throwing; in a few cases threats have been
made directly. But most importantly we try very hard to constantly maneuver
our way through this labyrinth, to not let these political minefields get
in our way, to not get sidetracked and never loose focus from the key issues,
and always to look under the rocks for what is really going on rather than
to the polished surface of things.
This then is the overall situation
in which your financial help is crucial at this time. We have only you,
independent and concerned people like yourselves, to turn to. With your
support we will be able not only to resume regular publication but to pursue
a more activist agenda involving more hard-hitting information, analysis,
and policy alternatives advocacy. Without it, very simply, we will not
be able to do so.
So please, if you have not done so
already, at this critical time when we are deciding what we should and
can do in this year just begun, please send your check made out to MER
this weekend to:
Mid-East Realities P.O. Box 18367 Washington,
The following are among the messages
we have received over New Years in just the past day since our previous
"I am very glad for the information
you provide, and accordingly am sending MER a check." John Alden Williams
The College of William & Mary
"Fund raising to resume "publication"?
If so, where does one send one's humble check?" Maurice Zeitlin Professor,
Department of Sociology University of California
And we urge all of you who have not
done so recently to visit our unique and now much-improved web site which
we will continue expanding and improving (and add a Search Engine) if your
financial support makes it possible for us to do so: http://www.MiddleEast.Org.