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January 1999
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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:

" 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, D.C. 20036

The following are among the messages we have received over New Years in just the past day since our previous message:

"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.

For latest MER Update Click Here to Listen or call 202 333-5000, 7097500#.

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