Episode 4 of Julian Assange’s new TV series “World Tomorrow” features interviews with Egypt’s Alaa Abd El-Fattah and Bahrain’s Nabeel Rajab, two prominent Arab Spring figures.
The Guardian’s Luke Harding has taken Assange to task for being employed by RT (Russia Today), a Kremlin-backed TV and Internet news medium that has been described as a propaganda arm of the Putin regime. Harding, naturally, avoids the reality that the BBC could be considered a propanda arm of the UK government, but this sort of bitching is hardly constructive. Harding employed the ad hominem attack against Assange’s first episode, but said precious little about the actual content itself.
With Episode 4, Assange, who isn’t a trained TV personality or interviewer, manages rather interesting content. It has a much looser, conversational feel than a typical interview, and that is perhaps why it hasn’t received the plaudits it should. That and, of course, Assange is controversial. Whether RT pays Assange is quite beside the point, because Assange’s subjects are legitimate on their own terms.
Assange allows Nabeel Rajab to argue that the Arab Spring in Tahrir Square, Egypt wasn’t so much about being anti-Mubarak and anti-corruption, but decidedly for creating a fruitful future for Egypt. Speaking of Alaa’s article “The Dream,” Nabeel states that the sentiment was about how to build a country that had formerly been autocratic.
What is great about Episode 4 and the interview with Nabeel is that Assange goes into why Bahrain hadn’t quite succeeded yet in having a revolution. Very few Americans are even aware of the events in Bahrain, though even the most isolationist among us probably are aware of the events of Egypt in 2011.
As Nabeel states in one of the interview’s most interesting moments:
When I said in my Twitter account that I’m going to meet Julian Assange and I’m going to speak to him in a TV programme, and last night my house was surrounded by almost 100 policemen – armed, machine guns, and they realised then that I was not at home, then they just ask my family to tell me to come to the public prosecutor today at 4 o’clock. Well, I am here…
…I’m going to go back. I mean, I have to face it, you know. I mean, it’s not the first time but this is the struggle, this is the freedom, this is democracy that we are fighting for. It has a cost and that we have to pay the cost, and the cost might be very expensive as we have paid high cost in Bahrain, and we are willing to pay that for the changes that we are fighting for.
Assange also allows Alaa to state the reality about Egypt: The revolution was never completed. It was hijacked by Mubarak’s military class. This isn’t exactly news, but it’s informative to hear this from an Egyptian on the ground instead of it being filtered through an American pundit, or not even discussed by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who hasn’t come out against the military dictatorship in Egypt.
It’s not exactly useful to fully analyze Episode 4 of “World Tomrrow,” so do yourselves a favor and watch it. Come to your own conclusions about Assange’s angle and that of his guests, to say nothing of the events in Bahrain and Egypt.
Certain people, like The Guardian’s Luke Harding, would have us believe that only certain news sources and opinions that are valid. This, of course, is not true. Watch the latest episode of “World Tomrrow” and decide for yourselves. RT might be pro-Kremlin, but there is nothing propagandist about exploring revolution in countries that sorely need it.
And check out the transcript over at WikiLeaks.