It seems we have reached the point in which the Arab male has become so forcibly synonymous with the idea of a terrorist – in no small thanks to the media – that the reality has become inconsequential.
Ayman Abu Aita, 44, from Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem, is described in the film Brüno as a member of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the armed wing of the Fatah movement.
Promoting the film recently on the David Letterman talkshow in the US, Baron Cohen explained that finding a “terrorist” to interview for the movie took several months and some help from a CIA contact. He described the secular Martyrs Brigades, most of whom signed an amnesty deal with Israel in 2007, as “the number one suicide bombers out there”.
“How could he say this about me?” asks Abu Aita. “Brüno can make jokes about anything he wants, but this is not a joke. Calling me a terrorist is not funny – it is lying. He lied from the beginning and he is still lying now.” [Source]
Far from being a gun-toting, balaclava donning fighter, Abu Aita is in fact a non-profit Christian activist, from Beit Sahour, Bethlehem.
But thanks to the movie Brüno, Abu Aita is blindly accepted as just another terrorist-type, fresh from the cookie-cutter of stereotypes that tickle Western viewers muchly.
It transcends new levels of indecency and raises the question of whether the reaction would be different had a similar smear been executed on an individual of an alternative ethnic origin.
Of course, this could sound incredibly Marjorie-from-the-Home-Counties-penning-a-missive-to-The Daily Mail, but it is so sadly ironic.
Somebody, somewhere should point a finger and squeal with incandescent rage: this anti-Arab behaviour is not acceptable and must cease.
There are “jokes”, and then there are jokes.
Outing an innocent Palestinian as a terrorist for shits and giggles just is not decent.