Succeeding despite being a 'heretic'. Phelps
Photo: AFP

Criticism over Arab Olympians' achievements

Sarcastic criticism heard from Arab journalists worldwide after one week at Beijing Olympics yields few medals for ‘best nation’

“Here is the prepared report: Some athlete, in some field of sports, achieved what representatives from 22 Arab countries did not manage to achieve. However, thank God they are all members of Amr Moussa’s Arab League and maybe that’s their only life achievement, and for this we must be thankful.”


These are the cynical words written by political journalist Nidhal Naisa in an article published on Friday in the London-based Arab internet site, Elaph.


If you thought Israelis were unhappy with the results of their Olympic team, it turns out that the Arab world is sourly accepting their achievements, or lack thereof. Similarly, they too have every excuse in the book prepared in advance.


However, before the excuses and criticisms, let’s look at the achievements: A week has lapsed since the Olympics began and we have not yet reached the end of the track and field finals; Algeria, Morocco and another country or two are capable of winning a medal in these events.


The Arab states have thus far won three medals altogether.


These results have sparked differing responses from the Arab media outlets. There were those who completely ignored the Olympics, there were those who tried to explain the failure and others that responded with venomous sarcasm regarding the ability displayed by the Arab teams.


Caricature depicting "real" Arab Olympics - running after food, carrying a

gas balloon and the race against the bus (Photo: Al-Quds al-Arabi, London August 13)


Nidhal Naisa was part of the last group. In an article titled, “The Arabs and Olympic Alienation,” he wrote “The Arabs in general did not succeed, with Allah’s help, to attain even one wooden or plastic medal; not even so that Arab nationalists and their cardboard parties would be able to boast about them in their election propaganda, on TV and on the radio as ‘an important and huge Arab achievement,’ so that they could convince people that they are ‘like the rest of the world.’


“Yes, in the largest Olympics in the history of humankind, the Arabs, despite their intelligence services and their spies, didn’t achieve a thing,” the journalist wrote. 


Turning his attention to American swimmer Michael Phelps, Naisa wrote, “God help us, how did he turn into the most decorated athlete in Olympic history? He managed receiving his 11th gold medal and breaking all previous records as all the ‘cursed’ and ‘piggish’ news agencies affiliated with the ‘athiest enemies of Allah’ swarmed around him because they are obviously ‘biased against the Arabs.’


'Not part of best nation'

“Despite the fact that this heretic, who should burn in hell, is not part of the best nation (the Arab nation), although he is not married to any of the naked American women, or to minors or girls…look at him!


“Seven days have passed since the Beijing Olympics began and the Arabs, oh my goodness, their pitiful situation has been exposed and so too their misguided culture…the Arabs were merely failed and defeated (movie) extras in these Olympics," he wrote. 


Other papers have chosen to mock the situation, as seen in the caricature hinting that the real Arab Olympics are the race they run after their basic existence.


It should be clear however, the games are still receiving extensive coverage on various Arab satellite channels which are broadcasting the different events throughout the entire day and emphasizing the Arab contenders. Internet sites are also diligently covering the Olympics.


פרסום ראשון: 08.16.08, 20:18
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