Salman Al-Dossary
Salman Al-Dossary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

Defending Values… the Battle Continues

Until recently, everything the West exported to us was sacred; every idea was accepted, every product, and every political or social narrative.

The major reason we believed them was a conviction that the West had beaten us to it in science, that its nationals are more knowledgeable and civilized, and that everything that they bring to the table has been tried and tested.

However, we understood - recently unfortunately - that we are equals in some matters and that we are ahead of them in others, while they are ahead in some matters, some useful and others not.

What matters is that we are starting off from scratch. We only import what we need, in our way and on our terms… Imposing ideas and other things does not suit us; maybe it can work elsewhere.

The question of ethics is important, especially these days. Despite the West’s technological and analytical advancement, its political regimes have not understood - not yet anyway - that different nations have different moral codes. What is acceptable in one society could be considered catastrophic in another, though we agree that some values are shared by all societies, and no one is against them.

It could be said that trying to ignore nations’ cultures and religions is insulting and patronizing to these nations, besides being an imposition of values that they do not share and do not reflect their desires and preferences.

Saudi Arabia’s General Commission for Audiovisual Media did well in issuing a joint statement with the Committee of the Electronic Media Officials of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which was followed by an independent statement from Egypt, calling on Netflix to remove offensive content.

The statement came “in light of the recent observation that the platform was broadcasting visual material and content which violates content controls in GCC countries.” It asserted that this content “violates Islamic and societal values and principles. As such, the platform was contacted to remove this content, including content directed at children, and to ensure adherence to the laws.”

Because the Western media is predominately staffed by journalists, who are not familiar with our countries, culture, and values - taking their information from obscure and dubious sources - they always fail in their attempts to describe each and every issue about us or around us.

Many newspapers published articles, mostly written by staff that had never been to the Middle East, that addressed the statements superficially. It is as though they were dealing with a novel idea that is not accepted, disregarding the fact the ideas on sexual deviance that Netflix (like many other Western streaming platforms and political regimes) promotes do not merely go against our religion, values, philosophy and way of life. Rather, it is repudiated by God-given instincts and denounced by all the monotheistic religions, including Christianity and Judaism.

Thus, it is not right to present our objection as a divergence in views or in relativist terms.

What we know for sure is that this is not just individual or institutional efforts. It is part of a project supported, directly and indirectly, seriously and farcically, by Western governments with all their might and means, in the name of rights, sports, entertainment, opinion, journalism, and other masks.

The decision of Baker McKenzie, a few days ago, to end its partnership with its Emarati partner Habib Al Mulla because of his anti-homosexual tweets is one incident that speaks to what I am talking about.

I hope we will see a project led by an alliance of Arab and Islamic countries, in cooperation with other major powers fighting the battle of defending human values and natural, God-given instincts and countering this dubious Western plot.

I hope that we take this battle to the halls of the United Nations so that the West can learn that its deviant choices do not suit us in the slightest. We will never accept them, neither as governments, nor as people.