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French Version

TV in Ramadan A bumper harvest

Once again, the holy month of Ramadan is to be remembered this year for its stirring TV programs.
The month is all about worship and spiritual devotion, but the Arab nation awaits the month of Ramadan for its lively pastimes.

This year Ramadan is expected to be a landmark for the many Arab TV channels who have prepared busy broadcast schedules.

Jordan Television's (JTV) Ramadan agenda for this year introduces more entertainment and enticing programs for the whole family. Arab and local programs are included, featuring issues of religion, history and social matters.

Most of the shows emphasize Arab and Islamic history. Zaman Al Wasil (The age of junction) talks about Arab rule in Andalusia (now Spain) during the 11th century, while Imro'u Al Qays features the life of a famous Arab poet during pre-Islamic times. Imam Al Sha'arawi sheds light on the life and works of a prominent 20th century Islamic intellectual.

Additionally, JTV is broadcasting the Egyptian TV comic drama series Al Attar Wal Sabe'a Banat (The spice-dealer and the seven daughters). The series, starring the renowned Egyptian actor Noor Al Sharif, tackles the social affairs of Arab families in a sarcastic but amusing manner.

Bawabit Al Tareekh (The gate of history) is JTV's quiz show for its viewers during Ramadan. Each of the 30-episode tells the story of a different prominent Arab or Islamic figure whose name should be recognized by the viewers.

Azamat Burhan (Burhan's crises) is something lighty for this year. Jordanian TV stars Dawoud Jalajel and Shafiqa Al Tul lead the series' cast through comic and social spectacle jokes. More happy incidents are also expected in the 30-episode Hawaeyat (Feelers), in which Jordanian actor Hisham Yanes and actress Amal Dabbas scrutinize the Arab satellite channels in a comic manner. Ameera fi Abdeen (A princess in Abdeen) is one of the biggest Egyptian TV shows produced this year. A group of famous Arab actors are starring in the show, which focuses on the social differences between the rich and poor in Egypt, and is set in one of Cairo's populous localities.

Remember the TV show, Irhabiyat (Terror acts) which was aired this time last year on the Abu Dhabi satellite channel? Sure, it was about Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his bloody policies against the Palestinian people. That show was censured by the US and Jewish communities, who claimed it was "anti-Semitic and racist." They are now maintaining the same attitude towards a new Egyptian TV show that tackles the Arab-Israeli conflict from a different point of view.

Renowned Egyptian actor Mohammed Subhi has just finished the shooting of his TV series, Faris Bela Jawad (Horseman without a horse), which is scheduled for Ramadan. The 41-episode series highlights the story of an Egyptian man fighting the British mandate and Zionist plans to establish a Jewish state in Palestine during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The drama also strives to link the current Israeli occupation of Palestine and the forged "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," which scrutinizes Jewish intentions to dominate the world.

The debate over the Egyptian show has become an international issue, thanks to the Jewish communities in the US and Europe, who regard the Egyptian show as an "anti-Semitic and extremist." The US State Department went further by suggesting that Arab TV stations shouldn't broadcast programs they consider "racist and untrue." The US and pro-Israel organizations have already asked the Egyptian government, other Arab governments and the Egyptian Actors Syndication to rebuff the show and prohibit its broadcast during the month of Ramadan.

The Egyptian government, however, rejected the American and Jewish claims and accused Israel of 'politicizing' the affair as part of its efforts to conceal its crimes against the Palestinian people.

"Our media policy is to respect all monotheistic religions," said Egypt's Information Minister Safwat Al Sharif. "The passages and the scenario of this dramatic work contains nothing that can be considered anti-Semitic. It is all about historic facts." Mohammed Subhi told reporters that his show comes at the time when Arabs are about to endure a new chapter in the US and Israeli conspiracy against Iraq. Subhi denied Jewish claims that his show is aimed at attacking the Jewish religion and its teachings. "We are totally against the intellectual terrorism," Subhi stressed, adding that his show has nothing to do with religion. "It is an artistic work meant to show the Zionist plots against the Arab nation." The nights of the holy month are normally well-known for family gatherings and late night visits. But with Ramadan coming at the dawning of winter this year, Arab television provides pleasant alternatives for families to stay at home and take shelter from the cold.

Ghassan Joha
The Star

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