MEMRI Suspended On YouTube. Jihadi Video Channels Stay Up
With YouTube's suspension of The Middle East Media Research Institute's (MEMRI) video channel, a critical resource for those looking to understand Middle East politics and the global jihadist threat is now gone. Will they bring it back?
MEMRI's methods are simple: take publicly available videos of things like speeches by dictators like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, statements by terrorist spokespeople or even samples of children's programming inciting violence in Egypt. And they translate these statements from Arabic or Farsi into English, with basic context (Name of the speaker, date and location. Just the facts, ma'am).
What sort of things are you likely to see in MEMRI videos, exactly? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling for death to America and Israel. A Yemeni cleric explaining how Jews are like pigs and monkeys. Instructions about how to beat your wife from an Islamist television host. With MEMRI providing the context, these videos become compelling evidence that the Islamist war on civilization is not merely some bizarre imaginary concoction from Dick Cheney's brain.
The need for this kind of service is obvious. The jihadi threat to both Muslim nations and the outside world is very real. Seeing precisely what these people are saying, as opposed to what is being reported that they are saying by second-hand sources, is invaluable for understanding the mindset and intentions of the ones making the statements.
Has YouTube caved into Islamists who are using the platform as a propaganda and recruiting channel? That's the most likely conclusion.
Without accurate translations of primary sources, those opposed to the jihadi agenda are less equipped to carry out their own work.
Will YouTube switch it back on?
For now, MEMRI has an alternative channel set up at http://www.youtube.com/user/MemriTelevision
Check it out while you can.
Jonathon Narvey is the Editor of The Propagandist.