Mehdi Hasan voiced – by The Ink

Situation. Is there a less sexy word in English? Or is it a more important one?

Journalist Mehdi Hassan has long been a tireless advocate for context. As a presenter and commentator for the BBC, Al Jazeera and MSNBC, Hassan has always challenged assumptions and filled in historical blind spots, committed to additional research and willing to speak truth to power.

Now he has left the corporate media era behind and launched his own media, Independent media company Zeteodesigned to tackle some of the most difficult reporting challenges of our time, with a focus on democracy and human rights.


We talked to Hassan about what he thinks of the student protests, what the U.S. response to the wars in Ukraine and Gaza tells us about the limits of empathy, the challenges of reporting in a time when democracy is under threat, how many activists are only as good as the ones they participate in Only then will you admire them.

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One of my mantras is that progressives and liberals should fly the flag and demand it more, rather than conceding patriotism to chauvinists. I saw the weirdest thing that happened when Ukraine was invaded: all these liberals and progressives who weren’t flying the American flag started flying the Ukrainian flag.

Put it on their Twitter bio and put it on the Kennedy Center.

Of course, it’s good to feel sympathy for those who suffered a brutal invasion. But can you explain why you think what happened to the Ukrainian people evoked such a high level of sympathy in the United States, and why what happened to the Palestinians didn’t evoke the same sympathy?

Simply put, Ukrainians are white and Palestinians are not. The longer answer is that Russia has a history, but the situation in Israel is different. Israel is our ally. Russia is our enemy, in some ways our cartoon enemy. Don’t forget: The Ukraine incident follows years of liberal frustration over Russia’s alleged role in helping elect Donald Trump and blaming Russia for Hillary Clinton’s defeat.

For years, Republicans have been hawks on Russia, while Democrats have said, “Let’s reset the relationship.” Remember, Barack Obama got into trouble for saying “reset.” Obviously, after 2016, the tables were turned, with Donald Trump being soft on Russia and Republicans saying, “We love Vladimir Putin,” and Democrats saying, “Russia is our mortal enemy.” .

Look, at the time, I was reporting this on the show, and multiple reporters, perhaps unintentionally, made fools of themselves and said things like, These are the guys with blond hair and blue eyes. I remember a reporter said, What is happening in Ukraine is shocking. This is not Iraq or Syria.

It’s like, “You shouldn’t say that, but it’s true.”

I always recommend a more nuanced approach to racism.

More subtle.If someone were to write a book about the past ten years, I would Say the quiet parts out loud Would be a great title. It covers a lot of things.

Look, I’m a big supporter of Ukraine’s right to be free from occupation. The problem is, when I draw the analogy to Palestine and say, “Well, I also support Palestinian freedom against occupation,” I’m attacked as an extremist, as a radical, as an anti-Semite. Remember, Joe Biden went out of his way to compare Hamas to Russia and Israel to Ukraine, which I pointed out on MSNBC at the time and was criticized for saying the rest of the world sees Israel as Russia and the Palestinians as Russia and were subject to cyberattacks.

I am a person who has read the original work red dawn and its lame remake. I always think to myself, Americans have this great mythical ideal about us and our guns, and what we would do if someone invaded the United States. What kind of resistance would the most armed country on earth mount if we were occupied for decades on end. We just don’t apply it to other people the same way.

Honestly, a lot of it is ignorance. If you ask the average American, they think Palestine is occupying Israel. They just don’t understand the contours of this conflict, the history of this conflict, who is oppressed, what is actually occupied. For example, October 7 was framed as a Hamas invasion of Israel, without the thought that Hamas controls territory legally occupied and besieged by Israel.

Ukraine is so fascinating because it sheds so much light on media coverage and political debate. The media always tells us, “Oh, be neutral and impartial toward Israel and Palestine.” We’ve never had that happen with Ukraine and Russia. Go read the BBC headlines about Russia’s bombing of Ukraine, and then go read the BBC headlines about Israel’s bombing of Gaza. Look at the differences: the latter’s passive voice, inability to assign responsibility, lack of emotional language. We can say whatever we want in a neutral media when it comes to Russia and Putin, but when it comes to Israel and Palestine, every journalist in America knows you have to tread very carefully.

I don’t want to turn you into a conspiracy theorist, but hearing you talk about Russia has always made me curious about the mechanics and nature of Russian influence on the United States during this period. Obviously, there is social media activity; whether we realize it or not, we all interact with trolls and bots. And then there are questions about whether certain members of Congress are paid. But given that the Republican Party has become a pro-Russian party so quickly, given that some really extreme MAGA people do seem to be taking orders from Putin, what do you think the actual mechanics are here? Is this just intellectual sympathy? Do you want to know more evil things?

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