Yemen in Hollywood, Diversification on the black picture!

Dozens of movies waiting for you whenever you try to contact the outer world!
Mohammed Al-Karami
April 21, 2022

Yemen in Hollywood, Diversification on the black picture!

Dozens of movies waiting for you whenever you try to contact the outer world!
Mohammed Al-Karami
April 21, 2022

The American Cinema, during more than a century, has been exercising various forms of intentional mutilation about the other, and devoted images on other peoples which continued to be closer to the cultural revenge on the non-US nations. Particularly, the image of Arabs, Indians, Asians and black Americans, Irish, Latonia's and others, remained locked in the American mentality. While most stereotypes faded, the image of Arabs remained harsh and brutally illustrated by the US movies.

In the 1970s, Edward Saeed published his book titled "Orientalism" which exposed the relationship between ecstasy and colonial institutions. It can be asserted that, in the case of cinema, the emergence of Hollywood side by side with the Washington administration, as it was previously affected by the worlds it will invade, and the literature of arrogance was inspired by the colonial image of the land of the Arabs. The orientalist discourse is revealed in the clear confusion between Arabs and Muslims, and the fallacy of presenting a unified picture, considering that all Arabs are Muslims and all Muslims are Arabs. In addition, it does not differentiate between the countries of the Arab world, such as Syria, Egypt and Yemen. As a result of this blind image, the image of Yemen came as part of its crude generalizations.

The image of Yemen is not less than the image of the Arabs. This country, which has been closed up to the 1960s, is hardly contacted to contact the outside world so that dozens of films and serials are waiting for it simply as part of the Arab map. American drama series did not hesitate to use the years of solitude, even decades after its end.

In the series "Supernatural", the actor "Jensen Ackles" declares that he wants to go somewhere outside the world, to which his brother confidently replies: "I will go to Yemen." In a satirical scene from the series "Friends", the actor "Matthew Perry" falters in front of his fiancée and decides to travel to Yemen to escape from her, and his friend winks at him in a sign that he succeeded in inventing the name of a country.

Yemen as a part of the distorted Arabs image

Decades after the movie “The Butcher of Vulgarity” was shown, which included a conversational scene between two characters in a restaurant, one of them declared to the other: “We were heading to Mecca, and the plane was filled with Arabs and their animals: goats, sheep, chickens... They don’t go anywhere without the company of their animals."

The stereotype in the dialogue turned into an entire episode about Yemen in the series "Shameless", where Frank - the actor "William Macy" - smuggles a Yemeni family from America to Canada, accompanied by chickens and sheep, on a arduous path through which it was hardly possible to escape, while "Samir" remained. And his family members stick to animals as family members. Frank silently denounces the hateful habits of the Yemeni family. In another scene from the same series, a young actress has a conversation with her boyfriend, actor Jeremy Allen White. He asks her about the reason for her absence, and she replies that she married a sheikh from Yemen and traveled to his country.

The documentary film about Yemen, "Dirty Wars", revealed the US administration's mechanisms in the war on terrorism, and reviewed the killings of innocent civilians in Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan by US forces, as another face of their military operations that were promoted by Hollywood.

The image of Yemen did not differ from the image of Arabs in Hollywood. The Yemeni “sheikh” (or from any other Arab country) is still locked in his lusts and marries underage girls, just as the Arabs are still backward according to specific patterns since the 1920s, as expressed by Jack Chahine in his detailed study.

"Happy Terror" Country

American cinema has demonized the Arab character and presented it as a model of backwardness, rebellion and intimidation. It has continued to deal with the provocative act or the hateful character in the Arab context without an objective justification that explains the character's transformation into the worlds of crime, barbarism and tyranny, or its motives for doing that act. Gradually, cinematic impressions of the character of the Arabs became entrenched and turned into axioms. If the image of the Arab is associated with intimidation, the cinema of the second millennium will perpetuate a stereotyped image of Yemen as the birthplace of Al-Qaeda.

In countries that have been invaded by the US, such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, Hollywood has tried to portray the US military as the savior of children and women, and its military adventures often seem to have been launched in the humanitarian context in order to save civilians. Its sensitivity increases in the dramatic treatment according to its violations. However, in the movie "Rules of Engagement" it poured its hell on the Yemenis, killing 83 civilians, children and women, and turning the country's population into a group of angry terrorists. This prompted the leader of the band, actor "Samuel Jackson", to say his racist sentence: "Finish these bastards", and everyone was killed, something that could not happen in any another country without the deterioration of the image of the Arab as presented by Hollywood, and the presentation of Yemen as part of it. It is noted that the date of its appearance preceded the explosion of the destroyer Cole, and the incident of September 11; After the September 11 incident, Hollywood filmmakers felt a sense of legitimacy in the demonization of the Middle East people.

A decade later, Yemen reappeared in a related drama in the series "Nikita", where a terrorist group targets the US Embassy in Sana'a with an explosive device inside the car of the actor "Shane West". The series "Homeland" leads the process of pursuing terrorist elements in southern Yemen via satellite, and the head of the Middle East Division, actor "Mandy Patinkin", is supervising the targeting process with a drone, in the context of demonstrating seriousness and firmness in the fight against terrorism. While the series "Prison Break" returned in its fifth season with events about Yemen, in which he revealed the presence of the actor "Michael Scofield" alive in one of Yemen's prisons, "Ojia" (a fictional prison that does not exist in reality), after he was detained by the terrorist organization "ISIS", to seek his brother Lincoln Burroughs and a group of his old friends, to free him from there. In the fifth season, the series was well received by Arab viewers; As he defended Islam and attacked ISIS and accused it of extremism and that it has nothing to do with Islam, in a sentence uttered by the imprisoned actor. The irony is that he invoked the stereotyped image of Yemen as a site of terrorism in order to correct another stereotype about Islam and extremism, bearing in mind that the message was addressed to a Western audience, not an Arab one. In the same context, the Yemeni film (The Loser Bet) sent its message to the interior by revealing the tricks of terrorist groups in Yemen, the reasons for their growth and their dangers.

Intolerance stereotyped 

The name Yemen was associated in Hollywood with "terrorism". This coincided with the escalation of news reports about terrorist attacks in Yemen, whether they targeted foreign tourists or Yemeni government and civil facilities in the first decade of the second millennium. The American strikes continued inside the countries of the Middle East in the context of its war on terrorism. On the other hand, the documentary film about Yemen "Dirty Wars" revealed the US administration's mechanisms in the war on terror, and reviewed the killing of innocent civilians in Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan by US forces, as another facet of its military operations that were promoted by Hollywood.

Stereotypes about countries contributed to perpetuating intolerance, which was more clearly demonstrated by Conlon's autobiographical film "In the Name of the Father", When he moved to London in search of work, and while he was roaming the streets, an explosion occurred, and the British police arrested some suspects of Irish descent and began to interrogate and charge them with the bombing without evidence or witnesses, up to a life sentence after being forced to confess by force, until the lawyer "Guseppe" comes after 15 years to turn the scales of the case.

Going back to the beginning, the only crime was their Irish ancestry, as Ireland has persevered in a stereotype synonymous with vandalism, rioting and violence since its declaration of independence from Britain. The same applies to the image of Yemen, and the consequent burden of stereotyping it with terrorism. Stereotypes often perpetuate prejudices, transforming discrimination into a lived, acceptable and legitimate reality, so that life inside and out becomes variations on the black image.

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