When my friend Jax told me a couple of yers ago that he was working for Menassat, I asked who the funders where, and I showed disbelief that Menassat would be able to free itself from the autocensorship common to aid recipients. He defended Menassat and assured me that they have editorial freedom. Since then, Menassat has been publishing good stuff, not ultra radical, but radical enough. Here, they are at the center of a controversy for a report they collated from the Lebanese Press criticizing the Arab Human Development Report. The Jerusalem Post did not like the way the report was written, and is putting pressure on the Dutch government, Menassat's funders. Menassat courageously responded with this article carrying a great title.Today Layal Haddad reported in Al-Akhbar on the Dutch government withdrawal of its support from Menassat. Layal is mourning Menassat but the title of the article: "Between surprise and sadness, what lies behind the closure of Menassat?" is very telling about the relationship between donors and recipients, where the recipients delude themselves into believing that funding has no strings attached and that it is all for a good cause. This is at best naive. The funders of this project, the Dutch Government, has a political agenda, and it does not include exposing Zionism. Rather, it includes staying chummy with Israel. One could also say that of all states offering aid (except, of course the Iranian state). So if we want to retain our integrity and independence, we should actually be pleased to see funding withdrawn and not sad. and we should start looking for alternatives, rapidos.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Funding alternatives sought
A month ago, I wrote a post on Menassat, the news website based in Lebanon. Here's an extract: