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The U.S. Elite's Favorite Television Show: Showtime's 'Homeland' Demonizes Arabs and Prepares Americans For Bombing Iran

The award winning TV show reinforces myths and misconceptions about Arabs and Muslims.

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Lest we think that America’s racial order is not questioned, “Homeland” does register some of America’s limitations in the realm of racial tolerance. In the land of slavery and apartheid, it was not the African American Estes who is compelled to tell us of his traumas on account of white American racism against blacks, but rather the Jewish Berenson who remembers the anti-Jewish sentiment he experienced growing up in small town USA. After all, America has a black President now, while it only had one Jewish vice-presidential candidate historically. Indeed, Estes, unlike his two white colleagues, hardly has an inner life to explore at all. 

The gender representation is also remarkable for its commitment to 1970s white American feminism by featuring a leading strong white female character as the star of the show (which Hollywood began to champion since the filmAlien in the late 1970s) and its equal commitment to sexist representations of white women as hysterics, or at least in Carrie’s case, for suffering from America’s most fashionable commercialised psychiatric ailment of the decade: bipolar disorder (an “ailment” that succeeded clinical depression as the most fashionable American psychiatric disorder in the preceding decade).

The Plot

The story of the show is about how the liberated white American marine has been “turned” by Al-Qaida and now works for them. We are of course offered a touching Stockholm syndrome explanation as to why Brody now hates his own government. Brody was captured along with his marine buddy, the African-American Tom Walker. Part of Brody’s torture was to beat Walker to death and to dig his grave. During his captivity Brody converts to Islam as a spiritual escape (though when he is shown praying his pronunciation of Arabic words –“al-rakhman al-rakhim” instead of “al-rahman al-rahim” seems to have an Israeli Ashkenazi, even a Benjamin Netanyahu, accent and not a typical American one—one can safely presume that Israeli Ashkenazi Jews are the accent tutors on the show).

At some point during his capture, the Al-Qaida leader, a man named Abu Nazir (sometimes pronounced by different characters as Abu Nasir though it is most likely Abu Nadhir), puts him in charge of educating his 10 year-old son who is strangely named “Aisa,” which is not an Arabic name at all and is most likely an Israeli corruption of the common Arabic name ‘Isa, meaning “Jesus”! Indeed, as Abu Nazir is the major Bin Ladenesque villain on the show, the producers should have spent an extra $100 to have an Arab consultant tell them that the name of “Abu Nazir” itself means “father of Nazir,” Nazir being his eldest son, so that they would refrain from making the elementary and laughable mistake of referring to “Abu” as his first name and “Nazir” as his last name! Lest you think Israeli anti-Palestinianism is absent from the show, the second season’s first episode reveals to us that Abu Nazir is indeed Palestinian! 

While Brody was becoming close to the young Aisa, a drone attack secretly ordered by Vice-President Walden (even the US President apparently did not know about it!) kills 83 children, including Aisa, who was on his way to school or more precisely “Madrassa.” Heartbroken, Brody digs out his body from under the rubble and helps prepare his burial with Abu Nazir. Walden goes on television and denies that any such attack took place. Having to confront his government’s war crimes and denials “turns” Brody into an Al-Qaida man. Upon his return home, Brody rejoins his all-American nuclear family –wife, daughter, and son. His wife is played by the Brazilian actress Morena Baccarin who looks suspiciously brown, but nonetheless is presented as white! Baccarin’s roles on previous TV shows have mostly been in science fiction, presumably due to her “alien” looks.

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