The following press release and full text of ADCs open letter to Paramount Pictures about Rules of Engagement give a complete guide to this deeply racist and offensive film.
Please contact Paramount Pictures and let them know that such blatant anti-Arab racism is unacceptable. Write to:
Ms. Sherry Lansing, Chair
Paramount Motion Pictures Group
5555 Melrose Avenue
Hollywood, CA 90038-3197
Or fax to: (323) 862-8456
Or email: email@example.com
Please use the letter and/or press release below as talking points, and please cc any correspondence to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
ADC is also encouraging its members and chapters to consider organizing protests and pickets at cinemas showing Rules of Engagement. If ever a film deserved to be protested, this is it. Please contact ADC for advice or assistance.
TEXT OF ADC PRESS RELEASE: Arab Americans Denounce Paramounts Racist Film Rules of Engagement Washington D.C., April 11 The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the nations largest grassroots Arab-American organization, in an open letter to Paramount Pictures Chair Shelly Lansing denounced the new Paramount film Rules of Engagement. Released on Friday, Rules of Engagement was the number one grossing film over the weekend earning $15 million. ADC writes that Rules of Engagement can only be considered in the same light as other films whose raison detre is to deliberately and systematically vilify an entire people, such as Birth of a Nation and The Eternal Jew.
The letter from ADCs Communications Director Hussein Ibish to Paramount says that while the film contains countless negative portrayals of Arabs, sympathetic or positive images of Arabs are easy to list: there are none. Offensive material includes:
- Repeated portrayals of Arab children as hateful, vicious and murderous. These children are shown several times shooting guns at the films US Marine protagonists and shouting curses.
- The portrayal of Yemeni society as an anti-American mob just waiting to erupt at any second. The images of Arabs in the film are solely stereotypical - veiled women, men in headscarfs and all shouting fanatical, angry slogans and firing automatic weapons at a peaceful US embassy.
- Everyone in Yemen is complicit in the anti-American violence. Witnesses lie. The police lie. Doctors lie. Everyone in Yemen lies. Meanwhile, the streets are literally strewn with cassette tapes calling, again without any apparent reason, for all good Muslims to kill any and all Americans they can find. Yemen, we are assured, is a breeding ground for terrorists.
ADC first contacted Paramount with concerns about Rules of Engagement in January, but received no cooperation. ADC wrote that In spite of this almost total lack of cooperation from Paramount, we continued to hope against hope that Rules of Engagement would not be defamatory against Arabs, and showing the utmost restraint, withheld judgment until viewing the movie in a commercial cinema after its general release. The letter continues: In retrospect, it is easy to understand why Paramount stonewalled all our attempts at dialogue and refused even the elementary courtesy of a pre-release screening ... [since] these are the images that define the Arab as the quintessential other, and depict all Arabs, men, women and children, as the inherent, irrational and implacable terrorist enemy of the United States. They make the everyday lives of Arab-Americans and Arabs in the United States that much more difficult and dangerous.
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
4201 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20008, U.S.A.
Tel: (202) 244-2990, Fax: (202) 244-3196
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