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Vivian Salama

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Vivian Salama is an award winning reporter, producer and blogger. Currently based in Lahore, Pakistan, she has reported for various publications from across the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Balkans, the United States and North and South Korea. She has also appeared as a commentator on the BBC, France24, South African Broadcasting Corp., TVNZ, NPR and as a reporter for Voice of America radio. Her byline has appeared in numerous publications including Newsweek, USA Today, the International Herald Tribune, the National, Jerusalem Post, and the Daily Star. Salama has an MA in Islamic Politics from Columbia University and she previously worked as a lecturer of international journalism at Rutgers University. Close.

Vivian Salama

USA/Middle East

Vivian Salama is an award-winning reporter, producer and blogger. Currently based in Lahore, Pakistan, she has reported for various publications from across the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Balkans, the United States and North and South Korea. more »

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Queen, Comedians Use YouTube To Fight Stereotypes

A team of Middle Eastern-American comedians has banded together, with the help Jordan's Queen Rania, to promote an awareness campaign against stereotypes.

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All Comments (25)


Stereotyping will always exist as long as humans possess the power of thought.Not all cultures are good nor correct in their actions and goals.Inspite of political correctness[mindless agreeing]some cultures really do need to be changed or eliminated all together.Get over trying to social engineer the world into your picture of perfection and's not reality,never has been, never will be as long as mankind can think and decide for itself the absolute truth of right and wrong.



You do not seem to be able to separate Christian from Western values. Tolerance of the other that we see on the world stage today is due to advances made by Western culture only.
May I remind you that the church's call for inclusiveness today is an attempt to catch up with Western culture, much like those who like to present a different face of islam in the West.

Secularims is the intellectual mega trend of the future.


According to a recent "Islam on Campus" survey of 1,400 students by the Centre for Social Cohesion, an independent think tank, just under a third of Muslim students said that killing in the name of religion can be justified. Sixty percent of the students who were active members of campus Islamic societies agreed with the statement, compared with 2% of non-Muslims.

This means that one in every four Muslim students believe in Jihad and also means that 6 out of 10 of those same students who are members of an Islamic school society, also believe in Jihad.I have just heard that there are now thirty thousand Saudi students in the USA. Do you suppose those will change their attitude towards us when they get to know us?


Center says to Rich:
"Rich, you have erred in mentioning Christian values to embrace tolerance etc. Tolerance etc was mainly due to secular, liberal values...despite christian (church) arrogance and fundamentalism."

You just need something to gripe about. Rich said Christian values and not the church, and these are two different things; one is a value and the other is an institution. That does not mean I agree with you regarding the institution of the church. I never heard a Christian preacher inciting his flock to declare war on those who believe differently. If your cult truly believes in an all-powerful God, you would let him punish the unbelievers. I guess someone who believes in talking stones , flying horses and in a pedophile warlord as a prophet could not be blamed for NOT knowing any better.


why does not the queen head an 'elite women' group, made up of wives and daughter of rulers of the area.

it takes a miracle to change the perception of Arabs in the US.

Mark W.:

Irony that a violent extremist religious activist opened fire in a Unitarian Church recently. I would call that an act of terrorism by definition. I wonder if the shooter in this case was programmed, a one-percent threat, perhaps.

Thing about is that researching this "universal" church movement in the New England states before the turn of the 20th century, I found their founding doctrines and ideals.

The ideal is that religious authority comes through truth. That is pretty simple. And so, it is a movement of equality to me, pointing out that truth is universially accepted as Authority springing from Divine Providence in my world.

The current Pope is very big on the mysteries of God's Love according to me at this juncture. Some have referenced all people of the world to be God's children, many lacking love and the truth to me. I see the first necessity as feeding people starving.

Most pathetic thing I have heard about recently is captors hearing the prayers to God by innocent people while those captors continue to do nothing. Perhaps some, don't give credence to prayers in foriegn languages or even their own native tongues ? I think the children suffer because of the ignorance and arrogance of mankind.

Equality has a long way to go. And that concept is in evidence right now when the McCain camp seems to be implying "Don't vote for the scary negro". So yea, I think the Queen's project is based on some universal logic like dispelling stereotypes. Psssst, I hear that some Americans actually eat their own babies, that's what I heard.


Rich Rosenthal wrote: "Secular, liberal, western, and Christian values embrace tolerance love and compassion for all, please try to join our crowd instead of trying to be cute with evil in your closet."

Rich, you have erred in mentioning Christian values to embrace tolerance etc. Tolerance etc was mainly due to secular, liberal values...despite christian (church) arrogance and fundamentalism.


I sense a lot of fear in many of the comments below as a positive face of Arabs is being shown through this project- which is much scarier to certain people and their foreign policy agenda than the face of the Arab terrorist. I can understand why you are afraid and you should be because this is how US public support for one sided policies in the Middle East can begin to erode as "the other side" is humanized.

Mark W.:

Really Sven, arabs don't have a sense of humour or irony. Well an Arab told me this joke.

Our President, George Bush goes to Heaven. Before entering he must prove that he is George Bush because no one can imagine this man making it to Heaven.

When confronted, he says "I am George Bush".

Now the man at the gate, St. Peter in Christian terms still cannot believe George Bush has made it to Heaven. While standing at the "Gate" to Heaven Einstien is in Heaven standing nearby.

So the gate keeper asks to George Bush, "Who is that man standing over there ?" pointing to George Bush.

George Bush says, " I don't know that man".

The gatekeeper says, "This must be George Bush".



It is nice to see an attempt being made to reach out, but it must be all inclusive, this is not. I find it interesting that a predominantly muslim nation is attempting to use humor when we all know islam does not recognize irony, does not believe in music or any form of media entertainment other than those snuff films they produce using kuffars. I guess a feeble attempt is all we can expect.


The end of the piece by Ms. Salama finally reveals what the Queen's program is all about- improving the image of Arabs and Persians. It is not about forging world peace and mutual understanding, as the article doesn't mention any performers from the west presenting material intended to counter stereotypes of Americans and others in the west.

The problem of ignorance and irrational hatred is not isolated in the West, and continuing to claim that it is will not be productive or lead to greater understanding between peoples of various cultures. Until the Queen focuses also on the stereotypes and ignorance of people in the west still widely shared in the Arab and Persian cultures, then the programming mentioned in the article will not amount to much. She can do more good by focusing on the mis-perceptions of her own people in Jordan.

Mark W.:

And Furthermore, Rich Rosenthal, the end result must be measured in horsepower as modern diesel locomotives are rated in horsepower from diesel engine to electric generation to traction motor. The effiency study of rail vehicles is measured in tractive effort, the ability to transfer all of that energy to the rail to actually move a train, friction, like car tires with balanced friction capabilities.

I would go as far to say the neoconservative efforts "shocked and awed" us into a greater dependency on foreign fossil fuels. Greater instability in the Middle East leads to higher prices, therefore we are much more dependent on foreign fossil fuels when the price per barrel is 140 dollars United States.

Nope, I would rather "fuel up" my car, pickup truck and tractor with natural gas which is available right there on the farm. In the Midwest on farms with natural gas wells in production, the natural gas companies offer compressors to fill up their natural gas vehicles. All those logistic costs are eliminated whether we are talking about the transportation of gasolene, diesel or electricity.

Senator Crapo was inaccurate from the floor of the Senate the other day. It is very easy to upgrade to natural gas or propane from diesel. In fact American automobile manufacturers offer engines with pre-installed factory conversion kits today.

Over-all I believe that tensions can be reduced throughout the world reducing our dependencies on oil. We must be very careful going forward as it seems republicans especially want to react very quickly making mistakes such as the Seward's folly of ethanol mandates. Result is more instability through hunger which could lead to new rogue nations, incubators for terrorists.

nat turner:

Is there to be no mention of the suppression of women and blacks in Islam ?

Mark W.:

Rich Rosenthall,

I am talking about losses in conversion and transportation to charging electric cars. First there is mainly coal that produces electricity. That electricity must be transported from generation plant to charging location of an electric car. Then the charging is converted from A/C to D/C power. The losses in through the entire process can be measured in kilowatts. Granted D/C electric motors have improved in effiency ratings but A/C motors are by far more effiencient. Either way, getting from A/C to D/C or D/C to A/C there are losses.

You are addressing someone who has worked on A/C propulsion projects of Passenger Rail vehicles with a background as a Diesel Locomotive Electrician, tradionally D/C propulsion. I also have certain qualifications through college studying Electrical Engineering and I am a Amatuer Radio Operator myself.

In addition, electric motors produce static throughout the radio frequency bandwidths. These EMFs can interfere with radio or TV. Spurious signal generation is tolerated to a certain degree by law.

I am pointing out the negatives to electric cars so we don't go overboard like this was mandating biofuels to cause further starvation around the world using corn for cars. We are all connected.

Rich Rosenthal:

mark w.wrote
Electric Cars must be juiced up, where would this power come from in real life ? I can tell you that it is not efficient to produce
electricity to charge cars. There are losses with transmission, converting a/c power to d/c power as well as efficient storage of
EVs (electric vehicles) are about 3 times more efficient than ICE (internal combustion engines). Modern batteries, and likely the eestor super capacitor have very high efficiencies. Transmission losses are only great over very long distances. Generation in your backyard or local (solar, wind etc.) results in very little losses and is quite economical in the long run even with yesterday's technology.
TV's talking heads are mostly clueless about technology and how so many divergent technologies will converge in the near future, well before we will see any oil from additional drilling.
Perhaps the Queen and comedians can make jokes about a mideast that can't find oil customers in a decade or so.
Bush, conservatives, car companies and the oil companies have suppressed the future too long. Hold on and watch what happens next.

Rich Rosenthal:

Stereotypes aside, The good queen can try to initiate a pan-islamic movement to define precisely what the Koran states and whether Islam can tolerate secular goverments and individuals. There currently seems to be a broad interpretation of the Koran that includes 'death to the infidel' as well as brotherly love. Until the 'death to the infidel' part of Islam is completely eliminated by Muslims themselves (no if, ands or buts). It will be the reasonal and rational response of us "infidels" to pro-actively defend ourselves.

Secular, liberal, western, and Christian values embrace tolerance love and compassion for all, please try to join our crowd instead of trying to be cute with evil in your closet.


queen rania and stereotypes : first thing if she is serious about anything then she should abdicate her throne and give POWER TO THE PEOPLE and not act like a hypocrite.

Mark W.:

Well Selma, I see there is common sense and wisdom over here, the men taught you well, hehehehe. A greater reality is evidenced here so here is my two sense:

First, I believe we must thank the Iraqis for respecting our children during a time of war as evidenced by extremely low causalities
suffered by Americans last month. I hope that all children are able to benefit from new found freedoms and the retention of those freedoms
that we have fought for since the founding of our Nation. That we are able to continue to share our knowledge and wisdom for the benefit of
mankind such as been the case throughout the history of the world evidenced through the sciences such as mathematics, astronomy and
architecture. That our truths become louder and that through our mutual Creator, we may lead better lives according to His designs. And
that we must accept the world as it is today with a promise of a better tomorrow as stated, whatever happens, happens, let it be so.

Now, I think that ADR is the specific diplomacy which needs to be used in the Middle East and the United States for that matter. As Iraq moves towards greater freedoms, we can shift away from cowboy boots on their sands.

In Afghanistan, I believe engaging in ADR will reduce violence but instead of utilizing interpreters as torturers, I think these communicators could be taught facilitation skills per ADR. There is no sympathy to be gained through terrorist acts. Besides, if mutual benefits does not work out through diplomacy, they and we know that bombs can be set off
tomorrow. However for even righteous activisms, acts of terrorism reject global support however noble the cause seems to be.

See I get along with most Holy Rollers because they are over there and I am over here. I never miss a chance to speak with Mormons at my door because I like to discuss religion but that is just me. In my youth, I used to offer them a beer to get rid of them.

Our gasolene problem has easy short solutions. First, supply can be increased by reducing price which means eliminating excessive
speculation which inflates price leading to recession. Next, development of proven deposits can move those deposits out of reserve
status into production. We all know the lag to production from lease, to exploration to production. There are now leases beyond exploration stage, ready to go.

Reducing the national speed limit during a time of war in the Middle East is simple and has historical reference to times of war which
decreases demand. This is a correction to history in that refinery and storage capacity has not increased to meet demand since 1976. Took
Detroit along time to figure out that the SUV boom ended.

Listen to the wisdom of the G-8 and OPEC,if will you, speculation, conservation, new domestic refinery capacity and storage along with conservation are the answers. Follow the Saudis tapping proven fields first.

Electric Cars must be juiced up, where would this power come from in real life ? I can tell you that it is not efficient to produce
electricity to charge cars. There are losses with transmission, converting a/c power to d/c power as well as efficient storage of

Now natural gas engines are a more direct conversion of energy to mechanical movement. There are pickup trucks coming out of factories
right now with natural gas and propane conversion kits pre-installed on their engines. A Senator was dead wrong speaking on the floor of the Senate the other day, Diesel is easy to replace. And in the United States diesel engines coming out of normal production in American factories have been retrofitted with natural gas and propane
conversion kits to this date.

I think the old school, the neoconservatives, tried to "shock-n-awe" us into a greater dependency on foreign oil. It is true because our dependency has increased through price another reason to eliminating pirating or excessive speculation of fossil fuels. This method has certainly lead to a new generation of greedy, selfish corporate basturds witnessed by profit announcements yesterday, Christians huh, pffft. Tell that to the people suffering around the world today due to high energy costs. I ask, who is feeding his sheep today ?

And finally "make love not war" is part of the history of Russia if One looks for it. Apparently, the wives of the warriors stopped wars by keeping the warriors at home and in the sack at one time. Of course, the golddiggers here in America withhold certain pleasures until the get what they want, go figure.


Why is the Jordanian Royal family so awesome on TV? They always rock!


She's hot....I'd hit that


Wow! I really enjoyed the videos. Good for Queen Rania for using YouTube to try and bring the East and the West together with humor.

Marc Schlee:

If Jordan's Queen Rania is really serious about creating goodwill and understanding, Jordan could stop torturing detainees for the American CIA.




You guys should see their "Axis of Evil" DVD. It's hilarious!


The best "comedy" in the world is being performed in Iraq, by Americans including the soldiers armed to teeth, politicians lying through their teeth.


With Americans dangling all kind of bombs over your heads of the people in the middle east (and elsewhare), where do you get harmony?

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