October 25, 2006, - 4:13 pm

Sesame Street & Bangladeshi Islamists

On Monday, a ferry in central Bangladesh, carrying about 70 people home for an end of Ramadan (Eid Al-Fitr) celebration, hit a cargo boat and capsized in the Meghna River. At least 15 of the Muslims aboard were killed, and several others remain missing.
If this happened in the United States to non-Muslims (as did Hurricane Katrina), the Bangladeshi Islamists would say (as many Islamists did) that the people died because they were Infidels, and Allah is showing his wrath. Or some such other extremist vitriol.
But since it happened in Bangladesh, we Infidels won’t say something like that about the Bangladeshis who populate what is now one of the key states in Jihad Central.

We note this because Bangladesh is still extremist, even though Sesame Street came to town. Last night on PBS a/k/a “Palestinian Broadcasting System,” an insipid 1.5 hour long program, “Independent Lens: The World According to Sesame Street,” showed us how the Sesame Workship people came to town in three parts of the world and, well, didn’t change much of anything.
They came to Kosovo and made separate shows for Serbs and Muslims, trying to force them to “understand” each other. But that didn’t stop Muslims from taking over the whole joint. They came to Africa and taught kids that you, too, can be HIV-positive. We cringed at the scene where 3-year-olds were watching the HIV muppet, Khami, telling another muppet that he is looking through a memory box of his mother because she’s dead of AIDS. Don’t kids get a childhood anymore? Not in the world according to Sesame Workshop.
Then, the Sesame people came to the extremists of Bangladesh. Except we’re not shown that they are Islamists or extremists. They are just nice people with an accent on PBS. The show goes out of it’s way to tell us that, due to stricter immigration rules after 9/11 (as if . . .), the Bangladeshis didn’t have enough time to get the proper visas to come to New York “to learn the Sesame process.” And they had to suffer and go to Africa to learn it there, instead. Pity.
Alas, after struggling with the political machinations of the Islamist Bangladeshi regime, “Sisimpur” (their Sesame Street) makes it on the air to government acclaim, etc. Nice to see it didn’t teach them anything about tolerance whatsoever, since journalist is facing a repeat prison term there and even the death penalty for daring to praise Israel and trying to visit. And, by the way, our tax money is funding this absurd Sesame Street project, through USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development).
Well, scientists were right when they said “Sesame Street” doesn’t teach kids how to read, just how to become addicted to television watching. And it also doesn’t teach tolerance to Islamists either.
“Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?”
Answer: 50 miles east ’til you smell it. 100 miles north ’til you step in it.

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8 Responses

By coincidence a contact emailed this to me today (I asked for a url, am waiting on a reply):
“The Sesame Street characters also have learned to count eight- and nine-digit
merchandising numbers. In his 1996 book, PBS: Behind the Screen, Laurence Jarvik called
the children’s program “an infomercial for the 5,000-plus licensed Sesame Street products
that gross over $800 million in retail sales around the world each year.” Sesame Street’s
production company, the Children’s Television Workshop, or CTW, took in an average of
slightly less than $20 million a year in licensing fees from merchandise and total revenues
of $112 million in 1996, according to CTW public-affairs manager Janice Hearty.
Yet, the federal government still provided $4.6 million this year for Sesame Street
production costs, according to Stu Kantor, PBS’ director of corporate communications.”

Jeremiah on October 26, 2006 at 1:30 am

“Don’t kids get a childhood anymore?” Uh, not when their mothers are dying of AIDS. Sesame Street is relating to those children at THEIR level, not at our level. The AIDS rate is huge, is devastating, and is an every day part of children’s lives in that part of the world. What the heck should Sesame Street address in the shows made for them? How much is sucks when you cable goes out?

titletown on October 26, 2006 at 10:46 am

Oops, I typed way too fast. It should say “How much it sucks when your cable goes out?”

titletown on October 26, 2006 at 10:47 am

url for that Sesame Street quote, above:
btw, The Muppet Show was even better than Sesame Street.

Jeremiah on October 26, 2006 at 3:52 pm

for the 2006 -07 season ernie and bert admit to having a relationship and they are going to open the case back up why mr. hooper died because the medical reports were forged, oh yeah why do they still have oscar living in a trash can i wonder why homeless supporter are not outraged by this stereotype and why big bird looks to much like howard stern these days, p.s. i am a stern supported like debbie.

PNAMARBLE on October 26, 2006 at 4:11 pm

“We note this because Bangladesh is still extremist”
I refute this as you are overgeneralizing. Yes as a Muslim majority state 84% of 140 million people were born as Muslims. About 50% are illiterate. Many are poor and have another culture. They barely bother what is happening in Afghanistan or Iraq as they have to think always how their next meal will be earned. They are sociable friendly. And the nation is a secular democracy finally, thanks to its cessation from a bloody battle with Pakistan in (1971) where approx 3 million Bengalis died in the process (Pakistanis commited genocide).
And you know what there are Bangladeshis like Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 peace prize winner (I hope you have heard about him).
But like many Muslim inhabitants extremism was imported and the religious parties gathered momentum here. Bangladesh faced some terrorist activities last year. This year the government cracked down on the extremists and no new terrorist activities happened lately. But still they are not an overwhelming force here. 5 years ago in last election they got almost 5% vote. The Islamic parties were taken into coalition by right leaning nationalist BNP who got almost 40% vote discounting leftwing oppositions 40% vote.
In the streets you will see 1 in 20 people wearing religious outfits. The Bangladesh civil society is much liberal and secular. The government is run under constitution, not Sharia like many Muslim autocracies. People believe in democracy and are fighting a war within the society to tackle the rise in fundamentalism.
So I would request you not to see Bangladesh in the eyes of the media. Know more about it from hundreds of Bangladeshi bloggers and see whether they are extremists or not. Isolated cases like Salah Uddin Shoaib’s, which is a govt. human rights abuse (for other issues not religious as explained in a comment in your previous post on Chowdhury) are protested within the society but not always we get the justice. And it is wrong to malign a society for government’s actions.
Like this welsh guy says:
“I for one am convinced that none of the people I know and love here have the slightest inclination to destroy our civilisation, as the media would have us believe. They have far more important things to be getting on with…”
Read the whole article.
And reminder of this Bangkok post article:
“don’t believe everything you read, hear, or see in and on the news about Bangladesh.”
I am not mad at your writing because you know what, like many in the Bangladesh we are disgusted with the political Islam and extremism, and government misuse of power and we are fighting our war against them.
But I sometimes wonder whose side are you on when you generalize Bangladeshis with extremists?

Rezwan on October 26, 2006 at 6:45 pm

My immediate response was something that I see titletown already conveyed.
While I agree with some of this (it sure didn’t help bring peace in Kosovo, and though you didn’t mention it, presumably in Israel either, where they do a separate Israeli and Palestinian edition), I don’t think you realize that in many African nations, a significant percentage of small children that age have one or sometimes even both parents dead of AIDS.
It would be one thing to do so in America, where this percentage is (contrary to the media) infinitesmely low and there’s no need to burden pre-school age kids with this, but in Africa this is reality for perhaps 1 in every 4 or 5 such kids. I would think addressing this in a manner that can work at their level and help them cope with an extreme stress that no 3 or 4 year old could endure is a good thing, not a bad.
I’m willing to be you watched Sesame Street as a kid Debbie….

hairymon on October 27, 2006 at 9:04 am

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