Uri Avnery – We publish “HaOlam HaZeh” in Arabic (151/315)

Uri Avnery – We publish “HaOlam HaZeh” in Arabic (151/315)


The next stage was… [AS] Was it the 1969 election? The next step was the War of Attrition. After two or three years
the Egyptians recovered. The Egyptian commander, who was
a personal friend of Nasser, committed suicide, Marshal Amer committed suicide. Nasser, after the Six Day
War was no longer the same man. He faded. Apparently he
also had serious diabetes. Then came Black September. I think that even before the Six Day War, we published an Arabic newspaper. One day we decided: we are
engaged in so many Arab issues it is absurd not to have an edition in Arabic and we published a weekly
magazine called Aalm al Hadjeh – HaOlam HaZeh in Arabic – which appeared every week. We had a lot of trouble with it. I came to the conclusion that a
person cannot be an editor of a newspaper if he cannot read it. I forgot to mention that in
the first years of the country’s existence we published a newspaper in Yiddish, I certainly cannot read a single word of it. although I understand spoken
Yiddish because it is similar to German, But the paper went bankrupt and we closed it. Then for an entire year, in 1954,
we published an English-language newspaper, quite a good newspaper
with partners in South Africa. Not quite top rate but satisfactory, relatively good English. Then the manager of
HaOlam HaZeh emigrated to Mexico, where he started HaOlam HaZeh
in Spanish. It was called Aseas, and it also folded after a while. We then published an Arabic newspaper and we had trouble with it. I put together a good editorial
staff with poet Samih al-Qasim, a serious poet, as the editor. The Arabic newspaper appeared
until one day someone said to me: ‘Tell me, HaOlam HaZeh in Arabic –
is it your newspaper or does it belong to Maki or Rakah? Slowly the entire editorial
board had become communist and they did whatever they wanted to, and the newspaper was filled with
communist content. So I fired them, of course, and an Iraqi Jew who worked with us,
Giladi, took it upon himself to publish the paper and also to edit it. The standard was much lower, but that was common in the Arab world, because once a week or
daily, I don’t remember, at the Allenby Bridge,
after the Six Day War, Israeli officers and
Jordanian officers would meet and exchange newspapers: all the Hebrew newspapers
were given to the Jordanians and all of the Arabic
newspapers were given to the officers. And so, many years later,
Yasser Arafat told me he had read HaOlam HaZeh
every week so he knew me, which rather surprised me. But this newspaper also deteriorated. People told me that it
was not well written, and we lost a lot of money, so eventually we closed it as well.

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