Rush Darwish radio show rocks issues and listeners on Yahala Voice
By Ray Hanania
Having done radio for more than 20 years of my 40 years in journalism and communications, I have never seen anyone else in the American Arab community come closer to producing a broadcast program that has the potential to touch regular old mainstream Americans better than Rashid “Rush” Darwish.
It takes a lot of talent to fill up a 90 minute radio show as he does every week on Yahala Voice radio, which is broadcast live online at www.YahalaVoice.com and on WCEV 1450 AM Radio every Wednesday from 4:30 pm until 6 pm.
But it takes brains to be able to present yourself in a way that Americans can easily identify with, something that most American Arabs and Muslims who have grabbed the mantel of representation of our community have failed to do so miserably.
You can’t just get out there and “speak English” to get Americans to better understand the very frustrating and complicated issues surrounding the Middle East conflict, or even hope to get Americans to see the truly black side of Israel’s government policies which are brutal, oppressive and contradict every international law that has ever been defined by humankind.
It takes someone who can speak “American.” And that’s how Rush and his longtime co-host “Naperville Bob,” (Bently Patterson), who everyone just calls “Bawb,” have been able to connect with Americans who really get most of their education from Hollywood movies, television programs and in the past decade from the Internet about the Middle East. Rush and Bawb are unlike most other activists and talented media people who want to help Americans break through the Israeli-imposed fog on intelligence and facts about Palestinians and how their land has been stolen, how their people have been murdered and how Israeli injustice imprisons their civil rights and freedoms. The rest want to publish academic books through their universities, lengthy dissertations that are as dry and boring to read as they are complicated with oftentimes more small-text footnotes than interesting passages.
The new media is the Internet, and the most effective old media to reach mainstream Americans is radio and Rush and Bawb on their program, called “Rise-up” are succeeding to do it.
The problem, of course, is also waking up the Arab community here in America, a community that is numbed by pathetic leadership, accustomed to no or pathetically and extremely poor communications practices, and so victimized by rising discrimination and hatred that if anyone says “boo” we jump in screaming emotional tirades as our community is carted off to jail.
No, it is no easy experience to be American Arab or American Muslim in any city in post-Sept. 11, 2001 America. It was always bad before, but now it is worse. Yet, Rush and Bawb are not giving up the fight to wake the community up with reason, intelligent discussion and a new dialogue that hopefully will replace the old garbage that has been passed of as pro-Arab and pro-Muslim “narrative.” It hasn’t been a “narrative” before that Arab and Muslim leaders have been giving to Americans. It has been a confused mass of unintelligible mush that makes no sense to the average mainstream American.
But if Arabs and Muslims would just stop pretending to be Einsteins and start listening, they just might be able to grab the tail of a new education lion in the community hosted by Rush and Bawb called “Rise-Up Radio” on Yahala Voice radio each week.
Maybe, if the community would wake up from their politically drug-induced slumber, they might be able to help Rise-Up Radio and Yahala Voice stimulate the even more sleepyhead Americans who think they know everything about the Middle East, Arab World, Terrorism, freedom, Civil rights, and Palestine to realize they know nothing.
I was on the show Wednesday and it was the closest thing I have ever experienced been in an Arab broadcast to a professional American driven radio show. And I was on the best including 10 years on the 50,000 Watt WLS AM behemoth of radio shows, and WLUP FM and WBBM AM AND FM radio stations, too. But the pro-Israel movement saw how effective Arabs could be while the Arab community remained sleepy and bleary eyed and they put the kabaahsh on that career pretty quickly.
But we don’t need the mainstream anymore and I watched as Rush and Bawb delivered finely tuned messages on the news of the day.
Who else in the American news media is talking about Mohammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, the 16 year old Palestinian teenager who was kidnapped and brutally murdered by three Israeli settlers? That happened July 1, the day after the world found the bodies of three Israeli teenagers who allegedly were kidnapped by Hamas extremists on June 12 and dominated the media headlines in every possible level for every day since. Everything is about the Israeli teenager deaths and nothing is about the Palestinian teenager deaths. And yes, I said deaths, because Khdeir is only one of some dozen Palestinian kids who have been murdered by Israeli soldiers and by Israeli fanatic settler terrorists who terrorize the Israeli occupied West Bank with impunity and backing of the fanatic Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu.
No one else is talking about the Palestinian victims as if they were human beings than Rush and Bawb on their radio show. Everyone is referring to Khdeir as if he is just another statistic. The Arab and Muslim activists are all falling into the trap, referring to obscure statistics and date that “10 Palestinians have been killed int he past 8 weeks” and that “more than 1,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned” and that “more than “500 homes and farms have been destroyed by Israel.” No one is putting a face to Mohammed Khdeir and the Palestinians who are being killed, except Rush and Bawb.
Their show defines the new message that needs to get out. We are not just statistics as the Israelis portray as and as our own Arab and Muslim leaders portray us in screaming conferences, speeches, protests and irrationally written articles in the Arab media. We are human beings. And you can hear the emotion when Rush shares his personal feelings during the show with listeners who can call in and guests in the modern studios at Yahala Voice.
I am always amazed and in awe when I walk into Yahala Voices studios in Bridgeview, Illinois. It’s like I am walking into the headquarters of Clear Channel, Cumulus Network and Westwood One, some of the biggest and baddest radio networks in the world who spit and cough out pro-Israel propaganda into the minds of the unknowing Americans who act like Zombies when it comes to facts and truth in Palestine and the Middle East.
Heck, Americans are all huddled around their television sets, that even Americans deride as the “Boob Tubes,” and absorb all the lies and distortions and stereotypes and racism portrayed by the latest addition to Middle East understanding, FX TV’s new TV series on Tuesday night called “Tyrant.” The story of the typical Arab who typically murders children, rapes innocent women, and boys, and lavishly spends their nation’s oil wealth on luxuries that are obscene.
Now they have a chance to huddle around a truly professional radio show based in Chicago, one of only two great radio shows that exist. The other is US Radio Network in Detroit which broadcasts to the Midwest through several radio stations out of WNZK 690 AM based on Dearborn, Michigan and WDMV 700 AM based in Washington DC each morning Monday through Friday at 8 am EST Time and hosted by Laila Alhusini, an American Syrian immigrant who singlehandedly has redefined American radio in the heart of the American Arab community in Detroit.
There is on radio broadcast in Houston that is so pathetic, anti-American in its content, poorly articulated in English and so confused by rhetoric and all the messages that Americans don’t want to hear but the host doesn’t care because like a lot of Arabs in America, it’s all about making yourself the community “president for life.” The “dictator” of the Arab and Muslim community. They don’t want Arabs or Americans to think, just to listen to their firebrand “yelling in all CAPS” — something that if you don’t understand or can’t comprehend what that means, you shouldn’t be doing any public speaking or lobbying or communicating with anyone except maybe your wife!
Rush Darwish and Naperville Bawb are going to change things. It’s small now. Only 90 minutes. They have some advertising support and they certainly could use more to help publicize what they are doing. But they are going to change things dramatically, with your help, the listening public out there.
If you don’t live in Chicagoland, you can listen to their show every Wednesday at 4:30 pm by visiting the phenomenal website www.YahalaVoice.com. If you are in Chicago, Yahala Voice broadcasts every single day online 24/7, and also on WCEV AM 1450 radio between 4 and 6 pm. Tune in on your car radio and call in and give them a hand. You will be helping yourself by helping them.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and political columnist. He is the managing editor of The Arab Daily News at www.TheArabDailyNews.com.)
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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