It's often frustrating when you're a war reporter and you're covering these places that far away. You're frustrated by making stories that people can't connect to in any way. It's hard for Americans to connect to Arabic-speaking Iraqis in refugee camps or Pashto-speaking Afghans in the countryside, and having a character who is a vehicle through which you're allowed to make these relationships really allowed us to gain in an emotional weight that was difficult for us to do any other way to make it all human.
George Bush, within a week of this [the 9/11 attacks], in a speech, attempting to distinguish US from the Muslim fundamentalists, said Our God is the God who named the stars. The problem is: two-thirds of all stars that have names, have Arabic names. I don't think he knew this. That would confound the point that he was making.
MEMRI allows an audience far beyond the Arabic-speaking world to observe the wide variety of Arab voices speaking through the media, schoolbooks, and pulpits to their own people. What one hears is often astonishing, sometimes frightening, and always important. Most importantly, it includes the newly-emerging liberal voices of reform and hope, as well as disturbing echoes of ancient hatreds. Without the valuable research of MEMRI, the non-Arabic speaking world would not have this indispensable window.
Somebody gotta tell you this: Cancer kills way more Americans than any Arabic terrorist. We use more money to fight them than finding a cure, So a little kid sits there with his chemo-therapist. Hair falling out while his vital signs weaken... He'll be dead while his parent are in debt for his treatment.
In addition to its use in arithmetic and science, the Hindu-Arabic number system is the only genuinely universal language on Earth, apart perhaps for the Windows operating system, which has achieved the near universal adoption of a conceptually and technologically poor product by the sheer force of market dominance.