- First there was the Ghaddafi "Amazonian Guard" or "Lady Guard":
"Women should be trained for combat, so that they do not become easy prey for their enemies." -Ghadaffi
- Then there were the Egyptian martial-arts trained "Lady Guards" created by an Egyptian security company to help wealthy women feel more comfortable while being guarded:
- And, there were reports about female boxing champions being considered for future Olympics:
- And now we see the rise of Iranian female "ninjas":
A few months ago, I saw the recruitment video on BBC that was played on Iranian television to recruit female warriors. The video is a bit humorous to watch, but the message remains the same: Middle Eastern women are gaining momentum. Perhaps one can argue that the original intent of the male leadership was to create an infantry of women who could be sacraficed first for a given cause, but empowering Arab women to such a degree will likely be as significant as giving American women riveting jobs during WWII.
Unfortunately, Reuters decided to add their own spin to this evolution. Instead of reporting the facts of this bizarre campaign, mass media--Reuters in this case--decided to spin it to be as eye-popping and news-worthy as they could make it by labeling them as "terrorists" to perhaps inspire shock and awe. Such contentious language should have been more carefully considered before use. And yet, many wonder why mass media isn't generally as trusted these days? Western mass-media is a public diplomacy ambassador in it's own way. Their words and actions can have ramifications for other journalists as well as other nations.
Iran suspends Reuters news bureau 'indefinitely' -AFP, 2 Apr 2012
TEHRAN — The Tehran bureau of international news agency Reuters has been "suspended indefinitely" because of a report it issued mischaracterising Iranian female ninjas as "terrorists," authorities said on Monday.
The head of the department in the culture and Islamic guidance ministry that monitors foreign media in Iran, Mohammad Javad Aghajari, announced the decision in a statement published by the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
"The decision was taken following the production of a video clip by this news agency's video department branding some Iranian female athletes who practice ninjutsu as terrorists," he was quoted as saying.
The report referred to was sent to Reuters clients in early February and showed female ninjas training in the city of Karaj, northwest of Tehran.
Reuters said last week the report went out with the headline "Thousands of female Ninjas train as Iran's assassins" but, after complaints were received from Iran, it was changed to "Three thousand women Ninjas train in Iran".
Iran's state-funded Press TV reported that several female ninjas in the story planned to sue Reuters for defamation.
In a report on Monday, Press TV said Reuters had failed to apologise for accusing the female ninjutsu practitioners of being "undercover assassins in the service of the Islamic Republic."
Aghajari, in his comments published by IRNA, said the Reuters report "left a very negative image" by insinuating that "the teaching of assassination and terrorism (occurs) in Iran."
He said the ninja report showed "a desire within this news agency to manipulate public opinion."
Aghajari said the Reuters bureau was suspended "until the complete review of the issue."
The Iranian authorities routinely monitor and restrict the activities of foreign journalists.
Their sensitivity over the way Iran is portrayed in Western media has become more acute in recent years, since the coverage of mass protests in 2009 over a disputed re-election win by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.