The TinTin Inspiration :
I went to watch Black Gold ,the French/ Qatari movie, in a local movie theater three weeks ago. As I sat to watch the movie ,I could not stop a continuous flow of memories . It took me back to the 1960’s , to a mental state I had experienced when I was reading the Arabic translated comic series TinTin . During childhood years ,my mother used to buy me comic books and other fiction books that were translated to Arabic in Cairo and Beirut. I do owe these early reading the love of writing . All these stories were filmed later on by Disney for the generations that followed our generation , Pinocchio , Sleeping Beauty and the rest . Nothing has ever confused me like TinTin . In these comic strips the Bedouin Arab was portrayed as a man of a simplistic mind , childlike , violent , un trust worthy , greedy , coward and slave trader . Complete contrast to the figure of a Bedouin , I have encountered in reality as a child ,my maternal great grandfather Humaid Bin Saif . A lively character , poetic , courageous , generous and very gentle. The mental trick , I found at the time to resolve this confusion was to convince myself that Tin Tin was adventuring among other Arab Bedouins who do not resemble us . The European boy scout Tin Tin was invented by a cartoonist called Georges Remi ( pen name Herge ) for the children's supplement of a conservative, Catholic newspaper in Belgium ,The Twentieth Century . Many of these comics were written in the 1930’s . The Adventures of Tintin were published later as a series of 23 comic-strip albums after the Second World War.
“ Four of the albums featured TinTin’s adventures in Arabian lands . Cigars of the Pharaoh (1934), The Crab with the Golden Claws (1941)( TinTin hunting drug lords), The Red Sea Sharks (1958) ( TinTin tackling the African slave trade on the road to Mecca ) and In Land of Black Gold, an album that witnessed three editions and three different stories before it was published in its final form in 1970  .
Tintin’s comics have been revised in different editions several times to accommodate complaints from different ethnic groups like Africans and Jewish for their racist content . It was not surprising that some characters of a villainous nature that were African or Jewish in the original editions were replaced by an Arab character .” TinTin adventures in the “ Land of Black Gold, set in Palestine, was rewritten after complaints about the plot, featuring Jewish terrorists led by a Rabbi. After the Holocaust, Herge’s British publishers asked him to replace the terrorists with Arab characters “ . “An American edition of Tintin replaced a black character with a vaguely Arab looking villain “
Black Gold movie not only was inspired by the title of TinTin adventures Land Of Black Gold , but went further to borrow the main theme , the essence of the story and most importantly Georges Remi ‘s Arabs .
TinTin Black Gold
DFI – Tarak Ben Ammar Black Gold
Fictional desert city of Khemed surrounded by sandy landscape .
Fictional desert cities of Hobeika and Salmaah surrounded by sandy landscape .
Mohammed Ben Kalish Ezab is the greedy sheikh who wants to offer oil concessions
Nesib is the greedy sheikh who wants to offer oil concessions
Sheikh Bab El Her rejecting oil concessions and sabotaging oil wells .
Sheikh Ammar rejecting oil concessions and sabotaging oil wells.
TinTin travels through sandy storms to save oil supplies
The enlightened prince Auda and his western educated step- brother Ali travel through sand storms to finalize the conflict and set the wheel for oil supplies
Encounter of slave traders ( in the Red sea Sharks)
Encounter of salve traders
And of course sandy storms and deadly thirst depicted in many Hollywood films . Prince Auda and his followers take a long dangerous route . They travel through what is called Allah’s house , a land looked like the Empty Quarter where people fell dead one after the other of thirst and sandy storms !!!!.. I guess if Lesley Hazleton had watched the film she would be puzzled by an Arab co financed film failing to give a proper description of Allah’s house . To any average Muslim , Allah owns the whole universe not only a piece of harsh sandy land in some Arabian desert . Did the script writer mean that a Muslim (Arab) paradise must be sandy and stormy and even a Muslim born prince Auda , who regularly recites Quran, would questions Allah’s need of it . Hazleton ,the Jewish explorer of Quran , gives a much brighter speak of the Quranic idea of paradise where thirst and sandy storms is not a possibility but “gardens watered by running steams “. 
Auda and his friends who had been raised in sand surrounded Hobeika and Salmaah have no desert skills what so ever. His followers fall on sand dead of thirst and huge number of bodies left unburied . In reality , Arabia is not all sand and the inhabitants of sandy regions in the Arabian peninsula have the knowledge and the fortitude to adjust to their own environment , in some cases they can even recognize different people by their footprints on sand. The Empty Quarters , a book written by St John Philby since 1933  , should have already separated the myths and realities of the inhabitants of sandy landscapes .
Lila , the princess of Hobeika looks like the Scheherazade of “one and one thousand nights” or the Middle Eastern woman in an Orintalist painting . Lila is depicted in her wedding day as a forward woman ,eroticized, veiled and dressed like a belly dancer. Dr. Rubina Ramji Of the University of Ottawa described this image of Muslim women in Western media in an article published in the journal of Religion and Film ( 2005) , as follows : “There have also been a handful of movies that depict Muslim women as compassionate and heroic. In general though, the majority of the movies that offered images of Muslim women envisioned them as silent, shapeless bundles under black garb, eroticized, veiled belly dancers ”
Auda ‘s group meet the Nasaires , the slave trader tribe who mistreat their hostages ; women from other tribes . The kidnapped black woman from the Zameri tribe does not cover her hair and wear a midi dress with a contemporary Afro hair style . She tells Auda that the Zameri women do not wear hijab and they ride horses . Auda asks her : does his mother , a Zameri woman , whom he left as a child of around four years , looked like her ( i.e. black ) ,she responded no she was from a fine or high level breed !!!! . Horse riding capability is confined to non –hijabed women , women hijab prevails in some tribes and not in others , and only a white woman would be a mother of a prince . A “politically correct” version of an Arab princess is a white woman ,can ride horses and most importantly un-hijabed .
These are few examples of the misrepresentations of local history and culture .
Aljazeera Documentary Channel interviewed Dr Jack G. Shaheen Professor of Mass Communication at Southern Illinois University who published a book called “Reel Bad Arabs” . His book shed light on : How Hollywood Vilifies a People”. Jack G. Shaheen analyzed more than 1000 films . DFI could have asked him to review the script of Black Gold before producing it to avoid internalizing stereotypical images repeated in western media. Edward Saied did wrote of Arab elites internalizing the orientalist’s images of Arab culture where Arabs allow themselves to be represented in this way by not putting any effort to change this process . Unfortunately in Black Gold movie we did not only internalized stereotypes of the Arabs found in western media , we actually funded them .
 The Empty Quarter: A description of the great south desert of Arabia known as Rub 'al Khali (London: Constable & Company Ltd) 1933 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_John_Philby.