Image 1 of 11: Oprah in her Show Finale ended on her usual spiritual note, "find your calling" she urged, as this 'show' had been hers. Since her show is aired in the Middle East as well, a lot of people felt her mind should have been more opened up to our culture and reality.
Image 1 of 11: Queen Rania, 'the world's youngest living Queen': Oprah asks about the perks of being Queen- isn't it fun? Rania impresses Oprah on the hijaab: "We should judge women by what's going on in their heads rather than what's on top of their heads"- a quote a minute as Oprah croons
Image 1 of 11: Oprah's needs to do her 'research' : This show's segment profile on Nancy Ajram stirred controversy on Oprah's knowledge of the region. Calling Nancy the Britney Spears of the ME, she highlighted Lebanon as a "deeply conservative country," juxtaposing images of niqab by Nancy's sultry dance moves.
Image 1 of 11: Haifa rumored to feel left out. Why wasn't she picked out as the Britney Spears of the Middle East?(as Al Bawaba has on occasion named her)
Image 1 of 11: Dr. Lamees Hamdan: This Skype (at the time barred in the UAE) interview led critical fans to suggest Oprah "might try visiting the region before reporting on it." Guest upset Emirati viewers when she (mis)stated that water & electricity were free, and the shayla & abaya were "cultural" options.
Image 1 of 11: Dr. Mehmet Cengiz Oz - Turkish American fixture who brought some more Near- Eastern flavor to the domestic home-show: This doc now has his own show- The Dr. Oz Show -having aired as health expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show for five seasons. Here, show, The Biology of Blubber show:
Image 1 of 11: ‘Thank God we live in America': Oprah caused an upset in the Arab world, during an interview with battered Saudi Arabian wife Rania al-Baz, who in 2005 showed her face to Oprah & the world. Saudis objected that this face did not represent the average Saudi woman who lived a well-treated life.
Image 1 of 11: A more pro-Queen but still modern monarch, complete with Twitter and Facebook accounts, sits back and tells Oprah of her regular Mom activities, as car-pooling, nights in watching a movie, eating pizza with her husband, defining herself as 80% regular and 20% Queenly. 100% charming!
Image 1 of 11: Mauritanian Houda (R) on big beauty: cultural revelation for Arabs as U.S. "Women that are fat, they're happy." In Mauritania, dieting is unheard of & skinny is the new frumpy. Men appreciate stretch marks, and divorce is sexy and signals that you popularity with men- opportunity to try more men!
Image 1 of 11: Kuwaity girl power! Sheikha Zain al Subah dispels the idea of Arab women wishing to be Western: Kuwaity women have it good. Really good. They might lack the vote (2004, since redressed) but they sure can shop. Whether the're wearing veils or not, they wear the pants in Kuwait. - they are in charge.
Image 1 of 11: Oprah's final parting shot: "You and this show have been the great love of my life." Al Bawaba: That's lovely , but where does that leave us MBC viewers, stranded til we know what's in store for us at the daily slot of 7pm.
In the Middle East, courtesy of MBC, Oprah's much hyped show finale was aired yesterday, Saturday 28 May 2011, capping 25 years of the most popular talk show in America. Twenty-five years dedication to the job, and she has 'not called in a sick day', she reminds us since the show's first airing, September 8, 1986. Yesterday, 4,561 episodes later, the Middle East tuned in to a lady they'd mostly, with typical Arab hospitality, welcomed into their living rooms since the show aired on MBC 6 years ago.
Many of us can admit to having aunts, mothers, and sisters, who occasionally indulged in some Oprah time, and spent week night evenings with her. However she leaves behind some mixed feelings, in this region, and the distinct impression that her Mideast themed shows, on an otherwise customised show for American audiences, was poorly researched. Given that she was always preaching, never more so than in the final episode that 'All life is energy and we are responsible for the energy we bring', many regional viewers only wished this high-powered and highly influential pubic figure had been more responsible for the energy and more specifically the content, aired on her Women-Around- the -World series. The prevailing attitude in recent years was that since MBC had brought the show to us here, "she might have tried opening her mind up more to our part of the wrold"- A line you'd expect to hear from Oprah herself, the Queen of opening your mind.
Although she has personally never been to the Middle East, even interviewing one Arab guest on Skype, she has, over the years, tackled issues that affect people in the region. She has interviewed royalty and Arab celebrities and women from the region and spurred debates about domestic violence, women's rights and the rights of sexual minorities.
As predicted she did touch on her own life journey in the show finale, reminding herself as much as her fans, that her life had been nothing short of inspirational: From an abused child coming from an impoverished background to one of the world's most powerful women many times over: "As a young woman ready to embark on a career, my options back then seemed to fall between being a maid or teacher in a segregated school, and here I am."
Where next? Yesterday’s show tried to break the parting softly leaving us with a contact detail as parting gambit,. Ladies and Gentlemen, (Sayadaati wa Saadati) the most popular Woman left us with an email address- firstname.lastname@example.org- and the knowledge that this was not farewell but more ‘until we meet again’. Well, we already know that her next chapter is mapped out for her, on her own channel The Oprah Winfrey Network or OWN. So fans who relied on this Oprah life-line will not be cut off their female life-support-channel just yet.
Here are her Most Memorable Mideastern Moments