Egyptian TV: Simpsons Episode Proof Arab Spring Was Foreign Plot

A copy of a recent report from the Egyptian channel Al Tahrir, subtitled by the Middle East Media Research Institute, a neoconservative group in Washington that monitors the news media in Muslim countries and draws attention to offensive or ridiculous remarks.

For The New York TimesRobert Mackey reports: During a recent broadcast on the Egyptian television channel Al Tahrir, the anchor Rania Badawy alerted viewers to what she called video evidence which “suggests that what is happening in Syria today was premeditated.” She then presented an 80-second clip from an episode of “The Simpsons” first broadcast in early 2001 and later dubbed into French and posted on YouTube.

After screening the animated clip — a parody of a music video that includes images of bombs being dropped on fighters in Middle Eastern dress — the anchor pointed out that the cartoon soldiers drawn in 2001 were pictured in a jeep decorated with a version of the Syrian flag that opposition protesters and rebels started waving in 2011. “The flag was created before the events took place,” Ms. Badawy asserted. “That’s why people are saying on Facebook that this is a conspiracy — in 2001, there was no such thing as the flag of the Syrian opposition.”

While the anchor called the inclusion of the flag in an episode of the cartoon a mystery — “How it reached this animated video nobody knows, and this has aroused a debate on the social networks” — she insisted that the image “raises many question marks about what happened in the Arab Spring revolutions and about when this global conspiracy began.”

State-run channels across the Arab world have frequently claimed that the uprisings against authoritarian rule in 2011 were the work of foreign plotters, so the accusation is not new. It is sobering, however, to hear the accusation broadcast on a station set up that year (just days after Hosni Mubarak was forced from power), named for Tahrir Square and promising to air the views of the young revolutionaries.

But by treating the cartoon flag as evidence of a foreign plot to destabilize Syria — a theory first articulated a year ago by supporters of President Bashar Al-Assad who claimed to have decoded the “subliminal messaging” of Zionist plotters — Ms. Badawy demonstrated a lack of familiarity with crucial aspects of both Syrian history and details of the “Simpsons” episode…(read more)

YouTube – New York Times

 



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