Sathosa
May 21, 2018

Ramadan themed advert featuring world leaders go viral (Video)

Ramadan-themed advertisement from Kuwait-based telecommunications group Zain has gone viral with appearances from look-alikes of a number of world leaders.

The clip, which is about three-and-a-half minutes long, is called "Mr. President" and features a young Arab child singing to major heads of state, appealing for them to end the conflicts in the Middle East. The lyrics touch upon violent bombing campaigns across the region, the refugee crisis and the controversial U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move its embassy there, despite conflicting Palestinian claims to the holy city.

In an opening shot, the boy is seen confronting President Donald Trump's doppelgänger in the Oval Office. He invites him to "break fast with me, if you find home in the debris." The child is then seen around a dinner table with two young children, a man in a wheelchair and a man dressed as Russian President Vladimir Putin. The U.S. has been at war in the Middle East since invading Iraq in 2003, and Russia joined the war in Syria in 2015.

The advertisement next features likenesses of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attempting to save migrants who have washed ashore, referencing the tragic case of Alan Kurdi with the line "death boats reach the land of dreams with no children on the cover of magazines." It then cuts to the spitting image of North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un walking into the young singer's bedroom as the boy says he cannot sleep due to the sound of bombing; the room is shown to be destroyed.

After highlighting the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, the boy tells Trump, "Mr. President, our iftar will be in Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine, as written in God's answer to the prayer of all time." The line is likely a reference to the ongoing violence as Palestinians protest for their right to return to lands they lived in prior to 1948 that then became part of Israel, and Trump's decision to open Washington's embassy to Israel in Jerusalem, a move that upended decades of status quo and drew extensive international criticism.

Israeli security forces killed up to 62 protesters on the border of Israel and the Palestinian enclave of Gaza. Israel and the U.S. blamed Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which runs Gaza, for the violence, while the United Nations and a number of U.S. allies in the Middle East condemned Israel's response.

After he sings to Trump, the boy smashes a lock to free a young, kaffiyeh-wearing blonde-haired girl - not unlike jailed Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi - from a prison cell. As the pair run toward the Old City of Jerusalem, all the world leaders are shown looking into the camera. The two children then approach the city, which is highlighted by the revered Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The two children are then joined by six men wearing thawbs and kaffiyeh traditional to the Arabian Peninsula and likely symbolic of the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Since June 2017, Saudi Arabia has led several of its Arab and foreign allies in a total boycott of Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and fostering ties to Shiite Muslim–power Iran.

The video received mixed reviews among audiences. Some high-profile individuals such as Jordan's Queen Rania shared the video on Twitter, saying "We’d do well to listen to children’s voices," and former Omani Shura Council Vice President Ishaq bin Salim al-Siabi said that "on the tongue of an honorable Arab child, carrying the innocence of childhood and the courage of men, words were launched that would shake Zionism and its supporters."

A number of activists and social commentators protested, however, feeling it was a commercialistic opportunity that did not reflect properly on the gravity of the issues raised. Emirati Cinema Akil founder Butheina Hamed Kazim tweeted, "From one misguided tragedy-hacking Ramadan ad to yet an even more grotesque menagerie of calamities."

Kazim was referring to Zain's Ramadan 2017 advertisement, which urged Muslims to "love not terror" and featured a would-be suicide bomber preparing to attack before being talked out of the act by a child and other Muslim figures.

(newsweek.com)

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by newsweek.com has not been edited by SLM staff)

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