Children's program on Palestinian TV propagates Islamic world leadership

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Farfur, a Mickey Mouse-like character, gestures holding a firearm while an 11-year-old caller to the children's program Tomorrow's pioneers sings a Hamas anthem with the lyrics: "Rafah sings 'oh oh', its answer is an AK-47."

The children's show 'Tomorrow's pioneers' on Al-Aqsa TV, which is controlled by Hamas, is hosted by a character resembling Mickey Mouse, who tells young viewers to drink milk, study hard and fight for Islamic world leadership and commit violence against Israel and the United States.

The images date from April but have made the press earlier this week. Meanwhile the show was reported to have been put on hold, pending a "full revision", according to the Palestinian Minister of Information Mustafa Barghouti. But a representative from Al Aqsa TV called this a mistake, so the show might still be aired on Friday.

At the beginning of the video Farfur (Butterfly), an actor in a mouse suit, calls for Islamic world leadership, starting in Palestine. He pleads for the restoration of the glory of Palestine, the liberation of Jerusalem, Iraq, and "the Muslim countries, invaded by murderers." "We will resist and protect against the Zionist occupation," co-host Saraa predicts. Saraa is only a young girl. A report by Fox News claims that children have been used before for Palestinian propaganda.

The children's program is filmed in a studio with fuzzy dice and colourful letters and numbers on the wall. In this setting the shows hosts proclaim things like: "We will win, Bush. We will win, Sharon. Ah, Sharon is dead..."

Another fragment shows how an 11-year-old girl calls the show and sings "Rafah sings 'oh oh', its answer is an AK47," which is a Kalashnikov assault rifle. The fake Mickey Mouse gestures holding a firearm.

Meanwhile the footage has been watched over 100,000 times on YouTube. The images were edited by the Israeli organisation Palestinian Media Watch, which studies and brings to attention the role of the Palestinian authority on the media and schoolbooks. The Middle East Media Research Institute was also involved in bringing the show under the attention.

Walt Disney's only living daughter, Diane Disney Miller, has already reacted to the news. She was shocked by the show, and called it "pure evil".

According to the Palestinian Minister of Information Mustafa Barghouti (who is independent from both Hamas and Fatah), the show is an illustration of the struggle of the Palestinian people against the Israeli occupation. "It's a situation of imprisonment for years. And that oppression, this apartheid system, of course drives people crazy and creates certain reactions as the one you have seen," Barghouti explained. He also called the shows content "very unfortunate," and a "mistaken approach" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.