A Palestinian comedy group gets creative in raising awareness about the daily plight of the 1.7 million people living in Gaza.
Trying to ride the coat tails of a Volvo advertisement published last month featuring martial artist Jean-Claude Van Damme, Tashwesh Gaza (Gaza Jamming) made their own spoof of the viral video last week, which has gotten over 100,000 views on You Tube while creating quite the social media buzz.
Tashwesh is not the first to come up with a funny spoof on the mind-blowing stunt. Check out Hollywood star Channing Tatum’s spoof of the same Volvo commercial here. But the Palestinian take is by far more meaningful.
The Palestinian video has an Arabic voice over. Here is the English transcript.
The electricity cuts off 12 hours at a time. I have gone to sleep and woken up and the electricity would still not be back, and the water comes on when the electricity is off. I miss taking a shower! All of this does not make Van Damme better than me, but, unfortunately there is no gas in town.
While the lead subject in the Palestinian spoof - Mahmoud Zuiter – does not have Van Damme’s insane physical strength nor does he possess the flexibility for the Belgium star’s “Epic Split,” the message is clear. The people of Gaza do not have basic necessities like electricity, fuel and water.
Since 2007, Israel and Egypt have imposed a suffocating blockade at Gaza’s borders limiting the import of basic goods (not including some food items) while banning exports completely.
The ban has severely affected Gaza’s ability to provide electricity, healthcare, water and sanitation to its 1.7 million people. The smuggling channels that existed before Egypt’s July 2013 coup are now closed. These were used to transport fuel, food, construction supplies and other essential goods that would otherwise be stopped due to the crippling blockade.
While the creators of the humorous spoof, in an ABC interview, alluded to the fact that it was Van Damme’s fame and popularity that prompted their choice, it couldn’t be a coincidence that they chose to mimic a Volvo commercial.
Caption: In the morning of January 25, the Israeli army demolished two houses in the Bedouin village of Umm Al Kheer and seized a tractor in the village of Khallet el Mayya. Source: alternativenews.org
The Swedish auto manufacturing company is a symbol of the struggle of Palestinian people in relation to the destruction of their settlements by the Israeli military. For example, a Volvo bulldozer was used to demolish the Palestinian village of al-Khalayla on 18 April 2012. There are many incidents like these and even the UN’s ‘Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories,’ Richard Falk, highlighted Volvo’s activities in his recommendations to the General Assembly last year.