Suicide Bombing: Just Say No.
August 18, 2006 9:09 PM   Subscribe

Suicide Bombing: Just Say No. Hollywood-style anti-suicide bombing PSA now in heavy rotation on Iraqi TV. Previously discussed here before the spot was finished.
posted by CunningLinguist (57 comments total)

 
That might work if the goal of suicide bombers wasn't to wantonly kill people and create mayhem, fear and chaos.

But it worked so well on drugs!
posted by nanojath at 9:19 PM on August 18, 2006


Looks kinda like the opening to Swordfish.
posted by bobo123 at 9:24 PM on August 18, 2006


Thanks, bobo, that's the first Metafilter comment I've enjoyed in a long time.
posted by Kirklander at 9:25 PM on August 18, 2006


Hollywood's sending mixed signals, though... Remember that home-grown, born in the Yew-Ess-Ay suicide bomber that took out the giant spaceship in Independence Day? I mean, that's where those Iraqis got the idea in the first place, whuddinit?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:27 PM on August 18, 2006


This commercial makes suicide bombing look so cool!
posted by bshort at 9:36 PM on August 18, 2006


If this works anything like "Just say no" to drugs, we can expect even more now.
posted by SirOmega at 9:44 PM on August 18, 2006


That'll help.
posted by taosbat at 9:54 PM on August 18, 2006


"Mommy, when I grow up I want to be a suicide bomber!"
posted by liquorice at 10:11 PM on August 18, 2006


An article about this video.

Another type of anti-suicide commercial.
posted by nickyskye at 10:15 PM on August 18, 2006


Dammit bob, that's exactly what I thought when I saw this. I was thinking "Huh. Did they just repurpose the Swordfish intro?". Startlingly similar.
posted by Stunt at 10:16 PM on August 18, 2006


err, bobo. way to go posting early without meaning to.

Also, does anyone have any idea what it says at the end? I can't see how this is supposed to change much. by making people see the effects of those actions? I think they're pretty damn aware of it, already.
posted by Stunt at 10:18 PM on August 18, 2006


It's a verse from the Qur'an. It says, roughly, that to kill a person is akin to killing all of humanity. (verse 5:32)
posted by omarr at 10:33 PM on August 18, 2006


I'd rather blow myself up than watch Swordfish again.
posted by ninjew at 10:51 PM on August 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


That spaceship was a military target. Besides, it was a kamikaze attack, not a suicide bombing.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:52 PM on August 18, 2006


That Swordfish trailer can be seen here.

It's sort of troubling to me that a PSA meant to deter violence would be shot like the opening scene of an action movie. Even the kid's shoe dropping is an action movie trope. It almost looks like an advertisement for suicide bombers...
posted by maryh at 10:57 PM on August 18, 2006


I'm glad someone is finally spreading the word on the harmful effects of suicide bombing. Some people suicide bomb 3 times a week and live to be 85.
posted by muppetboy at 11:01 PM on August 18, 2006


I'd hit it.
posted by Leather McWhip at 11:06 PM on August 18, 2006


And after this spot, Youtube recommends as related a Kylie video.

I mean, really, she's not that bad.
posted by pompomtom at 11:12 PM on August 18, 2006


Thanks for the translation omarr. What's your opinion of the ad?

I agree with you maryh.
posted by nickyskye at 11:14 PM on August 18, 2006


This commercial makes suicide bombing look so cool!

I agree, it really does make suicide-bombing look cool.

You have to understand what motivates the suicide bomber. It's not hate as much as it is hopelessness. If you feel like your country or your people have no future if you don't "win" then it doesn't matter what happens. I mean think about how you would feel if Shiite death squads working for the interior ministry had just killed your parents. You're pissed so you blow yourself up in a Shiite district. Do you care about that kid? Not at all, he's the other. He's going to inherit your country after his people drive yours out of the country.

Or something likes that. The point is, this ad is stupid.
posted by delmoi at 11:19 PM on August 18, 2006


ninjew : I'd rather blow myself up than watch Swordfish again.

Oh, come on ninjew, I've agreed with you on so many points, and this is where we part ways? Swordfish may be a bad movie, but really, let's check the facts:

1.) Halle Berry topless = double plus good. If I can't bring you in on this point, the rest of this discussion is pointless.

2.) A TVR Tuscan is a beautiful thing to behold.

3.) c'mon, a scene where someone pulls a SAW out of a trunk and ends a bunch of cars/ people... That's just fun.

4ish.) From a wannabe editor standpoint, (and say what you will, the editing in the opening scene is flawless.) Someone in the production crew knew what they were doing.

If we are going to disagree on these points, clearly we not likely agree on anything again. :p

Which is to say I found this short very sad. I believe we are a long way off from using Hollywood styled filmography from having any influence on our enemies.
posted by quin at 11:37 PM on August 18, 2006


Chapter 5 Verse 32 of the Qur'an (quoted at the end of the anti-suicide commercial): "...anyone who kills any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he killed all the people. And anyone who spares a life, it shall be as if he spared the lives of all the people..."

The Qur’an says about the prohibition of murder, “…Take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus does He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.” (al-An’am 6:151) and Allah says in the Qur’an, “Nor take life - which Allah has made sacred - except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, We have given his heir authority (to demand Qisas or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the law)” (al-Isra’ 17:33). According to the Qur’an, killing any person without a just cause is as big a sin as killing the whole humanity and saving the life of one person is as good deed as saving the whole humanity. (See al-Ma’idah 5:32)
posted by nickyskye at 11:46 PM on August 18, 2006


what they need is Keanu Reeves actually narrating the Qur'an verse in his patent Matrix rasp:

"I just... don't... understand... ... ...why people suicide bomb."
posted by odasaku at 11:55 PM on August 18, 2006


Someone should redo that video and instead of having the qur'an verse, add a Nike logo.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:05 AM on August 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


nickyskye: While I appreciate the message they're trying to send, I don't think it's going to make a significant impact.

Your typical suicide bomber is not an independent thinker. The people recruiting them and sending them off to commit these disgusting acts know exactly what the Qur'an says, and they're quite adept at twisting the words around to fit their needs.

There are, of course, many ways to resist without killing yourself and/or innocent people in the process.
posted by omarr at 12:20 AM on August 19, 2006


Watched it again, and afterward YouTube recommended this David Lynch PSA. Woodsy the Owl and Crying Indian, step aside and let Entropy the Rat take stage center. Litterbugs feed the terror at our heels!
posted by maryh at 1:12 AM on August 19, 2006


I love that bit when the guy flies through the window, and the dudes in the cafe are like ohhhhh shit. This is probably the most effective dynamite ad I've ever seen. What's the brand?
posted by stammer at 2:17 AM on August 19, 2006


"That spaceship was a military target. Besides, it was a kamikaze attack, not a suicide bombing.

yo, furiousxgeorge, that spaceship was a computer animated graphic in a movie. And a kamikaze attack, last time I looked, is essentially a suicide bombing. OK, you wanna get nitpicky about it: a suicide planing. Which reminds me, Independence Day was the inspiration for the 9/11 guys, too. Incredibly influential film, that one...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:56 AM on August 19, 2006


The Shiite hits the fan: Wonder if it would have been better to first establish the boy as the bombers little brother? As someone he's looked up to over the years. And then their eyes meet at the last second?
posted by hal9k at 3:24 AM on August 19, 2006


"...anyone who kills any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he killed all the people."

This is indeed an important qualification.
So according to the Q'uran it is not necessarily a sin to kill people. Only if those killed have not committed any horrendous crimes. So if we define collaboration with the Western infidels as a crime, then it becomes totally OK to kill most Iraqis. Also, simply being a Shiite is probably a crime too in their eyes. We also know that the Americans in Iraq are murderers, so according to the Q'uran, it's OK to kill them.

delmoi: You have to understand what motivates the suicide bomber. It's not hate as much as it is hopelessness.

I think you got that one wrong, delmoi. They are totally driven by hate.
posted by sour cream at 4:29 AM on August 19, 2006


"They are totally driven by hate."

Isn't it just a wee bit presumptious to assume that you know what anyone is totally driven by? I don't see how you can discount the possibility that feelings of hopelessness (and any number of other reasons) drive people to do suicide bombings. When we reduce everything down to black and white (i.e: it's just hate and hate alone) we oversimplify what are in fact much more complex sets of reasons and circumstances.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:43 AM on August 19, 2006


What bothers me is that I've been conditioned by summer movies to see well-filmed mayhem like guys blasting through plate glass in slo-mo as entertainment. This just feels slick - as if your reaction is supposed to be: "oh cooooool!"


If I were making this ad, I'd have the last scene be a bunch of stereotypically evil Americans and Jews watching on TV from afar and laughing as the Muslims kill each other. Not PC, but I bet it would be far more effective.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:45 AM on August 19, 2006


I was unimpressed. I would have hoped that our tax dollars could have created something more realistic.

Plus, it's like totally missing a Praxis Effect when the suicide bomber blows himself up.
posted by moonbiter at 5:20 AM on August 19, 2006


I thought it was pretty good. It's not meant to deter determined suicide bombers but rather to reinforce the disgust reasonable Iraqis feel towards suicide bombers. Rally the base, as it were.
posted by thirteenkiller at 5:45 AM on August 19, 2006


"Someone should redo that video and instead of having the qur'an verse, add a Nike logo."

Except, with a red bar across it. "Just don't do it."
posted by clevershark at 6:29 AM on August 19, 2006


"Someone should redo that video and instead of having the qur'an verse, add a Nike logo."

I think we can expect a viral version from Nike, where they CG the Nike swish onto the little shoe that falls.

And, yeah, I'm with delmoi and others who've pointed out that, if anything, this style utterly glamorizes the bombing. Plus, the bomber is way handsome, the kind of guy who's gonna get, you know, even more virgins in heaven than your average Ahmed and Abdul.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:38 AM on August 19, 2006


The worst job in the world has to be teacher at a suicide bombing school. "Pay attention guys, 'cause I'm only going to do this once..."
posted by clevershark at 6:40 AM on August 19, 2006


I thought it was a good commercial, works on a number of levels - like the producers say, if it causes one bomber to think twice, it did its job.

The idea that this will romanticize bombing as a sort of promotion is silly -- that's like saying video games cause kids to be violent or The Matrix causes kids to kill people. In fact there is evidence that when you graphically show people the consequences of their actions it helps reduce that behavior (think MADD campaigns, anti-abortion adds, etc..)
posted by stbalbach at 6:50 AM on August 19, 2006


Yeah, but that only works when major carnage isn't what they originally set out to achieve. You can freak out a drunk driver by showing him the potential pain and suffering he may cause. But a suicide bomber wants to cause as much pain and suffering as possible.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:17 AM on August 19, 2006


A suicide bombers wants 1) to go to heaven and 2) promote the cause - in Israeli interviews with bombers in prison they go on about their ideas and going to heaven but tend not want to talk about the details of what they did and its consequences. You can see the same thing in any ideaological crazy, they downplay the actions and up-play the reasons. This commercial up-lays the actions and downplays the reason (caption at end).
posted by stbalbach at 7:23 AM on August 19, 2006


I want to see a David Lynch anti-suicide bombing TV ad. that would be scary/uncomfortable.

this Swordfish ripoff looks like a good recruitment tool

But a suicide bomber wants to cause as much pain and suffering as possible.

and the funniest/scariest thing is that even if you could actually demonstrate them that Allah doesn't exist, and convince them of that fact, they'd probably still blow themselves up anyway. that's why a PSA is not only not going to cut it, but it's such a perfect symbol of the American impotence in the Middle East. Americans -- and to a certain extent the rest of us Westerners -- just live on a different planet
posted by matteo at 8:10 AM on August 19, 2006


I thought it was pretty good. It's not meant to deter determined suicide bombers but rather to reinforce the disgust reasonable Iraqis feel towards suicide bombers. Rally the base, as it were.

"Y'know," says Joe Iraqi, "I was thinking just this morning that I was feeling pretty comfortable with me or mine being randomly blown up and smeared all over the unemployment line. Then I saw this spot and I realized that's totally uncool! I wanna LIVE! Where do I go vote to end suicide bombs?"
posted by mph at 9:52 AM on August 19, 2006


You know what would have been a much better commercial? Guy walks into a market, blows place up, kills lots of people.

Then ten days later, the market's back, people are back, basically life continues, but now with the added benefit of one less little shit.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:03 AM on August 19, 2006


If the Iraqis put their money together they can get a spot for next year's Superbowl.. it can be a short rape and murder scene with some quote from the bible at the end, followed by the sound of an overhead Tomahawk cruise missile..
posted by romanb at 10:36 AM on August 19, 2006


Also, does anyone have any idea what it says at the end?

shoes by timex ... no matter what, they'll keep on running
posted by pyramid termite at 11:03 AM on August 19, 2006


Suicide bombing causes unnecessary "bullet-time."
posted by brundlefly at 11:17 AM on August 19, 2006


Wanna talk about "mixed messages" from Hollywood? Anyone remember Spielberg's War of the Worlds last year? That entire movie was a giant explanation for "why suicide bombers do it" and the climax is when he's worn the main character down to the point that suddenly TOM MOTHER-EFFING CRUISE is willing to suicide bomb for the good of man.
posted by InnocentBystander at 12:39 PM on August 19, 2006


If they replaced this video with a felching primate, then the pesky suicide bombers would blow themselves up in front of their TVs, harming no one.
posted by nlindstrom at 12:39 PM on August 19, 2006


InnocentBystander: But this isn't really 'Hollywood'. It's a "Hollywood-budget" propaganda piece, paid by American authorities. Hollywood, on the other hand, is clearly for suicide bombing.
posted by romanb at 1:09 PM on August 19, 2006


he's worn the main character down to the point that suddenly TOM MOTHER-EFFING CRUISE is willing to suicide bomb for the good of man.

wow, Interesting point InnocentByStander!

Your typical suicide bomber is not an independent thinker. The people recruiting them and sending them off to commit these disgusting acts know exactly what the Qur'an says, and they're quite adept at twisting the words around to fit their needs.

There are, of course, many ways to resist without killing yourself and/or innocent people in the process.


Thanks for your reply omarr. Well said.
The more that I think about this commercial, the more I think it could have a positive effect on the general public who aren't into suicide bombing, except for the fact that this film totally glamorizes the bomb exploding, rather than the damage done to innocent bystanders. It would be different if that little boy were filmed, not as poofed into the abstract ether with one shoe left behind, but as blind or limbless for life or in agony in the hospital burn ward...
posted by nickyskye at 1:27 PM on August 19, 2006


Two nights ago I spoke to a man in Lima who had lived through the 20 years of violence between maoist geurrillas (the Shining Path, the MRTA) and a dictatorial governement in Peru, between 1980 and 2000. When I asked what it was like, to live through such a time, his response was simply that violence became quotidien, everyday, one didn't really think of it because it was pervasive. I am curious whether this commercial could possibly resonate with an audience for whom such events are everyday. My instinct is that it could only be viewed as an extravagant farce.
posted by jrb223 at 5:16 PM on August 19, 2006


his response was simply that violence became quotidien, everyday, one didn't really think of it because it was pervasive.

i believe that ... i used to work night shift at a gas station/convenience store and, after a few weeks, my partner and i would get very casual about the "friday night fights" ...

*looks at clock, sees that it's 2.40 am*

"watch out diane, it's about 5 minutes until the friday night fights"

*2.45 am, fight breaks out near gas pumps*

"call the cops"

for a couple of years, it just about never failed ... look out the window at 2.45 am, sure enough, people would be fighting ... you could set a clock by it ... of course, there were other times and nights, but those were random ... add to that all the stuff we heard on the police scanner ... gunshots in the same locations over and over again on friday or saturday nights ... (thankfully, ours wasn't one of those locations, although once i did see people shot)

yeah, people certainly do get used to it ...
posted by pyramid termite at 5:47 PM on August 19, 2006


Defrauding the US Government: Just Say No.

Unless you're willing to get away with it on a technicality, that is.
posted by homunculus at 7:51 PM on August 19, 2006


DAVID LYNCH FUCKIN' RULEZ
posted by ZachsMind at 8:18 PM on August 19, 2006


Sour Cream: "So according to the Q'uran it is not necessarily a sin to kill people. Only if those killed have not committed any horrendous crimes. So if we define collaboration with the Western infidels as a crime, then it becomes totally OK to kill most Iraqis. Also, simply being a Shiite is probably a crime too in their eyes. We also know that the Americans in Iraq are murderers, so according to the Q'uran, it's OK to kill them."

I wouldn't limit this to the Q'uran. I'm sure in the TaNaK there's similar crap about smiting enemies of Israel. I know the New Testament talks about 'turning the other cheek' but that hasn't stopped fundamentalist Christians from wanting to re-enact the Crusades of the Dark Ages. "Hey look! There's a fire in the middle east! Let's poor gasoline on it! It'll be fun!" The ripe bastards. Makes me ashamed to be a Christian.

Guilt by association. This means just because I live in America, and was born an American, even though I don't believe in war and find violence pointless, there are people on this planet who would kill me in a heartbeat, because of geography.

Sorry. The God I believe in isn't that god damned myopic... or moronic.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:12 PM on August 19, 2006


Which reminds me, Independence Day was the inspiration for the 9/11 guys, too. Incredibly influential film, that one...

I really hope you're joking.
posted by miss tea at 5:15 AM on August 20, 2006


Dead serious... ;-)


Oh, and: I'm sorry, but I never apologize.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:52 AM on August 20, 2006


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