Advert broadcast to help raise awareness to crises across the Muslim world
The Kuwaiti telecoms company Zain’s latest Ramadan television advertisement features a young refugee boy singing to lookalikes of some the world’s most powerful leaders, including Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel.
In the first scene, the young boy wishes Mr Trump “Ramadan kareem” and invites him to iftar at his house, “if he can find it in the debris”.
Later scenes show a series of world leaders taking part in the boy’s life, with Mr Putin dining with his family, some of whom have lost limbs.
Mrs Merkel is shown watching as refugees crammed on to inflatable boats paddling with their hands towards a European shore.
Next, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un looks in at the boy’s bedroom as it transforms from something in an Ikea catalogue into rubble, while subsequent scenes show the refugee crisis created by the Myanmar military’s crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority.
The final scenes show the boy visiting an imprisoned little girl – a lookalike of Ahed Al Tamimi, 17, the Palestinian activist sentenced to eight months in jail by Israel. He breaks the lock on her cell and they leave hand in hand. The next shot is of them walking towards the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem singing: “Our iftar will be in Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine.”
Zain has been screening similar advertisements since the late 2000s. This one was released on Wednesday, two days after the US government moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, reversing decades of policy and provoking an outburst of violence.
As the boy and girl approach Al Aqsa Mosque, they are flanked by six men in traditional Arabian Gulf clothes, representing the six leaders of the GCC countries.
Joy Productions, the Kuwaiti studio behind the advertisement, has been producing Zain’s commercials for almost a decade. Its Ramadan ad last year, by the same director, tackled the topic of suicide bombing and terrorist attacks and became an overnight viral hit in the Arab world, with 13 million views so far.
It juxtaposed a suicide bomber on his way to detonate himself confronted with the maimed and bloody bodies of bombing victims.
This year’s ad had more than a million views on its first day.
Ramadan is Arab television’s busiest season, with advertising rates at a premium.
Zain’s latest Ramadan television advertisement features a young refugee boy wishing Mr Trump ‘Ramadan kareem’