From the Editors
The uprising in Syria has unleashed a wave of dark humor and satire across a range of media, from the clever posters of the Local Coordinating Committee of Kfarnebel to the short sketches from YouTube series “Freedom and nothing else.” Therefore, it’s not surprising that along with the thousands of Facebook pages for organizing coordinating committees calling for freedom of imprisoned protesters and honoring those killed in the uprising, a number of satirical pages for the uprising have sprung up over the last year and a half.
How much resonance these pages have is uncertain. There are some hints, such as number of likes, but this is hardly a reliable indicator. The identity of those who have created these pages is also unknown. While all the following pages are clearly anti-regime, each one reflects a different viewpoint within the opposition. Some call for secularism, liberalism, or Islamism; some mention standing with or against the Free Syrian Army, Syrian National Council, or other elements of the uprising; and some broadcast news and opinions from local coordinating committees in particular regions. Essentially, an anonymous administrator makes a page which they think people will find to have a funny concept and “like.” The admin can then use the page as a place to advocate for their viewpoint, which may not be reflected specifically in the humor, but in the admin’s comments, shared pictures, and slogans broadcast through the page, some of which may reach tens of thousands of Facebook users.
Homs Tank Washing Service
Created May 2011
[“International Homs Tank wash and oil change service.”]
One of the first joke pages of the uprising, here you can find the wide-range of services provided by the tank washing service opened in Homs, responding to the sudden increase in demand for a cheap place to get one’s tank a good scrub-down.
The Cosmic Conspiracy Against Bashar al-Assad
Created June 2011
[“The Cosmic Conspiracy. Coordinating committee for Planet Mars and surrounding areas."]
Freedom for the speakers of Arnoos Square
Created August 2011
[“Free our friend the Arnoos speaker from the detention center.”]
It usually takes less than a few hours after the arrest of an activist for a Facebook page to pop up demanding freedom for whomever was arrested. Following the murder of firefighter Ibrahim Qashoush in Hama, who first introduced the now imfamous chant “Yalla irhal, ya Bashar!” —"Come on, Bashar, leave" — some activists decided to record the chant in his honor. After hooking up some carefully placed speakers in Arnoos square in Damascus, the chant was heard throughout the square but with no protesters to be found. Soon after the Syrian authorities found the speakers and took them, a Facebook page appeared calling for “Freedom for the speakers of Arnoos Square.”
The man whose chair conspired against him
Created September 2011
[“Chief of the Chairs.”]
After the many conspiracies against the Syrian regime, some were especially surprised to learn that even inanimate objects were in on it. When regime supporter Abdul Massih Al-Shami fell out of his chair at the end of vigorous debate on Al-Jazeera, it didn’t take long for thousands of likes to appear on the page “the man whose chair conspired against him.”
Created January 2012
[“Ban Ki Moon: ‘The situation in Syria is unacceptable.']
This page represents one of the more controversial political movements of the Syrian uprising, bringing together a number of contradictory conspiracy labels lobbed at the opposition.
The man with the blue flip-flops
Created June 2012
[“Bless your hand, Aleppan guy.”]
Among the various notable political figures of the revolution, some Syrians have decided to honor the unknown Aleppan man who in June 2012 ran by and struck a Syrian announcer with his shoe on live TV, while yelling “Syrian media are liars.” The page’s official motto is “the blue flip flop represents me.”
The Chinese Revolution against Chinese Tyranny
Created June 2011
Popular discussions about Syrian politics are famously known for their use of double speak, given strict censorship regulations and speech restrictions in the country. This page makes jabs at such double-speak, using China - incidentally another authoritarian regime - and its politics as a hilarious analogy for the events in Syria. The page organizes supporters of the “Chinese Revolution” from across Chinese cities such as Halab-hai (Aleppo) and Hom-is-ow (Homs) who oppose the tyranny Chinese President Jintao (Al-Assad), son of the previous president Haf-ez.
The page is especially famous for pulling a number of pranks in which they announce a parody news story mocking government conspiracy theories which eventually spreads throughout government Facebook and Twitter networks and sometimes even makes its way into the official regime media. Most recently, official Syrian media announced that the United States was to release a film called “the Epic Fall,” falsely depicting the news of the fall of the Syrian regime. It was reported to be filmed in Hollywood through the use of small-scale models of several areas of Damascus and Qasiyoon mountains. Funding to the tune of $36 million dollars was supposedly provided by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and a number of other Arab countries to the film company, reportedly named “Asaad iz duk reelee” (“Asad is a duck, really”). The state media indicated that they had received the news from “Chinese intelligence agents” (specifically, from Colonel Ishma Songa, the fake name of the “Chinese Revolution” page admin).
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