Payback graffiti


I haven’t watched the show Homeland but apparently it is about a CIA agent who thinks that a prisoner of war who returns to America has been “turned” by Al-Qaeda and is now a spy.

It is interesting to see how a television show can be perceived as racist by a group of people, but even more cool to see how they managed to play a prank on the show. While filming for one of their recent episodes, the producers hired Arab graffiti artists to add Arab slogans and graffiti to the walls of the set to make it look more authentic.  I think they had a hard time finding Arab artists who were willing to work for the show – but they eventually did.

The artists realised that people seldom check the accuracy of their work, so they proceeded to paint phrases like “Homeland is racist” onto the walls – and this wasn’t noticed by the producers, and actually made it into the show. They also included #BlackLivesMatter.

The artists were making a point about how not only the news media, but also television shows, portray political issues.  The show is seen by some as propaganda relating to the “war on terror”.

The Guardian says that the artist’s wrote: “In their eyes, Arabic script is merely a supplementary visual that completes the horror-fantasy of the Middle East, a poster image dehumanizing an entire region to human-less figures in black burkas and moreover, this season, to refugees.”

The spin doctors of the show say that while they wish they could have caught the images before they aired, they admire this act of subversive sabotage because Homeland itself strives to be subversive.  What a load of hogwash – just some quick thinking on the part of someone caught with their pants down.

There are people arguing for and against categorising Homeland as racist, but for now, I’m just impressed that some Arab artists managed to stamp their mark of disapproval on American television.  And one of these artists was a lady!

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