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Instagram sea shanty on ‘story of Palestine’ viewed 10 million times in 48 hours

Instagram sea shanty on ‘story of Palestine’ viewed 10 million times in 48 hours
‘The ones who are standing against Israel or condemning Israel for the actions doesn’t mean we’re anti-semitic’ says Eman Askar

A sea shanty video about the story of Palestine explaining the land’s tale since the 1800s has gone viral on the internet.

The 32-year-old Egyptian content creator Eman Askar begins the video by explaining how Christians, Muslims, and Jews once lived on a land called Palestine, which was ruled by the Ottoman empire in the 1800s.

She continues by explaining the history of Zionism and how a “bearded guy” (Theodor Herzl) established a home for all the Jews in the region followed by talking about the phase where England colonised Palestine after World War I.

She says humourously: “England was like ‘hey this beautiful land is totally mine’.”

“Then more and more Jews arrived seeking refuge and that’s all right, until their plan to steal the land was no longer to hide!” she sings.

In addition to being translated in Turkish and Arabic, the video has been viewed over 10 million times in less than 48 hours.

Askar told The Independent: “The principle trigger for me to make this video was when I looked back at my old stuff and discovered a sketchbook from when I was 7-8 years of age. I recall my teacher requesting that we draw something related to Eid, and how we wanted to celebrate the festival.

“However, almost 21 years ago, Palestine was going through the Second Intifada (also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada, a Palestinian uprising against Israel), where as a kid, I remember watching kids dying and houses falling on the news. I found it ironic that 21 years later, it’s exactly the same thing happening once more,” she said.

“It’s like living in a parallel time watching the kids biting the dust and losing their families,” the mother of two added.

Eman Askar holding a photograph she drew as a kid 21 years ago

The content creator likewise clarified how she generally made her recordings in Arabic, however, looking at the global power of social media in today’s age, she felt compelled to make something in English in order to reach a wider network – succesfully.

“Many people are happy with my video, the comments segment is overwhelmed with praise, and I have also managed to touch a good portion of people that did not care about the issue at hand before, but started caring about it after watching my work,” Ms. Askar said.

However, the Instagrammar has like wise received criticism where people called her “anti-semitic” to which she responded saying: “I made this video to inform and teach people about what happened before and what’s hapenning now. I tried to make it as simple as possible with no intention of hatred in my mind. It was more of a history lesson packed in a song.”

When asked about the power of social media, Ms Askar said “social media definitely played a huge role in putting pressure on Israel to declare the ceasefire today”.

“I likewise feel that people who are standing up against Israel or condemning their actions doesn’t mean we’re anti-semitic,” she concluded.