It is Sesame Street verses Jihad Street. Tickle Me Elmo takes on Terrorist Elmo. With a US Government that is weak on terror – it is surprising to see the Obama administration is now funding a battle for the minds of Palestinian youth with the help of Muppets. I thought we were against setting up puppet governments, but this might actually work.
Like me, most readers of NewsReal probably grew up with Sesame Street. My four year old daughter loves the show and watches it almost daily. While the lessons she learns from the show are how to use words like “glockenspiel” and “camouflage” to expand her vocabulary, there is a middle eastern version of the show with even higher goals in mind.
A Palestinian version of Sesame Street (called Shara’a Simsim) has been showing in parts of Israel for about 15 years. However, until now the show was not seen in Gaza on Palestinian TV. Instead, Palestinian children have been watching a very different kind of kid’s show run by Hamas. That program is called Tomorrow’s Pioneers and has used a Mickey Mouse lookalike and other puppets to teach little ones to not only like vegetables but also to hate (and possibly kill) Jews. For more on that show (including clips) go here.
Shara’a Simsim will now give children in Palestine a very different lesson than the one on violence they get from Tomorrow’s Pioneers. Fox News reports a nice summary of the story.
“It’s not just for entertainment, the show is taking on a particular role, using its characters to teach kids about tolerance in one of the world’s most volatile regions.” – Fox News
The US Government is helping to fund this children’s program through the U.S. Agency for International Development. Around 50 employees of the show are funded with a $1.5 million grant from that agency. Some may wonder why US dollars would go toward kids programming in Palestine. I’m sure many would criticize it, but I’m all for it.
Our new government may not be willing to admit that we are at war against Radical Islam, but we certainly are. And war must be fought both on the battle fields of the earth and in the minds of Islamic youth. During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama said we must be about “changing hearts and minds in our struggle against extremists.” However, that goal of mental change is not only held by the Left. The 2006 U.S. Marine and Army Counterinsurgency Field Manual reads,
“Protracted popular war is best countered by winning the hearts and minds of the populace.”
And even President Bush told the U.N. in 2005, the hope is that,
“across the world, hearts and minds [would be opened] to the message of human liberty as never before.”
I believe speaking directly to the young people who are targets for terrorist training is ideal. And if a little grant of $1.5 million will teach kids tolerance over jihad, maybe we should even do more. The Obama administration has a lot more they need to be doing to win the battle with Islamic Radicalism, but this particular tactic is one we can all get behind.
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