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Egyptian TV Claims ‘The Simpsons’ Predicted the Syrian Civil War

In 2001, Bart Simpson teamed up with his friends Milhouse, Nelson, and Ralph to form the boy band Party Posse and record a music video in which these boys of Springfield bomb a group of armed, hostile-looking Arabs. The song — "Drop Da Bomb" — is a weird pre-9/11 satire of American militarism. "There’s trouble ...

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In 2001, Bart Simpson teamed up with his friends Milhouse, Nelson, and Ralph to form the boy band Party Posse and record a music video in which these boys of Springfield bomb a group of armed, hostile-looking Arabs. The song -- "Drop Da Bomb" -- is a weird pre-9/11 satire of American militarism. "There's trouble in a far-off nation/Time to get in love formation/Your love's more deadly than Saddam/That's why I gotta drop da bomb!" the boys sing.

Thirteen years later, the fake song -- nominally a recruitment video for the Navy -- is stirring up some real, albeit bizarre, controversy in Egypt. Egypt's al-Tahrir satellite TV channel aired a segment earlier this week claiming that the quartet predicted the current Syrian civil war. In the music video, the bearded, keffiyeh-wearing fighters targeted by the Party Posse stand next to a jeep emblazoned with what at the time was a fictitious Arabic-looking flag. That flag happens to be identical to the one adopted by the Syrian opposition. A female anchor on al-Tahrir, a privately owned channel, then made the only logical conclusion: The Simpsons segment raised real questions whether "what is happening in Syria today is premeditated."

If that sounds a little unreal, have a look at the video, courtesy of the Middle East Media Research Institute:

In 2001, Bart Simpson teamed up with his friends Milhouse, Nelson, and Ralph to form the boy band Party Posse and record a music video in which these boys of Springfield bomb a group of armed, hostile-looking Arabs. The song — "Drop Da Bomb" — is a weird pre-9/11 satire of American militarism. "There’s trouble in a far-off nation/Time to get in love formation/Your love’s more deadly than Saddam/That’s why I gotta drop da bomb!" the boys sing.

Thirteen years later, the fake song — nominally a recruitment video for the Navy — is stirring up some real, albeit bizarre, controversy in Egypt. Egypt’s al-Tahrir satellite TV channel aired a segment earlier this week claiming that the quartet predicted the current Syrian civil war. In the music video, the bearded, keffiyeh-wearing fighters targeted by the Party Posse stand next to a jeep emblazoned with what at the time was a fictitious Arabic-looking flag. That flag happens to be identical to the one adopted by the Syrian opposition. A female anchor on al-Tahrir, a privately owned channel, then made the only logical conclusion: The Simpsons segment raised real questions whether "what is happening in Syria today is premeditated."

If that sounds a little unreal, have a look at the video, courtesy of the Middle East Media Research Institute:

So because Bart and his gang bombed a group of Arabs standing next to a jeep bearing the flag of the Syrian opposition, the civil war in Syria was somehow manufactured by the West. "This is from 2001 — before there was such a thing called the ‘Syrian opposition,’" the anchor observes. "That’s why people are saying on Facebook that this is a conspiracy."

But that’s not the end of it: "This raises many question marks about what happened in the Arab Spring revolutions and about when this global conspiracy began."

Here’s the same Simpsons clip, this time in English:

And in case you missed it, the chorus, sung by scantily clad, vaguely Arab-looking women, is just "join the Navy" spelled backward: "Yvan eht nioj."

The Middle East, of course, is famous for its conspiratorial thinking and a tendency to see the all-mighty hand of Uncle Sam in most political developments. Egypt is a particularly paranoid country, and many people genuinely believe that America’s disastrous military adventures of the last decade represent nothing more than a grand plot to divide the Arab world and sow discontent between countries and ethnic groups.

By that logic, it may just be a matter of time before the United States is bombing the Syrian opposition into submission as well.

 Twitter: @EliasGroll

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