Monday, April 26, 2004

A terrorist game show From The International Hearld Tribune via Merde In France

Quick. What is the name of the Palestinian village near what is now the Israeli city of Ramla that was destroyed in 1949 and replaced by a town called Yavne? Too difficult? It's Yibna. Try another.

What structure built of gray sandstone in 1792 became the source of all oppressive decisions the world over?

This one should be easy: the White House.
If you answered both questions correctly, you might be prime fodder to compete on "The Mission," a game show running on Al Manar, the satellite television channel of Hezbollah, the militant Lebanese group. Contestants from around the Arab world compete each Saturday night for cash and the chance to win a virtual trip to Jerusalem. To heighten the drama, points won by the finalists translate directly into steps toward the holy city that are flashed onto a map of the region.

The show is a novel way for Hezbollah to promote its theme - that all Arab efforts should be concentrated on reconquering land lost to Israel, especially Jerusalem.

"Any program at this television station must present the idea that the occupation of Palestine must end," said Ihab Abi Nassif, a 28-year-old high school physics teacher who is the show's host. "That is the core issue, which is why we work day and night to keep it vivid in people's minds."

The game show, begun last fall, is a tad more subtle than the channel's other offerings outside its fairly straightforward news shows. The program "Terrorists," for example, plays endless loops of film from Israeli attacks that killed civilians. "Sincere Men," drawing its name from a Koranic verse about the strength of the faithful when facing battle, profiles either Hezbollah fighters who undertook suicide missions or those in waiting.

"The Mission" follows a standard game show format, with contestants quizzed about history, literature, geography, science and the arts. But at least half the questions revolve around Palestinian or Islamic history, and at least one contestant is usually Palestinian.

What kind of reality show would they put on?

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