The month of Ramadan is a time of peak TV consumption in the Arab world, and in turn, peak TV ad budgets. So the Kuwaiti telecom company Zain decided to make to the most of the holy season with a powerful three-minute musical spot urging Arabs to reject suicide bombings.
The ad begins with a man making a bomb in a dark room, juxtaposed with scenes of joyous everyday life. Simple acts like the kick of a soccer ball, the kiss of a baby’s foot, a bride’s touch of a wedding table’s chair, are highlighted with animated flowers, reports iagreetosee.com
Meanwhile, a child writes an essay in school, an open letter to suicide bombers: “I will tell God everything, that you’ve filled the cemeteries with our children and emptied our school desks, that you’ve sparked unrest and turned our streets into darkness. And that you’ve lied. God has full knowledge of the secrets of all hearts.”
By the end of the essay, the bomber has left his home and gets on a bus. With his suicide vest exposed, he us faced with past victims of attacks. He dourly sings, “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah.” A passenger holding a child stands up to confront him with warmth, singing in response: “You, who comes in the name of death. “He is the creator of life.”
The bomber turns his gaze to a boy who resembles the five-year old who escaped an airstrike in Aleppo, Syria. The boy holds up the famous image of himself, and sings to bomber of a compassionate God, “The forgiving and forbearing who hurts not those who hurt him.”
The bomber is then seen outside the bus, surrounded by carnage and repeatedly challenged by fellow Arabs who explain who “God is greater” than. To one bloodied suit-clad man, God is greater “than those who hide what doesn’t show.” To a schoolteacher it’s “those who obey without contemplation.” The crowd swells, another man sings God is greater “than those lurking to betray us.” One man looks at the camera silently, but is identified as an actual survivor of a Kuwaiti terrorist attack.
The bomber feels cornered as the crowd surrounds him and the music becomes more upbeat. “Worship your God with love, not terror. Be tender in your faith, tender not harsh. Confront your enemy with peace, not war. Persuade others with leniency, not force” the leader of the pack sings, holding out his hand to the bomber who had fallen. A white man is seen listening attentively to a cleric, in front of a sign that reads, “Let there be no compulsion in religion.”
The music stops. The bomber falls to his knees, and appears to be ready to detonate his vest.
But instead of violence, we see fireworks. “Let us bomb violence with mercy” the singers resume. The wedding from the opening shots commences, and the actual surviving bride from a 2005 terrorist attack on her wedding reception is shown smiling at the newly married couple.
The final frame declares, “we will counter their attacks of hatred with songs of love. From now until happiness.”
So far, five million YouTube viewers are sharing that message.