By mocking ISIS’ YouTube anthem, Middle Eastern bloggers thumb their noses at the terrorist group
image via youtube screen capture
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (or, as they’re more commonly referred to, ISIS/ISIL) are many things: religious fundamentalists, murderous extremists, and—to the consternation of most—shockingly adept users of social media. Beyond their traditional weaponry, ISIS has developed a sophisticated understanding of how to use platforms like Twitter and YouTube to spread their messages of violent intolerance. But now social media is biting back, with users transforming one of ISIS’ YouTube anthems into something entirely different.
“Saleel Al-Sawarem” (which translates to “The Clanking of the Sharp Swords”) opens with lyrics like: “Clinging of the sharp swords is the anthem for the proud ones. / Fighting is the way for the life to be lived,” and doesn’t get much lighter as it goes on. It’s one of the songs typically heard in ISIS’ propaganda and/or violent execution videos. But, as the Daily Dot’s Tarek Amr reports, the song has recently been adopted by bloggers across the Middle East, particularly in Egypt, as fodder for a number of tongue-in-cheek remixes.
From sinister-looking beheading spoofs:
[youtube ratio="0.5625" position="standard" caption=""Saleel Al-Sawarim egyptian dubsimash""]
To suggestive belly dancing:
There’s even a “Chipmunk” version:
[youtube ratio="0.5625" position="standard" caption=""Saleel Al-Sawarim nasheed (chipmunk edition)""]
Not that every remix of the song is necessarily a deliberate theological-political protest against ISIS, but, as Amr points out, the cumulative effect is one of fearless defiance in the face of religious extremism. YouTube mockery is far from a concrete solution to ISIS’ ongoing acts of violence, but, in a small, satisfying way, by turning Saleel Al-Sawarem into something altogether silly, the remix masters behind these spoofs have demonstrated that when it comes to groups bent on violent religious absolutism, nothing is sacred.