A Turkish political drama series playing in Saudi Arabia is leading to real political drama in the Middle East.
The 13-episode "Separation: Palestine in Love and in War (Cry of Stones)" tells the story of a PA Arab family who leaves for a vacation to Jordan, only to return to a home destroyed by Israel.
It continues by depicting a life of oppression and suffering at the hands of Israelis. Jewish soldiers are portrayed as cold-blooded killers, intentionally shooting a newborn infant and abusing an elderly man.
Originally produced and aired in Turkey, the show was decried in Israel as blood-libelous and inflammatory. Despite a history of military and fiscal cooperation with Israel, and Israeli protests, Turkey continued to show the series. Turkey went on to produce another popular anti-Israel series called "Ambush in the Valley of the Wolves", which portrayed Israeli Mossad agents abducting Arab babies. The show was subsequently bought by Saudi Arabia's Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC).
Saudi Gazette interviewed Arab leaders and Arab media communications experts to determine what the impact of 'Separation' would be in Saudi Arabia.
Saud Al-Kateb, a Mass Communications Professor at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia's second largest city, praised MBC for continuing with the program. He said popular political dramas are the perfect vehicle to enthuse a populace which is not otherwise particularly interested in the story of PA Arabs.
“Why not take advantage of such interesting dramas?” Al-Kateb told the Saudi Gazette. "We have noticed that many people, and especially our youth, tend to forget about or ignore the Palestinian issue because of being exposed to too many other things like new communication methods, the global economic crisis, local political issues and conflict in their countries, so we need such serials to target those people and renew their enthusiasm for the Palestinian cause.”
Islamic Jihad leader Khaled Al-Batsh told MBC that he admires the network for their commitment to playing the show despite Israel's repeated requests, saying the network should also feature shows meant to stir sympathy for Syrian claims of the Golan Heights.
A Kuwaiti Film festival will feature a special session dedicated to the narrative of PA Arabs.
According to the MBC website, the network has over 130 million viewers.