"Ahmed and Salim", a South Park-style cartoon that makes fun of Palestinian terrorists, is the new big hit on the Israeli Web. It’s supposed to mock terrorists without ridiculing Muslims, but one of our Palestinian observers finds the idea dangerous.
"“When are you going to drop your computer and become real terrorists?” That’s what Ahmed and Salim’s father regularly asks his two sons, Muslim teenagers more interested in Facebook and Guitar Hero than suicide bombings… The cartoon duo stars in a new South Park-style cartoon that made a big splash last week on an Israeli website (www.sugarzaza.com) and on You Tube. The show’s two young authors, Or Paz and Tom Trager, claim to “make fun of terrorists”, but not of Muslims. It’s meant to be taken with a pinch of salt. “If you’re easily offended, please, don’t watch the show” they warn. "
Episode 2 : posted January 29 : Ahmed and Salim are assigned to keep an eye on a Jewish prisoner. But the trio’s common love for Guitar Hero soften the would-be jailers, who end up releasing their prisoner.
"These videos are a big lie"
Sameh Akram Habeeb is a Palestinian blogger.
These videos are dangerous and full of lies. Foreigners with limited knowledge of Palestine will think that all Palestinians are terrorists. I’ve never met someone like the cartoon character of Ahmed and Salim’s father. And of course, the authors never once mention the existence of thousands of Palestinian prisoners.
This type of video will in no case favour reconciliation between Jewish and Arab communities. On the contrary: it can only spawn hate. What message does it send to those who watch it? That Arabs are terrorists who think only of killing Jews. Our religion has its fundamentalists, like any religion, but we don’t send our children to death like the cartoon father does. I know enough about real life in Palestine to understand what is true and what isn’t, but most viewers won’t have that kind of background. And because the cartoons are subtitled they can be viewed by audiences worldwide. "
"We don’t mean to make fun of Muslims, only of terrorists"
Or Paz and Tom Trager write and direct the videos on the Sugar Zaza website Sugar Zaza
The idea of using a cartoon to depict something evil always attracted us because of its obvious irony. So we came up with Ahmed and Salim, and decided to translate not only to our mother tongue which is Hebrew, but also to English. We had no idea it would create such a buzz online!
We are both huge "South Park" fans, but the main reason we uses the same style is because it's the fastest and cheapest way to animate. We hope to develop over the years and get real animators to work on our projects. Right now it's just us two guys on our computers.
Our main goal is of course to get our work on television. SugarZaza actually stands for stupid nonsense comedy. We've been working on producing short skits, both videos and cartoons, for three years now, so we’re very experienced. We created Ahmed and Salim in less than a week once the skits were written.
The cartoon sparked many reactions, some of them good, some bad. All of them made us just want to keep doing what we’re doing. Even annoying people is good, to a certain extent.
We like annoying groups who take themselves too seriously. We’re not trying to mock Muslims, we are making fun of terrorists who are frankly ridiculous if you can take a good look at them without being afraid. Ahmed and Salim are just two nice naive kids who are just trying to make their terrorist father happy. "
Episode 1 (watched 400 000 times in one week): “When are you going to leave your computer and become real terrorists?” asks their father, before entrusting them with a perilous mission. In the end their plan goes terribly wrong because of… ice cream!