WASHINGTON – Which came first: the chicken or the terrorist?
This and other existential questions are left unanswered in a recent promotional ad by the Dubai-based Al Arabiya television network.
In the ad, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, Al Arabiya tries to attract viewers by suggesting that they can learn the effect of local actions on global issues, and vice versa, if they watch Al-Arabiya's news.
But the message gets a bit muddied.
The ad begins with a man and a friend in traditional robe and head dress seated at a fine dining restaurant, asking the waiter for a grilled chicken dish.
Then the narrator cuts in: "The preferred food for millions of chickens around the world is green soy beans ..."
With an Argentinian tango playing softly in the background, the video quickly takes a viewer on a harrowing, computer-generated ride from the restaurant table to a Brazilian chicken farm, to a grain storage facility, to a cargo ship spewing black smoke, to an iceberg melting into the sea.
As a result of the melting ice, the narrator continues: "The water floods some of these beautiful islands (also shown in computer generated images) whose inhabitants flee to refugee camps, where some of them might undergo terrorist training, and from time to time demonstrate their 'fine arts' to the world."
The video quickly morphs out of the training camp to show a sinister, but dapper man in the middle of a skyscraper-lined street, punching a button on his cell phone and detonating a blast, complete with fleeing people and wreckage. The scene then morphs again into a combat zone.
The narrator says of the fleeing people in the scene: "These regular people are then compelled to change their clothes into military uniforms, ready to fight one of the new wars of the world — a war that might jeopardize the world's energy supply, forcing the ships that carry green soy beans to cancel their journeys.
"Thus, it is impossible to ship soy to feed the world's chickens."
The viewer then quickly sees the ships, the chickens, and then back to the restaurant with the men calmly ordering their dinners, when the narrator says:
"The outcome is ... "
And the waiter tells the two men: "There is no chicken today."
In case a viewer is left wondering about the chicken-soy-climate change-flood-terror-war linkage, it's all summed up at the end of the commercial in five words.
"Al Arabiya: To know more."