There are photos of a tote bag and a T-shirt with Arabic language that are going viral on social media. Varying reports give credit for the origin of the viral photos to different users — but the viral nature can be tracked to at least one Facebook post and one Twitter post.
In Berlin metro. "This text has no other purpose than to terrify those afraid of Arabic". (V. Nader al Sarras FB) pic.twitter.com/AyrjjvlBxV
— Amanda Figueras (@AmandaFigueras) August 17, 2016
As seen in the above photo, the Facebook page of Nader Al-Sarras posted a photo of a person on a Berlin train, with a description that translated the text of the bag from Arabic to English.
“This text has no other purpose than to terrify those who are afraid of the Arabic language.” — at U8.
ذين يخافون من اللغة العربية. “
The photo was such a hit that people soon began leaving comments on the Facebook page of the store named حجر ورقة مقص Rock Paper Scissors, which reportedly created the unique tote bag with a message about unnecessarily fearing the unknown.
“We are working on our online store, it will be up soon.”
As reported by indy100, Nader is a journalist who actually snapped a photo of the now-popular bag and shared it to his Facebook page on Tuesday, August 16. The bag’s Arabic text is likely such a hit, reports the publication, because those who don’t read Arabic can quickly turn love to hate by assuming all Arabic words are related to terrorism.
Text on bag reads as: "This text has no other purpose than to terrify those who are afraid of the Arabic language." pic.twitter.com/vHknRBQoPG
— Zarah Sultana (@zarahsultana) August 16, 2016
As reported by Snopes, it wasn’t just Al-Sarras’ post on Facebook that caused the photo to go viral — and sent people searching for the store to buy such a bag — but it was also a duplicate post on Twitter that went viral.
The graphic design company that created the bag is located in Haifa, Israel. Their Instagram account, as seen below, shows the tote bags with the “terrifying” Arabic text resting on a table. People are leaving plenty of comments, asking them if they ship internationally.
When Twitter user Zarah Sultana posted the above tweet, with a slightly different variation on the translation of the Arabic writing on Tuesday, August 16, the tweet also went viral.
“Text on bag reads as: ‘This text has no other purpose than to terrify those who are afraid of the Arabic language.'”
Zarah’s tweet received nearly 100,000 likes and more than 62,000 retweets in about 24 hours.
Snopes reports that Zarah’s image traveled to Facebook after going viral — but indy100 reports that Nader originated the photo on Facebook. Either way, the photo with the Arabic language inspired lots of buzz, along with people who wondered if the bag really says what people are translating it as in English.
Slight variations of the original Arabic text — “لا يوجد اي هدف لهذا النص الا نشر الرعب في نفوس من يهاب اللغة العربية” — pasted into Google Translate results in slightly different translations.
“There is no goal of this text that horror published in the hearts of afraid of the Arabic language.”
“There is no goal of this text, but to spread terror in the hearts of afraid of the Arabic language.”
The message is clear: Folks who like the tote bag find it a cute way to try and defuse some of the tension that can happen upon a person immediately seeing Arabic.
"This text has no purpose other than to terrify those who are afraid of Arabic"
— ilmfeed (@IlmFeed) August 17, 2016
It apparently isn’t the first time the Arabic message made news. As reported by SBS, the totes started getting buzz in May. The designers explained how they came up with the Arabic text and the wording about the goal of the Arabic text being to terrify those afraid of the Arabic language.
“While fuddling what to write we came to a conclusion that the existence of the font and language — and not necessarily the writing — is what’s important. We notice here that the Arabic language is starting to disappear from signs and public places.”
[Image via Shutterstock]