The Super Bowl was held over the weekend, and even though we live in Pakistan and have absolutely no idea what goes on during American football, our feeds were covered in posts about the event — from pictures of Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce kissing to Usher’s performance to the sport itself.
While Gaza and the plight of the Palestinians were pushed into the background, Israel continued its propaganda by sponsoring an advertisement played during the Super Bowl which vowed to bring back “all the dads held captive by Hamas for over 120 days”.
The advertisement, an ode to fathers, shows numerous dads and ends with “to all the dads held in captivity by Hamas for over 120 days. We vow to bring you home”. The cost of running a single Super Bowl ad is about $7 million and this was part of a series of ads released by Israel’s National Directorate of Public Diplomacy ahead of the Super Bowl.
As Israel broadcasted its misinformation, Israeli forces on Monday continued heavy air strikes on Rafah. The overnight bombing killed 164 people, including children, according to the Palestinian authorities, while fears of a looming ground incursion grew among more than a million people trapped in the territory’s densely crowded far south.
The Palestinian foreign ministry condemned what it called a “massacre” as the latest strikes hit at least 14 houses and three mosques, while many people have been living in tents with no food, water or medicine.
The Super Bowl acted as a smokescreen to distract from the atrocities in Rafah as the world focused on which celebrity showed up to the event — a majority of them either supporters of the state of Israel, including halftime headliner Usher, or silent spectators to the violence being enacted against the Palestinian people.
Celebrities who have openly supported the Israel continue to face no consequences and are permitted to headline major events, while those who are pro-Palestine face severe backlash. Let’s not forget — Susan Sarandon was dropped by her agency and Melissa Barrera was fired from Scream VII for their support of Palestine. Pink Floyd member Roger Waters has faced global boycotts and backlash for his staunch support of Palestine. No one would even CONSIDER Waters for performing at the Super Bowl, despite his rockstar status, simply because he against the Zionist regime, however, Usher has not been censored in the slightest despite posting a picture reading #IStandWithIsrael after October 7, which he deleted shortly afterwards (the internet always keeps receipts though).
American pop culture is used as a tool to distract the masses. Why are the deaths of hundreds of Gazans who were taking refuge in Rafah not talked about as much as Beyonce’s presence at the Super Bowl and Taylor Swift and her latest beau dancing to ‘You Belong With Me’ at an afterparty?
The overtly pro-Israel stance of American media is laughable as it is used to propel Israeli propaganda and no one can do doing anything about it. The misinformation and ruses trickle down to our country in what appears to be an effort to distract the whole world from an apartheid. Though we don’t want to see it on our screens, the deception is shoved down our throats.
Several Dawn.com staffers who don’t follow Travis Kelce, American football or Taylor Swift on social media reported that they saw an excessive number of videos about the Super Bowl on their feeds.
American media is pushing content that seems incongruous with what is happening in the world. Recently, the official X account of US President Joe Biden tweeted a strange meme to celebrate the Super Bowl but the timing of it had netizens outraged — it came as Israel bombarded the Palestinian city of Rafah.
The meme — ‘Dark Brandon’ — originated on the Trump-supported MAGA side of the internet and has since been co-opted by Biden’s supporters in an ironic take on the original image — was supposedly posted in reference to the Super Bowl.
Instead, many netizens took it as a sinister image, given Biden’s support of Israel and the American government’s lack of support of a ceasefire. And the fact that Israel bombarded Rafah during the Super Bowl.
Perhaps this is also a lesson in moderating what we consume on social media so the sparkle of Hollywood doesn’t distract us from real-life occurrences and the suffering of an entire people.