Between Donald Trump and Hassan Nasrallah

Last week, an MBC program that aired a comedy sketch impersonating Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah outraged his supporters in Lebanon, who expressed their anger on social media and on the streets.

Meanwhile, comedian John Oliver - who hosts the HBO program Last Week Tonight - mocked U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and created a Twitter hashtag against him.

Prominent commentators considered the Last Week Tonight episode as one of the most significant political responses against Trump. Most of the points that Oliver raised have been separately mentioned in the past on other satirical programs, but he managed to include all of Trump’s contradictions and follies in one coherent segment that was creatively and successfully put together.

Journalism and satire

This style of mixing journalism with satire has become hugely popular, as was Oliver’s segment on Trump. Of course no one protested on the streets, like what happened in Lebanon, where we are still discussing the concept of satire before even getting to content.

The protesters see this as a huge threat to people whose fates and minds are under Hezbollah’s control. Satire seems more dangerous to the party’s image than death

Diana Moukalled

The professionalism of the episode that mocked Nasrallah cannot be compared with that of Oliver’s, but we are trying to laugh despite all attempts by Hezbollah officials and supporters to shut us up. It is easy to gather Nasrallah’s contradictory statements, and perhaps this is what worries Hezbollah.

Fear of satire is widespread in Arab societies, and has increased following the Arab Spring. Regarding the sketch about Nasrallah, protests did not erupt because the content was weak, but because of laughter at clear flaws. The protesters see this as a huge threat to people whose fates and minds are under Hezbollah’s control. Satire seems more dangerous to the party’s image than death.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Mar. 07, 2016.
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Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in AlSharq AlAwsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV. She can be found on Twitter: @dianamoukalled.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:50 - GMT 06:50
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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