Russia Today Arabic Mistranslates Female Protestor to Blame Arabs for Gilets Jaunes

Published December 9th, 2018 - 02:59 GMT
Liberty Leading the People. Painting by Eugène Delacroix (Twitter Meme)
Liberty Leading the People. Painting by Eugène Delacroix (Twitter Meme)

A video of a female French protester yelling at the French police in Paris during the “Yellow Vests” protests has been widely circulating on social media. However, it was shared with different translations and contradictory analysis.

The video was translated by media outlets and social media users, and it shows a French female protester who was wearing a Yellow Vest while yelling at French police during violent clashes with protesters.

She was yelling dramatically and saying: "But look what you've done to us! You should be ashamed of yourselves, we do not even hate you! You should be with us, for the people, for France, for our homeland, for our nation!”.

On the other hand, some Arabic-speaking social media users used the video as a way to compare it to the Arab Spring protests of 2011.

The video was shared with translations suggesting the woman was in fact a police officer addressing the protesters and she was telling them to stop destroying their country like what the Arabs did in referrence to the Arab Spring.

The translation that was first promoted by the Arabic Russia Today (RT) which is known for serving a mouthpiece of the Moscow government was headlined:  “A French police officer yells: Come and kill me, do not destroy Paris as Arabs destroyed their countries!”

It is believed to have been shared by Russian-controlled media outlets who mainly support the Bashaar Al Assad regime of Syria and played vital role in maintaining Baath government following the Syrian Revolution of 2011.

Some social media users took a screenshot of the RT story and shared it trying to explain the context of the video.

Translation: “Seems like they have our [Arab] own school of journalism in Moscow. We should know that this female protester is from the “Yellow Vests” protesters and not a police officer, but since Russia Today and their followers appeared to be professional in making up lies, there is nothing to be surprised for. There is also another video that explains what she was saying to the police officers. She was calling them to join the protests and stop firing tear gas. She also showed them that she did not have any weapon. Then she addressed the “Yellow Vests” protesters calling on them to stop throwing stones on police and stop provoking them.”

Meanwhile, Rasha Khatib, a Lebanese TV presenter known for supporting the Syrian government also tweeted on the protests in France claiming most protesters are in fact from “Arab origins and are being used to help spread violence in France as they did in their countries”.

Translation: “Unfortunately, the ‘Yellow Vests’ protesters are mostly from Arab origins and this is obvious in the uncivilized way they destroyed and how they expressed themselves before, which is the Arab way, not the French. Their movements are suspicious and there is a massive conspiracy theory behind it. This is an opinion.”

A few hours later, the social media flooded with corrected translations of the video that explain how women did not mention Arabs or anything of the sort.

Translation: “The correct translation of the video is: One: She is a protester not a police officer. Two: She is addressing the security forces urging them to stop. Three and this is the most important: She did not mention the Arab Spring and never said do not do what Arabs did like some lying media outlets claimed.”

France has been witnessing wide-scale unrest caused by government’s tax reforms for the past three weeks. A movement called “Yellow Vests” stands behind the heated protests across all French cities.


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