Sesame Street in Pakistan

posted at 4:45 pm on April 9, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

It’s a good thing we’re flush with money, highly influential and well respected around the world. Otherwise, this plan might not seem like such a spectacularly fabulous idea.

The United States is funding a Pakistani remake of the popular TV children’s show Sesame Street.

In a new effort to win hearts and minds in Pakistan, USAID – the development arm of the US government – is donating $20m (£12m) to the country to create a local Urdu version of the show…

The remake will star a puppet called Rani, the six-year-old daughter of a peasant farmer, with pigtails and a school uniform, according to Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

No word on whether or not the female child puppet will be wearing traditional garb, or how much of it, but we do know that they won’t be including Count Von Count in the cast. I’m guessing that’s because… he’s a vampire? Further, the show’s creators have stated that they’re going to be avoiding questions of religion, so I don’t know how much westernization might be taking hold from this.

So should we be dumping money into a project like this right on the heels of the bruising budget battle which just concluded? James Joyner notes that it’s not really a significant chunk of change and he might get behind the idea.

Is this an incredibly brazen waste of money? Or a drop in the bucket well spent? The second, quite likely…

I haven’t the foggiest whether a Pakistani Sesame Street will succeed in transforming the culture on matters of gender equality or literacy. But, given that we’re pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into the region, I’m willing to risk $20 million to find out.

Aside from the poor optics of spending any money we don’t absolutely have to right now, I suppose I can see Joyner’s point. But there’s another question to be addressed. The areas where we really need to reach people and begin to change their way of thinking are more with the tribal groups than in the urban areas which are somewhat friendlier to western interests. And those are the areas which will have the least access to television programming. In fact, they have a hard enough time even getting electricity, given the shortages and delivery problems the Pakistanis face with utilities.

But it will get through to some, I suppose. I just hope that whole “Bert and Ernie are gay lovers” meme doesn’t catch hold over there. I don’t think it will seem quite as amusing to the new audience.


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How in the hell can it cost $20 million to start that up? Are we building them the entire studio and broadcasting system?

redshirt on April 9, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Isn’t that Alan Grayson in the picture?

50sGuy on April 9, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Banned in 5 4 3 2 1

tarpon on April 9, 2011 at 4:51 PM

Screw Sesame Street. Force the Muppets on them. Miss Piggy is made of pork. If you want to build tolerance, that’s a good place to start.

joejm65 on April 9, 2011 at 4:52 PM

“Bert and Ernie are gay lovers”

So are most of the Taliban. Homosexuality has always been part of Islamic warriorhood, especially because of the sexual apartheid that Islam enforces.

Fortunata on April 9, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Definitely a hit in those all-boys’ madrassas, where the future fundamentalists are educated.

s/

Wethal on April 9, 2011 at 5:01 PM

Yeah? I gotta Big Bird for ‘em!

cartooner on April 9, 2011 at 5:08 PM

“Oh!
Jihad, Jihad, Jihad
Starts with “J”!

Shy Guy on April 9, 2011 at 5:11 PM

So are most of the Taliban. Homosexuality has always been part of Islamic warriorhood, especially because of the sexual apartheid that Islam enforces.

Fortunata on April 9, 2011 at 4:57 PM

I think that’s only in Afghanistan, where molestation of boys is common, so the victims grow up homosexual–vicious cycle.
“In Iran, there are no homosexuals”…You have Mr. AckMyDumbJihad’s word on it.

itsnotaboutme on April 9, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Today on Pakistani Sesame Street:
Bert and Ernie build roadside suicide bombs for killing Jews and Christians and other infidels.
Brought to you by the letter “I” and “J” as in Islamist Jihad…and the number 42 as in 42 virgins waiting in heaven for all Islamist martyrs.

albill on April 9, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Banned in 5 4 3 2 1

tarpon on April 9, 2011 at 4:51 PM

LOBBY!

Shy Guy on April 9, 2011 at 5:13 PM

Yeah? I gotta Big Bird for ‘em!

cartooner on April 9, 2011 at 5:08 PM

+1

Laura in Maryland on April 9, 2011 at 5:14 PM

itsnotaboutme on April 9, 2011 at 5:12 PM

LOL. I take it you’re not familiar with Lawrence of Arabia and his favorite Arab boy.

Fortunata on April 9, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Isn’t that Alan Grayson in the picture?

50sGuy on April 9, 2011 at 4:50 PM

No his character is Burka Bob who delievers pro taliban victory speeches.

William Amos on April 9, 2011 at 5:16 PM

I think the money would be better spent sending Wonder Woman comic books.

Slowburn on April 9, 2011 at 5:19 PM

“According to the 990 tax form all nonprofits are required to file, Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary Knell received $956,513 — nearly a million dollars — in compensation in 2008. And, from 2003 to 2006, Sesame Street made more than $211 million from toy and consumer product sales. Big Bird will be just fine without his federal subsidies.”

WHY is the government in the business of propping up Sesame Street around the world? Are they doing this for Subway? How about Home Depot or other corporations? But it’s “for the kids” right? Don’t back down folks. We must never feel like we can’t stop this corruption.

pjean on April 9, 2011 at 5:20 PM

Maybe we can get some Gitmo detainees to volunteer as puppets, but their buddies would have to use their left hands to um….make them move and talk.

Now here’s my fave:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqHfser_9_s

Laura in Maryland on April 9, 2011 at 5:23 PM

Elmo-hammed’s World!

JetBoy on April 9, 2011 at 5:24 PM


No word on whether or not the female child puppet will be wearing traditional garb …

Or be forced to marry her 57 year old cousin.

Tony737 on April 9, 2011 at 5:25 PM

albill on April 9, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Can you tell me how to get to Open Sesame Street??

Meet Abdul al-Big Burkha, Al-Mo, and ibn-Ernie and Muhamed al Burtai, his jihadist roommate, upon both should be collapsed a stone wall for their being Soddomites, but can redeem themselves by blowing up a bus filled with evil Jews.

If Pakistan wants to run Sesame Street on TV and adapt it into Urdu or whatever local language, all well and good. Let them. On their own dime.

But, in this time of overspending by government, and when that money could either be returned to the taxpayers, or put into the treasury to pay off at least a smidge of the debt, who over at USAID came up with this $20 million genius idea??

coldwarrior on April 9, 2011 at 5:27 PM

How in the hell can it cost $20 million to start that up? Are we building them the entire studio and broadcasting system?

redshirt on April 9, 2011 at 4:49 PM

$100 bucks for the show, the rest to go into the pockets of islamic fundamentalist.

Duh.

catmman on April 9, 2011 at 5:27 PM

No word on whether or not the female child puppet will be wearing traditional garb …

Or be forced to marry her 57 year old cousin.

Tony737 on April 9, 2011 at 5:25 PM

The episode on female genital mutilation should be ripe for a Pakistani Emmy.

catmman on April 9, 2011 at 5:29 PM

The USG: Winning the hearts and minds of children abroad, while it molests American children at home.

Rae on April 9, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Will Cookie Monster be wearing a suicide belt? Will any unmarried female be allowed on the program to interact with men? Will they be lashed on tv?

eaglewingz08 on April 9, 2011 at 5:45 PM

Brought to you by the letter E. as in my head is getting ready to explode… Just in the last few days, I have see a $600k frog statue paid for by the taxpayers, and 2 different commercials telling me how to get my kids to “move” (by sending them outside to play and sending them all over the house for a dollar). Why without the gubmints help, I never would have thought about doing either of these… Thank you Michelle O, that Let’s Move campaign is teaching me soooo much! I’m sure getting my 15Billion out of it? How about you???

Also brought to you by the letter “B” as in Broke. and the letter “S” as in for goodness sakes……STOP!!!

As for Mr. J’s well respected intelectual opinion that yet another plan to spend $$$ is a “drop in the bucket”, with all them drops the bucket will soon be full. (And it did not take a kollege degree to figure this out!)

kringeesmom on April 9, 2011 at 5:45 PM

Try that burqa crap on Miss Piggy: HIIIIIYAAAAH!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFvZtROeJrE&feature=related

Laura in Maryland on April 9, 2011 at 5:46 PM

The 2 new theme songs…

“Sunny day, chasing the infidels away, friendly neighbors where the car bombs meet.”

Cooperation, makes it happen, Cooperation makes Jihad work!

kringeesmom on April 9, 2011 at 5:47 PM

Sunni day – sweepin’ the Kurds away ….

Ronnie on April 9, 2011 at 5:48 PM

Billions for Defense, not one cent for tribute.

This is tribute AKA jizya.

El Mo introduces our guest for today, A.Q. Khan… who made a big bang a few years ago when he borrowed some very nice papers from a university in The Netherlands…”

profitsbeard on April 9, 2011 at 5:50 PM

I’ll go along with this as long as they headquarter ALL of PBS/NPR in Pakistan. ALL of ‘em.

Laura in Maryland on April 9, 2011 at 6:00 PM

“Shut up!…. I kill you.”

sandee on April 9, 2011 at 6:00 PM

“One of these beheadings is not like the others”

jjshaka on April 9, 2011 at 6:04 PM

“Me Grouchy”……knock my garbage can home over…..
and ha ha ha ha ha you’ll know the ABC’s…of ha ha ha.
…my RPG….ha ha ha ha ha…(snark).

canopfor on April 9, 2011 at 6:11 PM

I just hope that whole “Bert and Ernie are gay lovers” meme doesn’t catch hold over there.

In the Pakistan version, Bert and Ernie are two Joooos intent on controlling all of Sesame Street and suppressing the Muslim population.

JetBoy on April 9, 2011 at 6:12 PM

This Is USAID
**************

The United States has a long history of extending a helping hand to those people overseas struggling to make a better life, recover from a disaster or striving to live in a free and democratic country. It is this caring that stands as a hallmark of the United States around the world — and shows the world our true character as a nation.

U.S. foreign assistance has always had the twofold purpose of furthering America’s foreign policy interests in expanding democracy and free markets while improving the lives of the citizens of the developing world. Spending less than one-half of 1 percent of the federal budget, USAID works around the world to achieve these goals.

http://www.usaid.gov/about_usaid/
=======================================

Home
—–

http://www.usaid.gov/

canopfor on April 9, 2011 at 6:15 PM

Earlier this week Dick Lugar announced a $32 million grant to Purdue University to help train Afghan farmers. What’s the #1 crop in Afghanistan? Oh yes, opium poppies.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-ap-in-purduegrant-afgha,0,3368021.story

Nothing like spending money the country doesn’t have.

bw222 on April 9, 2011 at 6:16 PM

I just hope that whole “Bert and Ernie are gay lovers” meme doesn’t catch hold over there.
——————————–

In the Pakistan version, Bert and Ernie are two Joooos intent on controlling all of Sesame Street and suppressing the Muslim population.

JetBoy on April 9, 2011 at 6:12 PM

JetBoy:Lol,you is baaaaaaaaaaaad!:)

canopfor on April 9, 2011 at 6:17 PM

Ok. You guys are hilarious this weekend.

#winning

Jazz Shaw on April 9, 2011 at 6:34 PM

One of the top 10 HA screen caps of all time!

TheBigOldDog on April 9, 2011 at 6:44 PM

USAID Mission Web Sites
***************************

The following is a list of USAID missions that have an internet presence available to the public. This should not be considered an inclusive list of all USAID missions. For a more inclusive list of missions with contact information, please go to the USAID Mission Directory.
==========================================

USAID/Afghanistan
Our website demonstrates how American taxpayer dollars are being used to help Afghanistan and its people to build a peaceful

USAID/Albania
Albania has played a positive, moderating role in the Balkans and has made strides towards NATO membership and European Union integration.

USAID/Angola
Angola is continuing the transition toward national reconciliation and peace that was begun in earnest in 2002

USAID/Asia
The Regional Development Mission for Asia (USAID RDMA) was established in 2003 to manage regional development assistance programs in Asian countries without USAID Missions,

USAID/Azerbaijan
USAID activities have included nearly $284 million humanitarian and development assistance since 1992.

USAID/Bangladesh
Since Bangladesh gained independence in 1971, USAID has provided more than $4.3 billion in bilateral assistance to the country. Food aid accounts for nearly half of that amount. With USAID assistance,

USAID/Barbados
The Eastern Caribbean program of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) supports development assistance activities in the six independent states of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) plus Barbados.

USAID/Benin
The USAID Mission to Benin was re-established in December 1991 with an overriding objective to help consolidate both economic restructuring and the democratization process in Benin.

USAID/Belarus
The Republic of Belarus (Belarus) is located in eastern Europe. It borders Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.

USAID/Bolivia
USAID’s assistance program in Bolivia focuses on improving the effectiveness, responsiveness and transparency of local governance, Congress, and the justice system; increased economic opportunities for poor populations through business development and trade;

USAID/Bosnia and Herzogovina
The United States Government has pledged $767 million to date for the reconstruction of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In supportof the Dayton Peace Accords, USAID assistance is helping to create a stable, democratic post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina with a functioning free market economy. Other U.S. support is being provided in the areas of demining, police training, national and municipal elections and the War Crimes Tribunal. In addition, the U.S. Government has delivered over $1 billion in humanitarian assistance to the former Yugoslavia since 1991. USAID/BiH activities are focused on four objectives:

USAID/Brazil
The USAID/Brazil team is working to contribute to a number of mutual U.S. and Brazil development goals and objectives,

USAID/Bulgaria
The transition from communism has been slow and troubled in Bulgaria.

USAID/Cambodia

USAID/CAR Central Asian Republics

USAID/Colombia

USAID/Cyprus

USAID/Dominican Republic

USAID/East Africa

Burundi
Central African Republic
Djibouti
Somalia

USAID/Egypt
Following the Camp David Accords in 1978, and in recognition of Egypt’s moderating role in the Middle East, the United States Congress made Egypt one of the largest U.S. economic assistance programs in the world.

USAID/El Salvador

USAID/Ethiopia

USAID/Ghana

USAID/Guatemala

USAID/Guinea
USAID/Haiti
USAID/Honduras
USAID/India
USAID/Indonesia
USAID/Jordan
USAID/Kenya
USAID/Kosovo
USAID/Lebanon
USAID/Liberia
USAID/Lithuania
USAID/Mali
USAID/Macedonia
USAID/Madagascar
USAID/Malawi
===================

http://www.usaid.gov/missions/

Theres still all the way to Z to go,the only other Countries
that are not funded are shape-Shifters/Lizard People,Mars an
d the Moon!(sarc).

No WONDER AMERICA IS BROKE,PAYING WELFARE TO EVERY COUNTRY ON DA PLANET!!!

canopfor on April 9, 2011 at 6:45 PM

We spent hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of our troops precious lives and well being to install sharia law in Iraq and Afghanistan. That leaves me with no confidence at all that we will deliver some kind of constructive, pro democracy and Western civilization message via this idiotic kids’ show. It’s another nitwit waste of money.

Django on April 9, 2011 at 6:45 PM

We should broadcast this on Voice of America. Every Muslim head would explode, ending the need for “outreach.”

Akzed on April 9, 2011 at 6:53 PM

So Pakistanis are incapable of stitching together some crude puppets and videotaping them?

Crawford on April 9, 2011 at 7:08 PM

“Bert and Ernie are gay lovers”

So are most of the Taliban. Homosexuality has always been part of Islamic warriorhood, especially because of the sexual apartheid that Islam enforces.

Fortunata on April 9, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Now now. It’s not really homosexuality as long as one of the men doesn’t have a beard.

No, I’m not serious. But they are.

There Goes The Neighborhood on April 9, 2011 at 7:17 PM

We should broadcast this on Voice of America. Every Muslim head would explode, ending the need for “outreach.”

Akzed on April 9, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Akzed:Yup,I caught that on AmericaPower blog,what a hoot,
especially ripping out pages,WRONG…EVIL….to the
fire can!

Man,she’s a loaded pistol that one,fiesty too!:)

I wish AP would thread it,talk about heads explodey!:)

canopfor on April 9, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Sunni day – sweepin’ the Kurds away …. – Ronnie

Thread winner!

Tony737 on April 9, 2011 at 7:35 PM

The remake will star a puppet called Rani, the six-year-old daughter of a peasant farmer, with pigtails and a school uniform…

How can that be. Sharia law prohibits pig, pig tails or pig anything else.

Better name for Rani: Yassir Sheahs meh Behbey

petefrt on April 9, 2011 at 7:38 PM

$20 million WTF? They’ll blow it up within 20 days.

lonestar1 on April 9, 2011 at 8:08 PM

Now now. It’s not really homosexuality as long as one of the men doesn’t have a beard.

There Goes The Neighborhood on April 9, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Funny! But do goats count?

petefrt on April 9, 2011 at 8:13 PM

Don’t forget about Bert and Osama.

BDavis on April 9, 2011 at 8:32 PM

Son of a G@d d*mn B!tch !! Every dollar I’ve made since Jan. 1 has gone to pay my tax bill for 2011, and they shoot 20 mil to shoot a #$@%^ing kid show ? In freakin’ Smakistan, home of enlightened gender equity ?! Well, steal my skivvies, and call me Sally, THAT really tears it ! There’s only two types now, Patriots and Traitors.

teacherman on April 9, 2011 at 8:33 PM

Now, if they only owned TV’s…

trigon on April 9, 2011 at 8:41 PM

teacherman on April 9, 2011 at 8:33 PM

Have you seen the new LetsMove.gov commercial that teaches us how to send the kids outside to play. While I wonder how much this cost the taxpayers, and why they think we are so stooopid, my head explodes.

kringeesmom on April 9, 2011 at 8:56 PM

kringeesmom @ 8:56
I can only imagine. I’m afraid to watch for fear my head would explode. Typical Progressive mixed message. “Get out, and exercise ! NO!! You can’t ride your bike to school !” Recently came across and old summer camp group shot circa ’70, or ’71. I was struck by how lean just about all the kids were. And don’t blame today’s fat kids on junk food. That’s all we ate back in those days. Everything was some combination of sugar and/or cheese.

teacherman on April 9, 2011 at 9:16 PM

Ah yes, will ‘Rani’s’ uniform actually be a black garbage bag?

GFW on April 9, 2011 at 9:49 PM

Will the puppets heads be detachable?

profitsbeard on April 9, 2011 at 10:37 PM

Will this guy be their Cookie Monster?

profitsbeard on April 9, 2011 at 10:41 PM

One of the top 10 HA screen caps of all time!

TheBigOldDog on April 9, 2011 at 6:44 PM

Bert is evil.

http://www.bertisevil.tv/

SagebrushPuppet on April 9, 2011 at 10:44 PM

I hope Jeff Dunham has copyrighted this phrase

Gohawgs on April 9, 2011 at 10:57 PM

In a new effort to win hearts and minds in Pakistan, USAID – the development arm of the US government – is donating $20m (£12m) to the country to create a local Urdu version of the show…

I’m just shocked that NASA wasn’t putting this together. They’re the Muslim outreach office after all.

mizflame98 on April 10, 2011 at 1:01 AM

Obviously Rand Paul is a complete idiot for speaking up about severely limiting foreign aide.

V-rod on April 10, 2011 at 3:02 AM

The areas where we really need to reach people and begin to change their way of thinking are more with the tribal groups than in the urban areas which are somewhat friendlier to western interests.

Puppet beheadings can be done tastefully, with a certain comic flair. Keep it bloodless for the kiddies and bring them back like Kenny. A jinn replaces the vampire (be careful what you wish for).

Even if there are subliminal Bible messages in a brainwave sub-carrier, the money is better spent on cruise missiles. This sounds like a dollars only version of the bloody COIN strategy — so costly in American lives. The way to reach people in those places is to make them afraid of us.

We don’t need to prove to them how nice we can be. They need to prove to us why we shouldn’t kill a lot more sub-human barbarians.

Gandhi was wrong.

Feedie on April 10, 2011 at 5:33 AM

Because of the clear Western connection, this will instantly be declared “Haram” and the studios bombed while people working on the project are threatened or killed. Other than that, its not a bad idea.

KW64 on April 10, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Pakistan receives billions of dollars in US aid. They are one of the largest recipients. Of course they wisely spent the money to help their poor citizens by building nuclear weapons. Now all those starving Muslim zealots can threaten other countries with annihilation. We’re also pretty sure Osama Bin Laden is has been hiding out in their province of Waziristan, plus a zillion other Al Qaeda zealots. Why don’t we just launch a few ICBM’s and turn the whole wretched mess into a glass parking lot.

Rudemeister on April 10, 2011 at 1:56 PM

All of these “insignificant chunk(s) of change” add up to a really significant chunk of change. If we don’t start with something, we won’t start at all.

Big John on April 10, 2011 at 4:49 PM

I hope the puppets we send are laced with smallpox

Sonosam on April 10, 2011 at 7:11 PM