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Sixteen Minutes to Palestine

Coca-Cola recently released a series of mini-movie advertisements for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Among them is a feature on Ahlam Abueed and Dalal Foqua, two young girls from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

There are a few versions of the advertisement available online. The full version, above, runs for a little over four and a half minutes. In it, Coca-Cola highlights both Ahlam’s and Dalal’s aspirations to challenge cultural taboos by becoming successful footballers. The entire montage of interviews and voiceovers paints Palestinian culture as prohibitive and restrictive and concludes by sending the two young athletes to Brazil. Though seemingly in good faith, Coca-Cola essentially plays the role of the savior and offers two Palestinians an opportunity they could supposedly never have.

Despite how pleasing it can be to see Palestine featured relatively positively in mainstream media, there are a few glaring problems with the advertisement’s messaging.

First, Coca-Cola’s presentation of Dalal’s…

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