Between Appeasement and Use of Artificial Intelligence: Opinions Split over Mo Salah Video

On Wednesday, renowned footballer Mohamed Salah posted a video urging for humanitarian aid in Gaza that gained three million views on Facebook, and 32 million views on Instagram, in addition to becoming a top search on Twitter.

Breaking his silence, the 50-second highly anticipated statement shared on his social media profiles is the first time he’s spoken out about the current situation, since October 7; making it his first public statement in nearly 11 days.

Salah’s statement came amid outrage over the horrific bombing in the Baptist ‘Al Ahli Arab’ hospital which resulted in the death of over 500 people, and after insistence from his followers to speak up. “It is not always easy to speak in a time like this. There has been too much violence and too much heartbreak and brutality…What is clear now is that humanitarian aid to Gaza must be allowed immediately. The people there are in terrible conditions,” Salah said on his social media accounts.

Salah has more than 62.9 million followers on Instagram, his video until this moment has more than 32 million views, and more than 500,000 comments. On X, formerly known as Twitter, Salah is trending and thousands of users are sharing their reactions to the video. Many pro-Palestine followers made use of the comment section by raising awareness or providing a counter-narrative view about the Palestinian strife that has been going on for more than 70 years.

Many of those reactions are accusing the video of political correctness, or appeasement, and criticizing Salah for not speaking up in defense of Palestinians solely, or blaming him for speaking too late, and claiming neutrality by saying “All lives are sacred and must be protected.”

“Now that it is safe to speak since everyone already is and people in Egypt are out on the streets demonstrating!…some things never change,” commented the political activist and model Merhan Keller on Instagram.

“This speech was rehearsed and approved a number of times before he read it, so please stop criticizing this…he doesn’t have the freedom of speech like others, it is the cost of being a prominent athlete…we need to stop being opinionated and more efficient,” commented social media figure, Laila Youssef on Instagram.

In addition to the negative comments about Salah’s neutral stance in the video and the impression that it is polished, opinions are torn between whether the video is real or was made with the help of artificial intelligence. Only time will tell.

Salah’s efforts didn’t stop there, however, as he made a donation to the people of Gaza through the Egyptian Red Crescent. The amount was undisclosed but is said to be significant.

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