Rare Good News From Syria: A Dance Video Set to Usher

Adam Clark Estes

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You've probably read a lot of scary stuff about what's going on in Syria right now, and that's fine, because it's the truth. That's why it's refreshing to see some happy Syrian faces for once. A new YouTube video apparently shows Syrian Army soldiers taking a break from killing their countrymen to record a good-natured music video set to the song "Yeah!" by Usher.

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The track is immediately recognizable and almost immediately out of place in the post-apocalyptic landscape. The video itself is pretty laid back until this one dude walks like an Egyptian across the frame, and then the entire platoon organizes itself into some sort of conga line. It's like the one at your middle school dance, except these guys are wearing flak jackets and waving semi-automatic assault rifles in the air. And as soldiers sometimes do, the Assad-loyalists fire those guns in the air at end while screaming, "With our souls, our blood, we sacrifice for you Bashar!"

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You might think there's nothing terribly extraordinary about the Syrian Army dance video. After all, deployed soliders doing song and dance routines is practically its own genre on YouTube these days. This video of American troops in Iraq dancing to "Electric Avenue," among other songs, has racked up over 7 million views. This rendition of Lady Gaga's "Telephone" from some of our boys in Afghanistan is right behind at 6.9 million views. (Both are embedded below for your convenience.)

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But the Syrian one is a little different. Syria's been a bad news factory for well over a year. The death toll is now north of 60,000 people, and there's no clear indication that the violence is going to calm down anytime soon. Meanwhile, Israel is bombing the crap out of Assad's territory and everyone on the other side — both rebel fighters and civilians — is scared to death that Bashar is going to unleash his arsenal of chemical weapons on them. The most refreshing thing about this video, regardless of which side you're on, is that fact that it's gone viral not only amongst Assad's troops but also amongst the rebel troops. It's not that Usher is necessarily reuniting Syria right now or anything. Again, speaking for all of us who've spent the last year reading about deadly explosions in Damascus and looking at images of bombed out buildings in Aleppo and so on and so on, it's nice to see some smiles from the Syrians.

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