As the premier educational “English language” ambassador to the Islamic world for a few decades now has Sesame Street’s reputation been tarnished by its use in torturing 9/11 era terror suspects and detainees?
By: Ringo Bones
Since it started back in 1969 – the educational children’s TV show Sesame Street by the Children’s Television Workshop has more or less served as the “ad hoc” educational English language ambassador for America and the rest of the Western world to the Islamic world, but will the newly uncovered evidence that Sesame Street songs that were primarily composed to teach children from non-English speaking countries to master its everyday use had been used to torture 9/11-era terror suspects in the Bush administration’s “extraordinary renditions” program primarily in Guantanamo Bay prison interrogation of “terror suspects” tarnish the reputation of this much beloved children’s education program? And if did, can it ever claim it back again?
The Al Jazeera film “Songs of War” which was released a few years ago alleges that Sesame Street songs were used on 9/11 era terror suspect detainees The Guantanamo Bay terror suspect inmates were “tortured” by being forced to listen to songs from Sesame Street at uncomfortably high volumes for days on end. Christopher Cerf, who has worked as a composer on Sesame Street for more than four decades first said upon hearing the allegations that: “My first reaction was that this just can’t possibly be true”. The Grammy and Emmy award winning composer said.
The Al Jazeera produced documentary’s claims are backed up by a 2008 Associated Press report which found that several songs, including the Sesame Street opening theme song, were used as part of the Bush administration era 9/11 terror suspect detainee interrogation process at the US detention facility back in 2003. Christopher Cerf and other composers working for the Children’s Television Workshop were utterly appalled upon hearing this. Will the Islamic world now see Sesame Street as a “tool of American imperialism”?