'WTF White Helmets': Bizarre ‘mannequin challenge’ in Syrian warzone (VIDEO)
A video that appears to show members of Syria’s White Helmets partaking in the popular “Mannequin Challenge” with an injured man is causing confusion online after going viral.
With over 200,000 views on Facebook the video has left many bewildered as to its authenticity. Two men wearing the logo of the White Helmets, a western-funded civil defense network in Syria, are filmed in a frozen pose along with the man, whose legs are covered by debris.
Similar to the popular online craze in which participants remain still throughout the video, the camera spins around the scene with the three men featured not moving. Unlike the viral trend, however, the men then suddenly break into movement as the man is removed from the rubble.
The video was first posted online by the Revolutionary Forces of Syria Media Office (RFS), an anti-Assad media outlet. #MannequinChallenge was in the video’s title along with “edge of death.”
The audio track used in the first 24 seconds of the video differs from the natural sounds heard after that point with multiple voices and sirens audible.
The RFS has not revealed the location where the video was filmed, nor the date it was recorded.
Comments on Twitter claimed the video as proof that the White Helmets are “pure theatre,” with one user saying “don't know if they deserve the Nobel prize or an oscar.”
Gotta say, seems pretty dumb of the White Helmets to do the mannequin challenge, because you get responses like this https://t.co/hW2AYiqeag— Eliot Higgins (@EliotHiggins) November 21, 2016
The video was not shared on the White Helmets' social media pages and has since been removed from RFS social media.
Seems RFS media office figured out how bad this looks. They pulled their tweet & deleted the video from YouTube. https://t.co/qIy8vZ12bl— Lina Arabi (@LinaArabii) November 21, 2016
The video further fuels suspicion around the already questionable credibility of the organization, independent researcher and journalist Vanessa Beeley told RT, since the “extraordinary soundtrack” and makeup look exactly the same as in the arguably “real videos” from the White Helmets.
“It’s an extraordinary claim to make [out] that it’s a mannequin challenge. This video went out and it had a hashtag #MannequinChallenge. However, it’s a little bit unusual compared to some other mannequin challenges, that I’ve just been quickly looking at in the sense that yes, they are immobile, yes they’re not moving,” Beeley told RT.
“But then we have this extraordinary soundtrack that kicks in. So it’s not only they start moving, we have the whole soundtrack of the bombs falling, the screams and the so on. And what we’re now seeing, whatever reason the White Helmets had for doing this extraordinary event, we’ve seen a reaction that I believe … massively backfired on them.”
Besides that, the whole ‘mannequin challenge’ idea in the combat zone is highly inappropriate and contradicts the heroic portrayal of the White Helmets in media.“Even [if] it was a ‘mannequin challenge’, it’s an extraordinary thing to do in the midst of a war zone. It’s a complete mockery of the suffering of the Syrian people right now under attack from the terrorist and militant factions,” Beeley added.
Controversy surrounds the organization which Vanessa Beeley previously called “a fraudulent shadow-state construct created by NATO to simply propagate the propaganda that will demonize Assad’s government and also demonize Russian legal intervention in Syria.”
The organization, which claims to be “non-governmental” and “neutral,” admitted to RT that their funding comes from several western states including the US, UK and Germany.
RT contacted RFS for comment on the video but no response has yet been received.