There are multiple reports that the show "Homeland" has Arabic graffiti that amongst other things criticise the show as racist.

The news reports cite the graffiti artists commissioned by the show, and get comment from the creators of the show, but it doesn't have in the text of the article a transcript of the graffiti, in either Arabic script or transliterated into the Latin alphabet. They only have photos of the graffiti, plus their purported translations into English. They also don't cite people unconnected to the show as verifying the translation from Arabic into English.

Does the Arabic graffiti in Homeland criticise the show and/or espouse similar political sentiments complaining about racism?

  • 1
    The one that says الوطن عنصري can be seen at this Quartz article; Google Translate gives "Home racist" (it actually means "Homeland is racist").
    – paradisi
    Commented Oct 17, 2015 at 8:50
  • i think this question is a better fit for movies & TV.
    – abcd
    Commented Oct 17, 2015 at 15:48
  • 1
    @dbliss This is a good site for analysing claims. I don't think it's a better fit in any way.
    – Tim
    Commented Oct 17, 2015 at 18:18

2 Answers 2


According to Google Translate, "Homeland is Racist" will translate to "الوطن عنصري", which you can compare to the graffiti:

From this article

These do look very similar. In fact, the only difference is the ي - or yā’. The written one is underlined, and the printed has two dots. This is likely a frequent difference, as there is no letter in the alphabet with a line instead of two dots. It is sometimes written with no dots, and sometimes with the dots so close they almost join.

However, online translators are often not great, and "Homeland" being the name of the show, is unlikely to translate well.

Translating back gives the following:

Google ⇒ "Home racist"
Babylon ⇒ "The racist"
Systranet ⇒ "The country is racial"
ImTranslator ⇒ "Home components"

This seems like it could be completely innocuous - there is plenty of racist graffiti, and this could just be saying that.

However, when I put the 4 outputs into Google, it gives completely different Arabic out, which seems odd. This does reinforce the case of it saying "Homeland is racist".

Originally, I thought that this was unlikely, but it does seem to be correct - this is saying the show is racist.


I don't know wether what the artists claim is true. This may have been put there on purpose as a joke, or may have been overlooked after rogue artists were given the contract. The latter seems a little unlikely, but there really isn't enough evidence to draw a conclusion.

  • 7
    Writing the two dots as a line is a common shortcut when you want to write quickly. It's never printed as a line but in handwriting it's quite common.
    – slebetman
    Commented Oct 17, 2015 at 15:27
  • is the conclusion here that this is clever self-deprecation on the show's part? or is this accidental filming of genuine criticism of the show made by the residents wherever it is filmed?
    – abcd
    Commented Oct 17, 2015 at 15:46
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    This has been on German news as well, as the footage was filmed in Berlin. This German website (use google translate if necessary) did an interview with the graffiti creator. Seems they asked a well-known graffiti artist of Arab origin to produce some graffiti, which he did, and he used anti-Homeland slogans on purpose because he didn't agree with what he perceived to be the message of the show. The article states he was astonished to see the producers hadn't double-checked his messages before sending them. Commented Oct 17, 2015 at 16:11
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    @GuntramBlohm that seems like a very good answer to the question, why don't you write it up as an answer with a few quotes from the interview with the artist? Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 9:37

Yes, it does.

The German newspaper Die Zeit (The Times) has also covered this event by interviewing the Arabic artist Caram Kapp, who was asked by the creators of the show to spray the graffiti.

The article (thanks to Guntram Blohm's comment) provides translations of the graffiti involved:

Statt der bestellten Pro-Assad-Slogans platzierte er Slogans, die sich gegen die Sendung selbst wendeten: "Homeland ist rassistisch", "Homeland ist ein Witz, über den wir nicht lachen können" oder "Die Sendung repräsentiert nicht die Ansichten der Künstler."

English translation:

Instead of the pro-Assad slogans that he was asked to create, he created slogans that had the opposite effect: "Homeland is racist", "Homeland is a joke, which we cannot laugh about" or "The message does not represent the views of the artist."

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