- Comedian Trevor Noah apologised for making a Bollywood joke about the conflict between nuclear rivals India and Pakistan that could have ended in war.
- Noah said: “If they did go to war it would probably be most entertaining war of all time,” and pretended to be an Indian solider singing and dancing.
- Noah later apologised, but pointed out that his joke “trended more than the story of the actual conflict itself.”
- Tensions rose sharply between India and Pakistan, which have fought multiple wars, leaving world leaders urging caution. At least 10 people died in shelling at the border in Kashmir.
Comedian Trevor Noah apologised for making a Bollywood joke about the conflict between India and Pakistan which brought the nuclear rivals closer to another war and left more than 10 people dead in related fighting.
On “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” Noah said that he did not want the two countries to go to war, but “i>f they did go to war it would probably be most entertaining war of all time.”
Noah said that in the event of war, Indian soldiers would enter the battlefield singing “time for you to die,” before miming an Indian soldier dancing and singing in the style typical of Bollywood, the huge Indian film industry that often incorporates song and dance.
Noah joked that “it would also be the longest war of all time – another dance number!”
Watch the clip below. Noah begins to talk about the situation between India and Pakistan at two minutes into the video:
Tensions sharply rose between the two nuclear rivals after a February 14 attack in the disputed Kashmir region, carried out by a terrorist group based in Pakistan, that killed at least 40 Indian troops.
The two countries then shot each others’ jets out of the sky, and Pakistan captured an Indian pilot on Wednesday. Pakistan returned the pilot on Friday as a “peace gesture.”
Noah apologised for the joke on Saturday, tweeting: “As a comedian I use comedy to process pain and discomfort in my world but I am sorry that this hurt you and others, that’s not what I was trying to do.”
He also pointed out the irony that his joke “trended more than the story of the actual conflict itself.”
“Sometimes it seems like people are more offended by the jokes comedians make about an issue than the issue itself,” Noah said.
Actually if you watch my stand up you'll see that I did make jokes after my mother was shot in the head. As a comedian I use comedy to process pain and discomfort in my world but I am sorry that this hurt you and others, that's not what I was trying to do. https://t.co/OuVnkHyIfG
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) March 2, 2019
It's amazing to me that my joke about the conflict in India and Pakistan trended more than the story of the actual conflict itself. Sometimes it seems like people are more offended by the jokes comedians make about an issue than the issue itself.
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) March 2, 2019
Critics called Noah’s joke “racist” and wrote under Comedy Central UK’s official YouTube video that Noah was trying to make war “funny” and that he was “reducing a whole country to a movie industry.”
One commenter wrote on YouTube: “Dear Trevor Noah, I am an Indian. I found all your shows funny except this one. War is not funny. My state is very close to Pakistan and you should come and see the tension here. WAR IS NOT AN ENTERTAINMENT.”
“The conditions here are really bad. Please don’t call war an entertainment as we’ve fought many battles with Pakistan and we know that it’s not funny. It’s not ‘entertainment’ [because] it results in nothing but bloodshed and loss.”
World leaders urged caution as tensions mounted between India and Pakistan, who have fought three wars over the Kashmir before. They took place in 1947, 1965, and 1999.
The two countries have blamed one another for each attack and offered conflicting accounts of the clashes over the past three weeks.
Troops fired across Kashmir’s Line of Control between the two countries, with at least eight civilians and two soldiers killed in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir since last Tuesday, The Associated Press reported.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since both countries gained independence from British rule in 1947. Both countries claim the territory in its entirety.
Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday that had the conflict escalated into war, it would have been “mutual suicide.”
The country’s prime minister, Imran Khan, also questioned whether the countries could “afford miscalculation” given the devastation that could be caused by their nuclear arsenals.
India, by contrast, has remained relatively silent over the course of the conflict.
Pakistan shut down its entire airspace last week but has since reopened parts of it. The country said that it will take action against militant groups operating on its soil, Reuters reported, in a sign that tensions are de-escalating since the return of the Indian pilot.
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