Did the Text on this Tote Bag Say It Was There to ‘Terrify Those Afraid of Arabic’?

Two Palestinian graphic designers’ work has been drawing attention for years online, but online shoppers looking to spread its sarcastic message may be disappointed.

Haitham Haddad and Sana Jammalieh’s totebag was first seen in August 2016:

This bag was spotted today in Berlin. It reads:”The only purpose of this text is to terrify those afraid of Arabic.” pic.twitter.com/CwJVq6Oz4R

— Tarek El-Messidi (@Elmessidi) August 17, 2016

The duo quickly identified themselves as the makers of the bag, saying that they were flooded with requests for the bag as the photograph of it gained traction.

“It came from our reality because we are Arabs — Palestinians living in Israel,” Haddad said at the time:

There’s sort of a common fear or misunderstanding of the Arabic language here. So it was an in-your-face message to make fun of people who are scared of the Arabic language … and are afraid of it. Because people who don’t think much connect it directly to, you know what [terrorism].

At one point, Jammalieh and Haddad also made the design available as a shirt through their Rock Paper Scissors studio’s online store. But unfortunately for fans, they announced their studio and store closure in December 2017.

“Any products similar to ours that you will find online in 2018 and so will probably be fake,” they noted.

Sure enough, all sorts of items purportedly bearing the same message can be spotted online — and photographs of tote bags doing the same continue to draw attention as well.