(2/4/2004) Ah, the power of a picture, even one that's been doctored. This photo and accompanying e-mail tell a story many want to be true, but, alas, it is not.
SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT
Here's one I hope you like. Feel free to forward. This was sent by a friend who noted that a group of Syrians decided to hold an anti-American rally. Since they couldn't read and write English for their protest signs, they found an English-speaker to "translate" their anti-American slogans for them. They apparently made the mistake of asking the wrong guy to help them and he took matters into his own hand.
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This is certainly not a good time to be anti-American. With anti-war and anti-american rallies popping up all over the country (and the globe), many Americans are frustrated that the right to free speech means authorities can do little to curtail these demonstrations. So, we take heart in tales of patriotic Americans who beat the protestors at their own game. When that patriot is also a veteran, all the better.
Alas, the tale, and this photo are fakes. The message offers little in the way of verifiable facts (date, location, name of the American, etc.), and exhaustive searches of news resources (including ones with notable liberal as well as conservative leanings) fail to turn up any related story.
Furthermore, the photo contains several signs it is a fake:
The canvases of the protest banners show some patterning, consistent with a section of blank canvas being copied and pasted numerous times to conceal the banners' original contents.
The lighting and color saturation among the three signs is nearly identical. This would not be the case in a real photograph, due to perspective and distance from the lens.
The letters on the signs are obviously not hand-written. So, what are the odds that a group of non-english speaking protestors would happen to have some English stencils with them?
Even if they did have stencils, the characters on the smallers signs in the back are of different height-to-width proportions to those on the sign in front.
Besides, stencils would have to have breaks in them to keep them in one piece (e.g., letters like P, O and A, would have to have some way to attach the center portion to the outer portion.
It would be fairly simple to create the image above from a real photo using photo editing software. The shape and the size of the text is consistent with this technique. Break this chain.