Bluey episode ‘Cricket’ accused by poet Omar Sakr of promoting ‘genocide’

An award-winning poet has accused popular children’s television program Bluey of promoting “genocide” against Arabic people.

In a new poem shared to Instagram, titled Bluey in the genocide, Muslim novelist Omar Sakr referred to ‘Cricket’, an episode in the show’s third season that centres around the Queensland family of cartoon dogs playing the backyard sport.

The episode – which left many in tears for its message of good sportsmanship and family values – happens to be the series’ most popular of all-time, an ABC poll of over 50,000 fans found in November.

When it aired last June, the episode amassed more viewers than Australia’s triumph at the cricket World Test Championship Final.

‘Cricket’ centres on titular character Bluey’s red kelpie friend Rusty, who “lives and breathes cricket”, and whose father is away serving in the Australian Army. At one point, the episode shows Rusty’s dad writing a letter to his family from the war zone.

“Best Thing I Watched Last Week: The Cricket episode of Bluey has been run back in my house a dozen times since I grabbed it yesterday. Just a beautiful and funny story about perseverance and sportsmanship that had me tearing up at Rusty’s dads (sic) letter,” journalist at US publication The Ringer, Phil Schneider, said at the time.

“WTC into Bluey’s ‘Cricket’ episode. Hell of a 24 hours. Bluey left me in bits,” grade cricketer Sam Perry wrote on X.

“Everyone else I speak to similarly in bits. Details perfect. Soul. Australian cricket is in good hands with Rusty. Dad why are you crying? That kind of thing.”

But, according to Sakr, “sportsmanship” wasn’t the only takeaway for some viewers.

“We watch the cricket episode, All laconic drawls and summer Games, a dedicated pup learning To play while his father is away,” his poem reads.

“His name is Rusty, he’s a star At bat. My son laps it up, as do I Until the end; the scene shifts And there is the distant dad In combat fatigues, and I learn Even in this cartoon world There is a desert full of dogs Soldiers and guns, and somewhere Out of frame, Arabs being put down.”

In the comments of the poem, others agreed, writing they “remember that episode and feeling”.

“This. Even these little moments that our kids absorb can influence what they see as ‘okay’ or ‘normal’,” another commented.

“Will there be an episode of Rusty’s dad having ptsd for the things he’s done?”

A third said: “That ending hits like a truck.”

In an Instagram Story of a screengrab from the Bluey episode, he wrote: “Even in Bluey we are being killed.”

The ABC declined to comment.

Sakr’s poem comes amid Israel’s ongoing retaliation campaign in Gaza, following the October 7 attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas in southern Israel.

The death toll from Israeli attacks on Gaza has climbed to more than 22,000, after three months of heavy bombardment and ground fighting.

The majority of those killed, according to health authorities in Gaza, are women and children.

Calls for a ceasefire and the unconditional release of hostages – which Australia supported in December, in a joint statement with Canada and New Zealand – continue to intensify.

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