Friday, September 25, 2009
One of the most asked questions I have got since my return to the states: "Do you think Hamas [or really any Islamist party] will takeover in the Palestinian territories?"
My answer? I have been saying something to the tune of: "No, I just don't think that Palestinians that religious."
But to clarify, I really mean that I don't think that many Palestinians mix religion with politics. Most seemed to think it was a bad idea. And I'd say even more so than that other Arab populations in the Levant, Palestinians are the most secular people. Proof?
Ramallah, West Bank - On "Saturday Night Live," which has long parodied politicians ranging from Jimmy Carter to Sarah Palin, these characters would be well within bounds: An Islamist judge who is a latent homosexual. A negotiator who emerges from peace talks stripped to his boxers. A president who worries about his Israeli-issued checkpoint pass.
But this is Palestinian state TV.
Premièring during the holy month of Ramadan, the first-ever Palestinian political satire show turns national leaders and military strongmen into absurd protagonists on its nightly broadcasts, winning a growing viewership.
A rarity across the Middle East, the comedic production known as "Watan a la Wattar" marks a seminal experiment in self-mockery and free speech in a society torn by internal politics and hemmed in by Israel's military occupation.
"Through comedy you can reach the heart of the audience more quickly," says actor Manal Awad during a break in filming at an upscale Ramallah loft studio. "The Palestinian people deserve to laugh because we have enough drama. If you make people laugh at difficult topics, you force them to look at things with a different point of view."
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Yes this is Abu. Yes I am very tired. Yes my four-month Middle Eastern voyage--Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, West Bank, Israel--has come to an end. I have plenty planed, however. But before I get around to posting "what's next", check out the following:
1. NY Times is saying that a ton of OIL was found this year. Huh. Even in Israel. Take a read.
2. Thanks to As-Salibi, our Bethlehem-based correspondent--and gracious Texas nut that let me stay in his apartment for a month--we have the link that talks about Texas, Jihad and Israel, all in the same story.
3. Read Bibi's exhibition at the UN. Though you need to be a real sicko to question the Holocaust, well, fuck it: just read what he said and let me know if you agree with his "tactics." I have a few emails in my inbox that do not.
4. Yes I am adding a "four." Our man Gaddafi was just brilliant. The Guardian did the best/most epic re-cap:
He tore up a copy of the UN charter in front of startled delegates, accused the security council of being an al-Qaida like terrorist body, called for George Bush and Tony Blair to be put on trial for the Iraq war, demanded $7.7tn in compensation for the ravages of colonialism on Africa, and wondered whether swine flu was a biological weapon created in a military laboratory. At one point, he even demanded to know who was behind the killing of JFK. All in all, a pretty ordinary 100 minutes in the life of the colonel.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
In this amazing and educating video, COL Bruce Clarke and MAJ Tinh-A-Nhi reflect on their experiences on the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Khe Sanh. Clarke writes about this turning point in the Vietnam War in his recently released book, Expendable Warriors. After watching this video, it is clear the lessons learned are more than applicable to both the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq. I hope I'm not the only one who watches this video. I'll let it do the talking.
CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO.
What say you Casbahites?