The thing is I never thought this thing exisits, I thought in the job market they do chose and discrminate based on the name..but not the government service!
Aside from the siege, and the unique political situation in the Strip, Gaza is just like the rest of the Muslim world. Gazans celebrate the holidays just like the rest of the Muslim and Arab word. Ten days prior to the Eid, the Muslim holiday following Ramadan one starts to see more activity in the markets. The first items that indicate the arrival of the Eid is the appearance of pickled and sun dried salty fish (fiseekh). This type of fish makes you so thirsty that it’s all banned in Ramadan. Clothing vendors start exhibiting all sorts of new garments as people tend to buy new outfits to welcome the holiday. Thanks to the tunnels Gazans can find many goods including clothes as Israelis do not include clothes as humanitarian good. For their mediocre quality, clothes are a lot more expensive in Gaza than the rest of Palestine.
A week prior to the Eid, Gaza’s vendors start brining out the good stuff: candy, dates cookies, Turkish delight and nuts. Part of the Eid is visiting families and friends who compete in hospitality—the competition really is on your waste line. Most of those produces are made locally, still more expensive however than prior the siege. Many homes start baking their own date cookies, ladies of Gaza start forming baking teams. Banks start getting crowded where people start getting paid or taking out cash to meet the needs of the holiday because part of the Eid in some Muslim countries is to make money gifts to kids and women. As a result, change becomes hard to come by as people start holding on to it, something I despise. Kitchen ware stores start getting busier, as demand on cups, classes and plates skyrockets as homemakers work hard to impress expected guests with their flashy ware. Demand for cleaning supplies also surges, as most homes make sure that every corner of their home sparking clean.
Part of the Muslim holiday, well off people discreetly donate to the poor they know, some give to a social group that has better knowledge on who is in need. Some needy people kindly start reminding people of their need. I did notice this year a public announcement telling people tom make sure their donations do not fall in the wrong hands like terrorists.
Because the Muslim calendar is a lunar one, one finds out the day of the actual holiday the night before. Mosques start making announcement via their microphones congratulating the people in Gaza and wishing them a happy Eid. Since this is Gaza, political groups rent vans place gigantic speakers on top and wander the streets of towns and villages wishing them a great holiday season. Others political factions use graffiti to communicate messages of best wishes. In Gaza, the Islamic groups are better at this game as they control the mosque and are better organized than the secular ones. Barbershops get really busy where men and boys head there to shave, trim and cut their hair. If you can get a barber to take a day of on that eve of the Eid, you can do anything.
On the actual day of the Eid—it is three day holiday. People start visiting with each other and kissing in public, they even kiss total strangers. This is a holiday for the children and women. The kids receive a lot of cash gifts and they use it to buy whatever items on their wish list. Since cash is King, Santa Clause got nothing on those kids. They buy all sorts of toys and treats. Perhaps the most popular toy this season is a plastic gun made in China; this gun has a laser pointer on its front and shorts tiny plastic balls. This is a proof that Palestinians are buying weapons form the Chinese. Other winners of this holiday are cab drivers, restaurants, sellers of toys, and anyone that runs a business geared toward women. Women make plans all year long for what they will do with their cash gifts. They usually use it to pay off debits on goods they already have bought or save up to buy a piece of jewelry. At the end of the day, you have eaten tons of treats and drank even more, making it perfect for stomach trouble. That’s why pharmacies open on the day of the Eid and stock up on stomach trouble medicine.
On a serious note, many Muslim homes in Gaza open a small funeral in the early morning for those who have passed away since the last Eid. Gaza had many of those this time due to the rather large number of victims of the Israeli offensive on Gaza.
On my last failed attempt to leave Gaza through Rafah, I met a lot of interesting travelers. When all you have is time waiting to leave Gaza, I usually start conversing with others to make new bonds. One of those travelers was a young man who looked like a Chicago bound hip-hop star. I was not sure what to make of him until a fellow traveler told me this guy is a rapper. The traveler was making a notice of the rapper’s funky hair and how it does not agree with him. I laughed but since I am interested in Arabic rap and Palestinian rap in particular I went to talk to the rapper.
I approach the young man and ask him about his destination he tells me to Egypt to attend school there. I tell him I am headed to the States and then ask him if he was a singer, he says yes. And I learn his a member of a Palestinian rap group called BL@cK Un!T BAnD, we start talking about his band and their songs. We spoke of DAM, the infamous Palestinian rap group as well as PR and the movie “Sling Shot Hip-Hop” He has a great background on Arab rappers—most of them he has already collaborate with.
The rapper complains of the hardship they face not being able to travel to perform and do publicity. He has just performed for an event in Gaza with the anti-war group Code Pink. Mohammed Wafy is his name and I got to listen to some of their tracks and I was pleasantly surprised with what I heard.
When Mohammed learned of my interest and since we had plenty of time to kill he brought out his laptop and I asked him to give me some of his songs and his contact information, he was kind enough to do that.
The one song that captured my attention and me heart is also their latest collaboration with other Palestinian rappers to bring attention to the misery of life in
Gaza, the song is simply titled “GAZA Menha E7na” From Gaza we are, Look for it among other songs on their myspace page.
Mohammed is hoping to do more work and collaborate with other rappers which he will be able to do as now he is on his way to Egypt where his freedom of movement would be better. To listen or contact BL@cK Un!T BAnD, here is their information
Their official myspace site ..
and facebook page :
P.S. Mohammed was able to leave Gaza because of his Egyptian passport, I was among 150 travelers asked to return home
On day of my travel, one heads to the Stadium of Palestine, hoping to board the bus. Since the Egyptians do not share much information about who gets to travel on the designated days and since Hamas has a large list of people wanting to travel out of
The good news came as the Egyptians decided to extend the work of their side for one more day and many in
Two nights ago, I had a bizarre dream and since the dream was of an absurd political nature I thought KABOBfest would be a proper outlet for it. This is a further proof that everything in the Middle East is political, even dreams. Feel free to read into my dream and what it means.
The dream starts with me hanging out at the Syrian-Israeli borders and there were few Israeli tourists—the way they leered at me gave it away. We were looking at a huge mountain made out of mud; it looked more like a wall than a mountain. All of a sudden Bashar Al-Asad, the president of Syria shows up on a motorcycle coming from the Israeli side and heading toward the Syrian side. Attached to his motorcycle was a giant robot following him and looking more like a bodyguard to the president. The tourists started to checkout this futuristic scene not knowing what to make of it. There were a few other motorcycle ridding men who looked like they were parading in a show of force. The moment Bashar got into the mountain, through one of the giant holes it had, an Israeli unit showed up chasing him and his men. At that moment some random people showed up in fighting mode as if they were anticipating the Israelis. The dream gets even weirder as a group of men show up with lions, think Aslan from Narnia. The lions were angry and had chains to their necks. The men commanded the lions to take the chains and go into the mountain via a hole in the mountain—a different one—and secure the gate behind Bashar. The lions headed toward the mountain with their chains and struggled to get through the hole; the hole seemed not big enough. Eventually they made it and the Israelis were held back; they could not go after the president of Syria or any of the parading men.
I started thinking that the Syrians are trying to make a statement to show that they can do anything they want and they do not fear the Israelis; and how cool is Bashar showing up on a motorcycle protected by a robot? “Hey, I am Bashar, I am cool and so technologically advanced;” and how about those angry lions that were working for the Syrians? Yes, the lions were working for the Syrians! And the Israelis not able to know who was in their country! Also I now connect that his last name is Asad, which in Arabic translates to Lion. To my surprise, I remember my last thought in the dream was trying to convince myself that the Syrian security cabals would use a fake Bashar, just in case their operation was foiled.
P.S. I do not know why but it seems that my dream featured only males.
[Tarboush Tip: Don]