Sometimes it is difficult to be surprised by the Middle East and the crazy events that routinely take place. Some events might take your breath away and others might shock you, but nothing should surprise you. Here are some stories that would have surprised me if they had taken place elsewhere in the world.
– On May first is the Jewish holiday of Lag B’Omer – a secondary holiday that is typically celebrated with bonfires. recent years have seen the enemies of Israel burned in the bonfires. characters such as Arafat, Nasrallah and Saddam Hussein are typically found burning throughout Israel. This year’s enemy of Israel? Barak Obama. Coteret is reporting that right-wing group are distributing photos and other Obama merchandise to burn at the stake next Saturday. A Facebook group has even been created in order to spread the anti-Obama word. From IDF radio comes this brief interview clip:
Rino Tzror: A nice one. With or without a keffiyeh? Did you add one? Did you touch it up?
Bentzy Gopstein: No keffiyeh. A real picture of him conveys a keffiyeh, even if you don’t put one on him.
Rino Tzror: It conveys it to you. How many effigies did you make?
Bentzy Gopstein: A few hundreds. We are in production now. Some have been made. We distribute through Facebook. We opened the group “Hussein Obama comes to the bonfire.” That is where people will join and receive the effigies.
Rino Tzror: And who are the people who take the effigies or the pictures that they want to burn?
Bentzy Gopstein: A lot of people. We have inquiries from children all over the country.
Rino Tzror: Children. That’s the problem. Maybe you are ruining them.
Bentzy Gopstein: We want to educate children while they are small. When you burn it, when you have a Lag B’Omer bonfire with children, education begins with children. We want to teach them that we have to trust God, not Obama. [Doesn’t this sound like some sort of crazy mind control tactic?]
Happy Lag B’Omer President Obama. There is something telling when a certain sect of the Israeli population – one that supports the current government – is burning pictures of Obama and comparing him to Hitler. A special relationship indeed.
[tweetmeme] – Hamas is studying computer graphics. Everyone knows the story of Gilad Shalit – the Israeli soldier captured by Hamas. Hamas is demanding that Israel release Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the Israeli, though the German mediated talks seem to continuously break down with both sides blaming the other. The most recent move in the chess game is a rather artistic one as Hamas has released a 3D computer animated cartoon that depicts the father of Shalit walking through the streets looking for his son. The cartoon, though very grim, is a new tactic by Hamas. Sad stories told through cartoons (anyone see Waltz With Bashir). You can see the video here, but it is a pretty sad depiction of the poor 23-year-old soldier.
– Turkey – the most populated Muslim country – has opened its first nudist beach, and about time too! Near the resort town of Marmaris, a new beach front private hotel will allow foreigners (no Turks allowed) to shed the trunks and get some full body tanning. Careful though, while nudity is fine in the hotel premises, clothing is a must at any of the nearby public beaches. Saudi Arabia is reportedly considering a nudist beach in country the predicted tourist surge to Turkey.
Photo from Al Arabiya