Monday, January 10, 2005

Soap factory worker speaks

Both my liberal and conservative readers may be amused by this, from an article titled "TV appeal by Richard Gere perplexes Palestinians" -- liberals because Bush is dissed, conservatives because Gere comes off looking silly.

"Hi, I'm Richard Gere and I'm speaking for the entire world. We're with you during this election time. It's really important. Get out and vote," Gere says in the English-language advertisement. He repeats the phrase, "Get out and vote" in Arabic.

But many voters, already struggling with the labyrinthine politics of the West Bank and Gaza, say they have never heard of the actor who swept Debra Winger off her feet as a dashing Navy officer in the 1982 film "An Officer and a Gentleman" and were even less interested when they were told he's an American.

"I don't even know who the candidates are other than Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), let alone this Gere," Gaza soap factory worker Manar an-Najar told Reuters Wednesday.

"We don't need the Americans' intervention. We know who to elect. Not like them -- they elected a moron."

It looks like the Palestinians, in fact, did know who to elect. Mahmoud Abbas opposes violence and there's a decent chance that he'll keep the extremists in control. My general views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by the way, are here.

Also, I can not think of a cooler occupation for a normal man-on-the-street who gives a funny, pointed quote than "Palestinian soap factory worker."

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