Wednesday, February 02, 2011

'more believable stories'

Mohammed Hanif in Dawn:

Trying to get my own Cairo update, I watched with concern as a barber shaved his customer while both watched Al Jazeera. A tour guide taking an American couple on Jesus Christ`s last walk on Via Dolorosa abandoned them for a bit and went into a shop to find out if Mubarak had left the country or not.
In Ramallah, the working capital of the very dysfunctional Palestinian Authority, I saw similar scenes. Cafe Lavie, one of the swish joints in town, was hosting a Spanish night. As the young kids danced the night away and middle-aged businessmen ogled them, they had one thing in common: they all insisted that Al Jazeera stay on so that they could watch the cool Cairo protesters flashing their `V` signs.
In Palestine Coffee Shop, an establishment so old and so set in its ways that it serves only coffee and nothing else, a place where old Arab men start playing cards at eight in the morning and are found taking naps before midday, customers wanted Al Jazeera on full volume.
Nobody becomes an expert on anything, let alone a political movement, by hanging out in mosques and coffee shops. I asked university students in Berziet and Nablus about why Palestinians were so interested in what was going on in Cairo. Their favourite word about the Cairo situation was `exhilarating`. They were all interested in what would happen next. They had all stayed up late to watch Mubarak speak, who, like all aging dictators, had indulged in a bit of self-pity.
Could something like this happen here, in Palestine? It was the obvious tourist question. But they were generous, as they had been asking the same question of each other.

1 comment:

km said...

Just as interesting is the question "could this happen in Pakistan?"

//who could have thunk 2011 would resemble 1968?