Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Gazans Miss the ATM...
As the occupation enters its 40th year, Palestinians still maintain a sense of humor, particularly in Gaza, where Israeli-mandated "belt-tightening" takes hold as the Hamas-led government is slowly strangled, deprived of funds. The following item from Reuters details the jokes now making the rounds (thanks, Laurie):
For unpaid Palestinians, laughter is free
Sat 3 Jun 2006 8:34 AM ET
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
GAZA, June 3 (Reuters) - Unpaid for the last three months, a Palestinian government employee telephoned a Gaza radio station to dedicate a song to an old friend he hadn't visited for a while -- his local ATM cash machine.
"I miss you," the man lamented over the airwaves, prompting loud laughter from the radio host.
Some 165,000 government employees have gone without pay since Western donors and Israel stopped sending money to the Palestinian Authority after Hamas, an Islamic group dedicated to the Jewish state's destruction, took power after a January poll.
Using local revenues and donations, the Finance Ministry plans to start paying the salaries of the 40,000 lowest-earning employees on Monday.
In the meantime, some Gazans are meeting hard times with a sharpened sense of humour.
A video clip making the rounds on Palestinian cellular telephones shows a ATM machine with a note reading "dead" on its screen. A man stands next to it, weeping and holding his credit card.
At a Gaza market, a fruit merchant told the tall tale of a Hamas government minister who wanted to buy a watermelon but was offered a peach instead.
"You call this a watermelon?" the minister asked.
"Yes, this is what it looks like after three months of your policies," the vendor replied.
And Palestinians have been chuckling at jokes like this:
A government employee walks into the street and throws his dentures into the gutter.
"How are you going to eat now?" asks a surprised passerby.
"No problem," the man replies. "There's nothing to eat, anyway."
Tags: Palestine, Gaza