Skip to comments.Ramallans shop now, will mourn afterwards [Prepare to Party]
Posted on 11/09/2004 6:35:47 PM PST by Alouette
On Lailat al-Kader, the holiest night of Islam, in the epic conflict between shopping and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's impending death, shopping has proved victorious.
Or at least that's what Khaled Barghouti thinks. Smoking a water pipe at the Ramallah Coffee Shop, where PA officials and Fatah officials like to hang out, Barghouti explained that "we have a conflict between shopping and Arafat's death... it seems that shopping has won."
As the Ramadan fast comes to a close, Palestinians made sure to get their shopping done.
The streets of Ramallah throbbed Tuesday night with youths and women pushing perambulators. Women and children scrummed around a pile of plastic wrapped toys: "Anything you want for half a shekel," chanted a man standing on a crate.
A large screen just off al-Manar Square looped the latest broadcasts of Al-Jazeera and several dozen men stopped to watch. But most filed past.
Abdel Jalal, 26, hawked blue jeans from a street corner and explained that "we know he is dead but don't want to believe it."
After almost two weeks of being fed incrementally worsening news about their leader, most Palestinians have acknowledged their sorrow, but shouldered on through the gauntlet of merchandise.
Some sold whistles and others lightning-shaped balloons.
"I would give all this merchandise away the second I hear that Abu Amar [Arafat] is dead. But before we know he is dead, God forbid, it is better to sell all the merchandise," said Jalal.
All but restaurants and food stores will be closed for 40 days after Arafat's death in accordance with Islamic tradition.
The carnival feel of Ramallah's downtown was offset by the solemnity outside Arafat's crumbled Mukata. There, almost 100 people waited for any snippet of news about their leader.
Sitting with his back to the battered wall of the compound, Kamal Hodali, 20, whimpered, "I cry because my president... they killed him." He believes Israel had poisoned Arafat, a claim denied by PA Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath on Tuesday.
Kamal and his friends, all students at nearby Bir Zeit University, demanded that Arafat be buried in Jerusalem. "It was his will, his dream," Kamal said.
Arafat's death has become a fait accompli here. But his burial place has not.
Some youths insinuated that the failure of Arafat's successors to secure his burial in Jerusalem could prove to be their downfall.
Ahmed Qurei and Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat's putative heirs, "will never be as good as Abu Amar." Almost everyone asked said they wanted Arafat to be buried in Jerusalem.
Jalal, the jeans salesman prophesied that Id al-Fitr, the feast marking the end of Ramadan, would be "the day of shahids. That will bring true celebration."
Suicide bombings and attacks against Israelis would follow Arafat's burial, he said, adding that he should know since his family counts 11 "martyrs," including two of his brothers. Oddly he had decided to set up shop at the doors of the Friends Meeting House on Rukab Street.
Palestinian journalists doubted that their countrymen would fault the new leaders for something they could not control. One them was "shocked by the very bad behavior of Palestinians." He thought that once Arafat dies, the Palestinians would perhaps "have a demonstration or two."
Back at the Ramallah Coffee Shop barely a head turned when Al-Jazeera broadcast the 9 p.m. news. The Fatah officials, some even Arafat's former bodyguards, kept chatting or playing gin rummy.
"The truth is," said Barghouti, still smoking his pipe, "we began hearing about Arafat's illness 10 days ago. The news constantly conflicts; he is alive, he is dead. He is better, he is sicker. Our only reaction is that we become quiet and we wait."
Sounds like even his own people are getting ready to party.
WARNING: This is a high volume ping list
Islam: No civil rights, murder all of the infidels, no alcohol, no modern amenities. Just opium and hookahs.
It sounds like the Ramallans are gearing up for "white sales" on subsequent aniversaries of Arafat's birthday.
"...Dude! This tape of the Egypt show shreds!"
Isn't next Friday the big worship day on the Temple Mount, as it is the last day of Ramabomb? If that's the burial day, how many extra thousands of Palis will ascend the Mount? There would thus be two scenarios: they will stampede because of a funeral located there (God forbid), or they will stampede in rage because the funeral is *not* there.
Either way, it looks like a recipe for a Temple Mount collapse. The earth would swallow them up by the thousands.
Hope the turn-out is good.
That's Laylat al-Qadr, usually translated "Night of Power". It is the night on which, supposedly, the first revelation of the Koran was given to Mohammed by the Archangel Gabriel. [Koran, Sura 97, al-Qadr verse 1]
The root meaning is, approximately, "to decree". It is on this night that God decrees to the angels his commands for the coming year. And a good Moslem is supposed to pray, not shop. It is also the night when angels can descend to earth and reascend carrying your prayers - a story probably based on Genesis xxviii:12.
What tradition might this be? Serious question.
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