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Attack, Arabs, American Dreams Converge in NM Town (What is going on here???)
Reuters ^ | August 12, 2002 | Zelie Pollon

Posted on 08/13/2002 7:34:57 AM PDT by Tancred

Attack, Arabs, American Dreams Converge in NM Town Mon Aug 12,12:15 PM ET

By Zelie Pollon

GALLUP, New Mexico (Reuters) - Along the famed U.S Route 66 highway and deep in a New Mexico community that bills itself as "the Heart of Indian Country," Jamal Abdel Jawad spreads a prayer carpet and calls to Allah.

Jawad is one of nearly 300 Palestinian immigrants who have settled in the isolated, Wild West town of Gallup, on the state's western border with Arizona. And like many of his immigrant compatriots, he makes his living selling American Indian jewelry and trinkets to tourists.

For Jawad and other Palestinians in the town, their American dreams center around their souvenir stands and the American Indian jewelry business. And their American dreams were tested by the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, Palestinians in Gallup suffered in the backlash against Arabs living in the United States as well as from the downward spiral of the U.S. economy. Their businesses suffered and several in the community were taunted with racist barbs.

"From September to December it was a nightmare," said Nash Khalay, a Palestinian immigrant who owns Al Zuni Global Jewelry Traders. He said wholesale and retail jewelry sales stayed at an all-time low until January.

But thanks to sexy models in bikinis, support from a community that saw the economic value of the jewelry trade and friendships with neighbors that spanned three decades, the racial slurs stopped and business picked up.

Turquoise and Indian jewelry became hot fashion accessories at the start of this year when Sports Illustrated included turquoise-clad women in its famous swimwear edition. Several other magazines also included turquoise in issues published around the same time, sending the market climbing upward.

TURQUOISE DREAMS

"It was international marketing. By January a force took over and turquoise became very strong. We can hardly supply the demand," Khalay said.

Jawad and Khalay say the people of Gallup have been accepting, even more so since the attack of Sept. 11.

"People sent cards, called and offered support. They went out of their way to be supportive," Jawad said.

"The economic factor is the biggest thing, but we've also brought a new culture a new way of seeing things and thinking, of dispelling myths. We Palestinians don't have humps and tails," Jawad joked.

Palestinian immigrants started arriving in the New Mexico border area in the early 1970s and entered into the American Indian jewelry trade. Word spread fast and soon dozens of family members and friends, most from Ramallah on the West Bank, began to flood in, laden with dreams of making it big selling Indian goods.

Jawad moved from Ramallah 22 years ago and lives in Gallup with his wife and four children. Three of his brothers and his father have also joined him and help with his sprawling All Tribes Indian Center. Khalay came from Ramallah in 1973 and his family followed soon after.

Gallup was settled in 1881 as a railroad town and quickly became known as a "migratory area for cultures worldwide," said Sally Noe, a local historian, and author of the book, "Gallup, New Mexico, USA: Our Story."

With nearby Zuni and Navajo American Indian reservations, the area gained a reputation as a center for Indian crafts and now claims the "largest cottage industry in the United States with the Indian Crafts," Noe said.

There are more than 100 Indian trading posts in and around Gallup and the majority are run or owned by Palestinian-Americans, said Ed Jungbluth, Executive Director of the Gallup Convention and Visitors Bureau.

ETHNICALLY DIVERSE

Although there are no official figures, merchants estimate the American Indian jewelry trade brings in tens of millions of dollars a year to the city with a population of just over 20,000.

When the tourists roll in for festivals or rodeos, the number of people in Gallup can mushroom to more than 100,000, said Barbara Quinones, president of the local chamber of commerce ( news - web sites).

Quinones said residents are proud to recount how Gallup was one of the only towns in the country that refused to intern their Japanese-American neighbors during World War II.

It was into this ethnically diverse community that immigrating Palestinians were absorbed.

While many in the Palestinian-American community feel an affinity with the American Indians, the feeling from the local Native American population is not always mutual -- at least as far as commerce is concerned.

"They're taking over our businesses and messing up our prices," said Freida Begay, a Navajo Indian who works in a nearby jewelry shop.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; US: New Mexico
KEYWORDS: indians; palestinians; turquoise

1 posted on 08/13/2002 7:34:57 AM PDT by Tancred
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To: Tancred
Maybe somebody who know more about New Mexico can clue me in. How did all those Palestinians end up there? How did they end up being so competitive with the American Indians? Do the Indians resent their trade?
2 posted on 08/13/2002 7:38:29 AM PDT by Tancred
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To: Tancred
I think that the idians make the jewelry and the palis sell it.
3 posted on 08/13/2002 7:41:22 AM PDT by stalin
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To: Tancred
"The economic factor is the biggest thing, but we've also brought a new culture a new way of seeing things and thinking, of dispelling myths. We Palestinians don't have humps and tails," Jawad joked.

Neither do the Jews, or other non-Muslims -- Jawad. And the sooner your countrymen and co-religionists stop teaching their children to hate Jews, and stop believing that rules of humane behavior only apply to other Muslims, the sooner the world can be at peace.

4 posted on 08/13/2002 7:43:22 AM PDT by lady lawyer
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To: Tancred
How did all those Palestinians end up there? How did they end up being so competitive with the American Indians?

I think you'll find that this area was always a part of Palestine. What's going on is simple the peaceful Palestinians taking back the land wrongfully occupied by Indians.

5 posted on 08/13/2002 7:46:14 AM PDT by Cachelot
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To: Tancred
The answer is yes they do. The Arab stuff is over priced and junk for the most part. The natives are angry. But the real question is why do the like Gallup? If you had ever been there you would wonder the same thing. Exept for Earl's where pie and coffee are a real bargin, I can see no point for anyone going to Gallup.
6 posted on 08/13/2002 7:55:32 AM PDT by roylene
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To: Cachelot
I think you'll find that this area was always a part of Palestine. What's going on is simple the peaceful Palestinians taking back the land wrongfully occupied by Indians.

How true. And the Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi, Lebanese Palestinians certainly deserve that land. But God help the Indians, car bombs aren't fun.

7 posted on 08/13/2002 7:56:10 AM PDT by xJones
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To: Tancred
"They're [the "Palestinians" are] taking over our businesses and messing up our prices," said Freida Begay, a Navajo Indian who works in a nearby jewelry shop.

'NUFF SAID!!!!

8 posted on 08/13/2002 7:58:51 AM PDT by Honorary Serb
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To: Tancred
"We Palestinians don't have humps and tails," Jawad joked."

What the heck is wrong with humps and tails????


9 posted on 08/13/2002 8:01:27 AM PDT by sinclair
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To: Tancred
Gallup is kind of a pass-thru town. It straddles an interstate and a major set of train tracks. Great place to get gasoline and a burger and then be on your way. It is right on the edge of the Navajo res and is surrounded by wind-carved cliffs of white Navajo Sandstone. It has a very lonely, desolate feel to it. Very barren- not much grows.

My imagination suggests that Gallup feels like 'home' to these immigrants, only without the wars and with more opportunities. More power to them- if they want to work and assimilate into the culture- and this area is loaded with local color (quirky) and culture.

10 posted on 08/13/2002 8:04:28 AM PDT by Lil'freeper
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To: Tancred
Jawad < "The economic factor is the biggest thing, but we've also brought a new culture a new way of seeing things and thinking, of dispelling myths. We Palestinians don't have humps and tails."

Notice how he didn't deny having horns on his head and a forked tounge.

11 posted on 08/13/2002 8:10:36 AM PDT by 1bigdictator
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To: roylene
Maybe its the desolation out there, perfect for Jihad training camps! (Remember the foothills of Fresno, murdered deputy sheriff?)
12 posted on 08/13/2002 8:14:54 AM PDT by Terridan
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To: dtel
*ping*

Needing your knowledge of NM here.
13 posted on 08/13/2002 8:26:02 AM PDT by EggsAckley
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To: Tancred
Normal people cannot live in a lawless enclave ruled by outlaws. Those Palestinians who want to work, and raise their families, and live in peace out from under the thumb of violent psychopaths have left already, and are to be found living and working all over the middle east, and europe, and, obviously, even in Gallup, New Mexico.

Where they are not, is the West Bank. Their cousins still living there have struck a bargain with the devil, living off of NGO doles and the tender mercies of Jihadist killers.

The Pals living here have not yet rid themselves of the racism and prejudices typical of so many Arabs, but they have at least had the sense to get out, and to get their families out. That is the first step.
14 posted on 08/13/2002 8:33:55 AM PDT by marron
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To: Tancred
There are more than 100 Indian trading posts in and around Gallup and the majority are run or owned by Palestinian-Americans...what an irony. Most native peoples have sovereign nations on reservations, the one thing the parasites from arafat's paradise don't seem to be able to get no matter how many children they blow up.
15 posted on 08/13/2002 8:35:29 AM PDT by RWG
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To: EggsAckley
I have only passed through the Gallup area on the way to somewhere else.
I do think they would like the isolation of the area and the fact they are so readily welcomed into the community.
This article was a piece of drivel and only presented one side of the equation until the very last sentence.
I think you can draw your own conclusions from this.
16 posted on 08/13/2002 8:39:25 AM PDT by dtel
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To: Tancred
The answer is money. A poor immigrant can walk into Gallup with little English and no money and become very wealthy in a few years. Their's is a trading culture and we are idiot consumers,

In Gallup it all comes together. An endless supply of fools from the interstate eager to spend money, a perception
of a local product, a rustic theme to keep expenses low, arab traders willing to bend the rules and sell faux
jewelry to faux people. Gallup is a nasty town but it has
(officially) twenty two millionaires and in reality probably thrice that.

This opportunity always has been available to whites and Indians. Why do they prefer to work for six bucks an hour
at Walmart and bitch about the rich arabs? The answer is in the culture.
17 posted on 08/13/2002 9:10:03 AM PDT by MARTIAL MONK
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To: Tancred
Abdul Yazee says "Allah akhbar, billigana".
18 posted on 08/13/2002 9:16:33 AM PDT by Salman
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To: Tancred
Interesting article. What I want to know is:

1. What are Palis doing in Gallup, the town with the highest cases of alcholism per capita in the nation?

2. They were helped by modles in bikinis? Wouldn't they think that is totally out of line? Or is it OK so long as they have their head covered?

I never stop in Gallup if I'm heading that way. I always stop at the Giant Truck Stop about 20 miles out of town.
19 posted on 08/13/2002 9:20:33 AM PDT by CougarGA7
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To: MARTIAL MONK
The answer is in the culture.

You are so right on. The driving force of capitalism is competition which is not a significant part of Navajo culture. Competition destroys "balance." I remember back during the hanta virus mess stumbling across a PSA on a Navajo radio station about the use of bleach and dealing with rodents. The theme was not 'do this to protect yourself' it was 'do this to restore harmony.' Their's is a beautiful and fascinating culture but not one equipped to thrive in a capitalist society.

20 posted on 08/13/2002 9:29:15 AM PDT by Lil'freeper
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To: Lil'freeper
I have often seen Navajos pulling $1000 a day out of a roadside stand. No books, no income tax. After a few months they are gone. They just shrug and say *That is enough".

One lady I know weaves rugs. She sells them for $400 to
Trading Post across the highway. They sell them for $2500. I asked her why she didn't build a leanto by the road, weave there and sell her own rugs. She looked at me like I was crazy and said *No. That is not the way things are.*
21 posted on 08/13/2002 10:33:10 AM PDT by MARTIAL MONK
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To: marron
The Pals living here have not yet rid themselves of the racism and prejudices typical of so many Arabs, but they have at least had the sense to get out, and to get their families out. That is the first step.

So you would agree with Joey Lieberman that we should bring more Palestinians into the US:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/704689/posts
22 posted on 08/13/2002 12:41:35 PM PDT by Michael2001
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To: Michael2001
So you would agree with Joey Lieberman that we should bring more Palestinians into the US:

Not at all. I said that they were smart for getting out of the West Bank. There are a lot of Pals scattered around the middle east, and europe, and even here in the US.

I didn't say I wanted them here, which is quite another thing. But that the ones who remain behind on the West Bank, ruled by thugs and living on UN welfare, have made a decision and are complicit in the consequences of that decision.

23 posted on 08/13/2002 1:13:49 PM PDT by marron
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