Monday, 3 August 2009

This cannot be, surely?

Someone please tell me that Counting Cats has got the wrong end of the stick.


Update: Via Twatter, CathElliott says: "My understanding is that the young girls were the bridesmaids. The brides were sat in the audience."

Let's hope that's the case.


SaltedSlug said...

It's exactly this kind of thing which will forever alienate them as a 'culture'.

One day the oil will run out, and they'll have to join the human fucking race.

Sue said...

It's all acceptable and legal under Sharia Law. Won't be long before it's common practise in the UK and EU (if it's not happening already in theory, I would be surprised).

Thortung The Terrible said...

Utter fucking sickos.

Anonymous said...

It is happening in Keighley. Only they don't pretend to marry them...

Obsidian said...

Backwards religious types and paedophilia have always gone hand-in-hand.

Add in a backwards culture and you get blushing brides who haven't even started their periods yet.

Sort of thing we need to say "stop pulling that shit, or no more money and no outrage next time Israel decides to reward your missile throwing by flattening you."

Anonymous said...

I would be surprised (and revolted) if the kids shown were the brides, on the basis that all the other women on the crowd were in burkas etc, whereas they were dressed in more Western style. There were women in the crowd in white burkas - could they be the brides?

woman on a raft said...

This one is via a Chinese news agency, so there's a tussle with the language as well as the culture:

"BEIJING, Aug. 3 -- Tayseer Association, a Hamas-run matchmaking agency in Gaza, held a mass wedding ceremony for visually impaired Palestinians in central Gaza on Sunday".

There's a kinda logic to it; identify your visually impaired young men and match 'em up with the less aesthetically gifted women. David Blunkett would be in clover.

The better news is that based on a tiny photo with no discernable caption, the older women in white burqhas seem to be the brides, whereas the children do appear to be bridesmaids. But I'm guessing as much as the Chinese news reporter was.

See the little photo, I can't get the video to work

woman on a raft said...

Scanning the stories, the AlJazeera coverage seems tolerably detailed (it's certainly no worse than the BBC and often a lot better) and quietly mentions that Hamas has to work hard to maintain its popularity. By no means does it carry the wholehearted support of all Gazans.

However, there seems to have been a blind-spot on the PR front. Lacking pictures of the brides AlJazeera has gone for the nearest substitute camera shot. This happens to be the little girls dressed up for the party, which all little girls love doing.

Hamas may be surprised and dismayed at how the pictures are being interpretted.

Al Jazeera video

Mind you, I'm not completely convinced that all of the brides exist. Did anyone else see that Hotel Babylon episode where they try to hold the fake wedding? In Gaza, Hamas would get their party, the coverage, and at least some of the people would be married - there's bound to be a few who don't mind taking a lucky-dip approach.

So long as the $400 turns up, are you seriously going to make a big argument over the non-delivery of promised bride? I wouldn't. I'd just say that if they couldn't deliver one within a reasonable period (say, three months), then I would require paying again when the next consignment came in.

I'm not sure I've understood exactly how this stuff works, though.

CountingCats said...

Woman on a raft, the chinese report is aparently a different celebration. Nothing to do with this story.

Given that marrying young girls of this age is nothing unknown and is sanctioned by Shariah, which is the legal system Hamas is introducing, I have no problem believing this is true.

Call me Infidel said...

According to the CIA the median age in Gaza is 17.4. Total fertility rate 5.03 children per woman. My question is how do they sustain this? What do they produce other than children? Just how much "aid" do these people get?

woman on a raft said...

@ Counting Cats

I also have no trouble believing it, but that hasn't been substantiated.

Hamas have found a whizz of a PR stunt and there are several stories in the same vein (just google Hamas weddings): brides for the disabled, sponsored weddings in a refugee camp in Syria, 100 mujahdeen widows remaried thanks to payments by Hamas. A widow is worth $2,800 if you take one on.

They've been working up to the 450 groom stunt and had it very carefully orchestrated for the media. Illuminations, little flags, coordinated wedding clothes, stands...those things don't organize themselves. The weddings are coordinated by Hamas' match making service.

In the stories, the same phrases and structure keeps popping up, as if a basic press release has been re-hashed for each event and handed out to the international press corp. The stories have everything to do with each other.

As AlJazeera tactfully suggests, the wedding stunt has the effect of putting several hundred healthy young men of various factions in front of the camera and all under one Palestinian flag. It presents a face of unity when there has got to be huge pressure inside that place and we know Hamas is losing support.

What I don't see is the verified existence of any brides, and yet there are plenty of widows and women of marriagable age, nearly all of whom will be looking for contracts. Hamas don't need to contract weddings with children; they've got plenty of breeding stock ready to go.

Hamas isn't just thumbing its nose at Israel here; it took to breaking up weddings which were being performed and celebrated in a liberal mixed fashion meaning 'by Fatah supporters'. It also banned and curtailed the celebrations of weddings, allegedly because it feared they were becoming vehicles of political opposition. Hamas said it was because the weddings were disrupting academic life.

When I see a bunch of little girls dressed as brides it is possible that the entire population has gone potty. However, it is also possible that I'm looking at a political message which is directed at Fatah, Jordan and Syria. If Hamas can't display the brides for idological reasons, then they have to do the next best thing and display a stand-in, otherwise all they've got is a bunch of blokes doing very poor boy-band impressions.

Anonymous said...

I have to say this is all a little bit odd.. the story doesn't add up and it's not at all clear what's going on here.

Some of the comments kind of suck too...

but this takes the biscuit, from 'Call me Infidel':

According to the CIA the median age in Gaza is 17.4. Total fertility rate 5.03 children per woman. My question is how do they sustain this? What do they produce other than children? Just how much "aid" do these people get?

Err... the median age is 17.4 because the fertility rate is 5.03 - not vice versa.

Get a calculator.