Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Fateh hotline

As an electioneering strategy, to help come clean about their tarnished image, the Fateh party has set up a toll-free hotline which they’ve advertised in the daily papers for queries about candidates, with the tagline “we promise an answer to every question.”

I decided to give the number a shot.

“How do you propose to combat corruption and keep the streets safe?” I asked, concerned as any good citizen should be.

“What a beautiful and nice question,” a young man replied on the other line.

“Here at Fateh, we don’t deny we made mistakes. We all make mistakes. But we’re bringing in new faces. The wrongs can be rectified. Our election programme is well-known, we want to protect pluralism. And as a sign that democracy is thriving, remember that Mahmud Abbas only won by 62%, not 99% like in some countries, right? And also, freedom for all Palestinian prisoners is not just a slogan for us- it’s one of our top priorities. I’m sure you have relatives in Israeli jails…”

Me: “Er, and the lawlessness?”

Young man: “Sure, sure….chaos and weapons and the rule of law. Well, as you know, they were on Abu Mazen’s list of priorities when he ran for president. These aren’t just words, we mean it.
“Now tell me who are you voting for?”

Me: I haven’t made up my mind yet.

Young Man: “How can you not have made up your mind? There’s no time left! Isn’t the decision obvious?

[Silence, as a I contemplate the potential of outsourcing call centers to Gaza]

Young Man: Wait wait, don’t hang up, let me tell you about corruption. If a mischievous boy is alone in his house, he is bound to wreak havoc. But if his brothers are there with him, they will put him in his place. That’s how we view the parliament. All of the parties have some corruption in them. We want to include the whole family in the decision-making process.”

[More silence]

“We’ve been part of the struggle for liberation for 40 years now!”

“We shouldn’t take the actions of a few people to represent all of the party.”

“So we have a few rotten apples.”

Me: “I really have to go now. But thank you for taking my call.”

“Please, please. Call again with any questions, and we promise to provide an answer.”

[End of Conversation]

For more, check out my second blog installment in the Guardian this afternoon.


Blogger lisoosh said...

Tee Hee. Gazans really do have a future in telesales. You should start competing with India for all those outsourced US jobs.

Question - Are all of the police there politically affiliated or independant? And if Hamas were to win what would happen to the police forces there?

4:55 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I think it's sad that the young man is saying that the people have to accept a certain amount of corruption no matter who's in charge because that's the way it's true there's a lot of corruption in Washington, but that's not the same as saying it's accepted by the people or that people should accept corruption because it's an immutable fact of human nature...that's just so cynical and belief is that Palestinians need to put their loyalty to the Palestinian community as a whole and not to any faction, clan, family etc...that's the way you're going to get rid of corruption...Putting more factions in the government isn't going to make it less corrupt. Changing the concept of what it means to be "loyal" and developing a notion of patriotism to the country as being the primary virtue are the ways to start...

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, corruption in America and in the the Occupied Territories is completely incomparable.

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks as if you won't have to worry too much about corruption
Looks as if you guys are in some big doo doo

11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anony-mouse, in what way aren't they comparable ?

Of course, nothing on the planet has ever been comparable to the sheer arrogance, ignorance and incompetence of Bush II and the washed up neo-cons -
- besides, they are all guilty of the 'ultimate crime' of unprovoked aggression against innocent defenceless Iraq - corruption doesn't even come close to a description of these war criminals.

Anyway Laila - I hit the jackpot over at
Palestine: Information with Provenance
as the random quote it generated was by your good self, as follows -

Randomly-chosen quotation:
"Leila El-Haddad: Israeli officials say the wall serves security interests - that it prevents suicide bombers.
Abdullah Abu Rahme: It is very clear from anyone who visits our village that they have used this as a justification and means to annex a large part of the land of the West Bank and Palestine.
In reality, we have seen areas where the wall was built that does not prevent bombers, and other areas where nothing happens and there is no wall. It's not a matter of security but of stealing land, taking as much land as possible from the West Bank and eliminating any possibility of creating a Palestinian state in the future. It is a cancer that kills any dream in Palestine."
(Laila (Leila) M. El-Haddad, 21 September 2005)

And here is its citation in the database
Quotation #813:

My lucky week - perhaps I'll try my lock on the Lotto.

Always yours

PS I love the rainbow - they're a regular feature where I'm from - it made me feel at home, especially all the lovely photos of your family and family life - it reminded me of Abu Sinan's blog, muchly.

1:07 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Why and how, "anonymous"?

2:32 AM  
Blogger solitarioh2005 said...

Jeez. What a job. I wonder how the guy feels after a work day , after dozens of calls, of people complaining. Since I have argued with people in boards for days, weeks in a row.., I know by experience how tough and tiresome is to argue , hours in a row, 5 days a week, with diferent people that make all sorts of questions.

11:44 AM  
Blogger solitarioh2005 said...

I do have a mobile phone ( everyone has, here in portugal ).
Last christmas I decided to call the phone call complain service and wish people there Happy Christmas.
They got delighted since all year long they just receive cals from people complaining about any conceivable subject.

11:50 AM  

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