Let the games begin!
As per my last post, I made it safely through night, I'm pleased to report. The Apaches eventually dispersed, perhaps after being unable to find their intended target. For them to be hovering so low over Gaza City's Remal neighbourhood was rather unusual, and very frightening.
Instead, I woke to the marching of campaigning Palestinians with their various accessories, including megaphones blasting out campaign messages, and drums being banged about throughout the streets (one group even had two clowns and a dabke group-quite a site, like a parade, which Yousuf enjoyed thoroughly).
Today of course, I was reminded rather intrusively, marked the first official day of legislative council elections campaigning.
Gaza's main city square was litterly plastered with posters and banners hanging every which way which sprung up almost over night. Some were for local independent candidates promising to "serve Gaza's people". But the most prominent banners so far were those of Hamas, which is clearly building its campaign on its repuation of honesty and its promise to combat corruption, all while standing up to Israel (their election insignia is "a hand that builds, and a hand that struggles/resists).
As one of their banners read"(roughly translated), "al-Islah (reform, and also the name of their party) means security, and our party means guarantees." Another banner stated simply: "Hamas: Faith. Work. Change. Reform"." An election float of theirs travleing through Gaza city declared by megaphone "Vote for List 3, the List of the Inner Jihad" -a reference to the struggle for self and societal reform and improvement, as advised by the Prophet Mohammad.
Also making a prominent showing was Mustafa Barghouthi's "Independent" party list who are building their camapaign on similar promises of combatting corruption adn providing a just and democratic alternative to the ruling party (though they are not nearly as popular as Hamas, they do seem to have a lot of campaigning money).
I haven't yet seen Fateh start campaigning full-fledge, though given their reputation for over the top fanfare and excessive spending in past (municpal) elections, it should be big and interesting (to see how they will combat their increasingly sour repuation).
People here can hardly keep track of the different parties (6 off the top of my head) and lists of independent candidates. Perhaps I'll do a rundown in another entry.