Tuesday, January 03, 2006

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.


Blogger ratttu said...

Laila, assuming that the elections take place and Hammas becomes the main faction, how do you think it will work? I mean the security forces are all Fateh, would they accept it?
and also, do Hamas know what they're in for? I mean winning the election puts them in a difficult position. In the current Palestinian circumstances it's easier to be the opposition to the PA than the PA itself.
Would be very interested to hear your vies.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laila,welcome to competing political groups all desiring power; all thinking they have the solutions; and all probably corrupt. Gaza is now in the US news defined as a lawless land, with shoot outs between almost every group of organized factions. Your own blogs tell of the power struggles. I won't fail to mention the US news also defines its own government as corrupt. Welcome to freedom? Perhaps someday, you'll be reading of your own Gaza Gate? Despite my cynical viewpoint, I will continue praying for world peace and especially that Gaza becomes a safe and happy home for all its citizens.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Laila said...

Hey Rattu sorry for the late reply been busy. I agree with you-I don't know if Hamas do know what they are gettig into sometimes, and other times, I say they know exactly what they are getting into. They will be obligated to act in a certain way to some extent, but then, they also are not interested in the presidecy for precisly those reasons. I dn't think it will fly with Fateh if they win-we are sure to expect some shootings, but I also don't think Hamas will engage them in that. I htink either way we'll see troubles, but o the whole, electios are better, sory for the brief reply must be off

11:30 PM  

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