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Palestinian Pick-Up Lines

Humor, especially dark humor, is a culturally acquired taste – especially in a war zone. The hashtag #PalestinianPickUpLines has recently been trending on Twitter, garnering tens of additions in the past few days.

These proposals, sometimes warm and funny, other times angry and political, reflect the reality of life in Palestine and the Palestinian diaspora.

British-born Firas Nabil, who identifies himself as “Palestinian at heart,” offers several romanticisms, including:

Jordanian Sara Amro contributes:

Mufeed Okal of Nablus, Palestine, puts forth an impassioned plea:

And Israeli journalist and pro-Palestinian activist Mairav Zonszein quips:

Blogger Woman Unveiled writes that this humorous trend provides a sense of relief from the hardships of daily life.

“I am the type of person who believes that the way to move forward on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is to focus on the current issues without letting past events hold back progress… As Palestinians continue to face hardships and an infringement on their most basic human rights, one trend on Twitter sheds light on how humor can help ease some of this pain… The pick-up lines definitely garner laughs in a way that also brings to light the different ways Israel’s actions, often illegal under international law, disrupt the daily lives of Palestinians.”

It is a weakness of Twitter themes that despite being salient at the moment, it is difficult to trace their origins and development. Likewise, little information is available about this trend, which reflects others before it, like the March emergence of the same tag, and previous ones like the July 2011 hashtag #SiegePickUpLines.

Egyptian blogger Mosa'ab Elshamy, along with his friend identified on Twitter as WelshInGaza (no longer available) declares himself responsible for #SiegePickUpLines. He explains that the two conceived the idea after a conversation about humor in the face of life in Gaza.

“Arabs usually face their misery with humor. It was a question which arose from pure curiosity and was fascinating when others (many Palestinians included) joined in the collective ridiculing of the illegal Gaza siege and the daily hardship people face in the, ahem, strip. As tweets flew, more people seemed not to limit the jokes on the siege, power cuts, tunnels and, ahem, rockets but other situations like the flotilla, UN resolutions, two-state solution and US politicians.

Elshamy includes among his favorite tweets:

“Baby, you must be from PalestFINE.”
“I’d never leave you (even if I could).”
“We may not have human rights, but baby, we have human needs…”
“Dating me is like being Israel, you’ll never have to apologize for anything, girl.”
“Baby are you a drone? ‘Cause you’ve been buzzing in my head alllll day.”
“They say opposites attract. Will you be the Hamas to my Fateh”
“Baby, let’s get together and make a one state solution.”

Yasmeen El Khoudary, who blogs at Gaza, Out of the Blue (and who is also a Global Voices Online author), adds:

“As a Palestinian from Gaza who believes in the power of sarcastic humor, I loved this. Its the -humane- short jokes and statements that really shed light on the truth, more than any misleading and -often biased- news story.”

If you know more about the history of these two trends, or ones like them, please comment and share.

In the meantime, it seems that in hard times we reach out to each other using humor to commiserate and connect. If you enjoyed reading about #PalestinianPickUpLines and #SiegePickUpLines, #HumorHeals and #ShutdownPickUpLines, from the recent U.S. government shutdown, may also appeal. What others have you come across that make you laugh or appreciate your current situation more? We want to hear from you.

Thumbnail Credit:
- Rusty Stewart on Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Hat tip:
- Jennine Abdul at The Lowercase Arab blog

  • ivonotes

    Maya, any idea if these are widely followed in Israel as well as Palestine? Are these lines originally in English or Arabic? If the former, seems they are intentionally for and by an international audience.

    • Maya Norton

      Dear Ivonotes,

      Good question. Almost all of the tweets are in English. Possibilities about the language of choice might be that they are indeed intended for an international audience, or possibly that there are so many Palestinian activists in the Diaspora that English makes sense as the language of communication. The two go hand in hand.

      I’ve tweeted your question to the hashtag followers and will let you know if anyone responds. https://twitter.com/mayanorton/status/398160904069455872

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      ~ Maya

  • Pingback: ‘Coup Today, Gone Tomorrow’ and Other Hilarious #FakeArabProverbs · Global Voices

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