Thursday, July 06, 2006

An Illustration Of Cal's Latest Post?

U.S. Military apparel and Marine haircuts are all the rage among Palestinian youth.

Well, I have no problem calling this ironic, in the word's more expansive use. It's the failure to appreciate the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between irony, sardonicism and sarcasm that drive me up the freakin' wall: or, more precisely, the attempt to hide behind the word "irony" to avoid the more negative connotations of "sarcasm" (or worse) in order to pretend your downright nastiness; shallow, adolescent discourse; and gleeful name-calling is world-weary wisdom and sophisticated repartee. Which it's not. So there, inveterate potty-mouthed poseurs of the blogosphere!

But I digress.

Amazing--and genuinely sad--that those who decry the West and the U.S. in particular for being too powerful etc. would pay us the back-handed compliment of adopting modes of dress and hairstyle to project strength, swagger, and a confident "can-do" attitude.
"This is the new fashion in the market," says Shorah. "It's a show of force, because the US army is powerful. It's a symbol of strength and of our refusal to put down arms."
The masked, fatigue-clad militants who roam Gaza's streets in the name of resistance to the Jewish state are lionized by Palestinian youth.

On their television sets these young people see images of US soldiers in Iraq, and they view them as the ultimate symbol of military might.

"People look in the streets and they see gunmen, they watch TV and see the US Army, and they say, 'I want to be a militant, too. I want that shirt,'" says Omar Bilbaysi, who owns three clothing shops in downtown Rafah.

"The word 'US Army' doesn't matter," he adds. "What matters is that they're wearing military clothes."

Across Gaza, retailers say demand for military wear, US Army and otherwise, is booming.

Nearly every clothing store in Gaza is well-stocked with the sort of fashions one would expect to find at an army surplus store: camouflage shirts and pants and black paramilitary vests with pockets for ammo cartridges and hand grenades.

"The culture in Gaza now is very militant," says Ayman Jarbua, another clothing retailer here. "The youth admire the militants who are fighting in the resistance and they want to dress like them."

Need I point out the obvious?

This trend is not confined to male Palestinian teen-agers, by the way:
Hassan says he is a Hamas loyalist who hangs propaganda posters for the organization in his free time. Today, however, he's shopping for his wife: pink camouflage pants with a US Air Force logo on the front pocket.

At Baby City, a children's apparel shop owned by Bilbaysi, a poster of Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin hangs on the door while the display window lures shoppers with tyke-sized fatigues, a US Army patch across the front.

"The people love their little kids to be dressed in military clothes," says Bilbaysi. "They want to teach the children and prepare them so they will be ready for the battle that lies ahead when they grow up."

Now, that's just plain depressing.