Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Days Of Our Lies: Palestinians Get Their First Soap Opera--Almost

So the Palestinians are into soap operas--who knew? Naturally, the enterprise became something of a soap opera itself:
Why was airing of 1st Palestinian soap opera canceled?

The official Palestine Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) has canceled the airing scheduled for this week of a new soap series, Matabb (Arabic for "speed bump").

Producer Fareed Majari confirmed Friday the cancellation, which members of the production team said came as a complete surprise.

They said no grounds were given, but speculated political reasons may be behind it, with some of the topics being dealt with in the series seen as too liberal for official Palestinian "state" television.

Officials at the PBC told Deutsche Presse-Agentur Friday that the German-funded series - the first homemade Palestinian soap opera - was not canceled, but postponed until certain scenes were changed.

...They said some scenes were found offensive to the general Palestinian public and therefore could not be aired on Palestine TV, an official and nationalist institution.
And what was so offensive--was it too provocative, were there too much hot steamy sex scenes? Get real! We're talking about the Palestine Broadcasting Corporation:
Among others, certain scenes failed to show the Israeli occupation in a negative enough light, they charged. The officials mentioned one scene in which a Palestinian gives a flower to Israeli soldiers at an army checkpoint in the West Bank.
Abbas took control of the PBC back in 2006. No doubt he is just looking out for the best interests of Palestinian housewives.

The PBC may have some competition over in Gaza:
That evening, in the garden of a family restaurant called Roots (“No Weapon Please,” a sign said on the front door), patrons munched salads and gazed at “Friends” on a big screen. Everybody was waiting for “Noor.”

As they do throughout much of the Arab world these days, the streets here clear each night when “Noor” comes on. A Turkish “Dallas,” centered around the title character and her rich Muslim family enduring the usual soap opera imbroglios, the show has become so wildly popular that imams in Saudi Arabia and Gaza have lately issued fatwas against anyone who watches it. Naturally, nobody pays attention.

At least it is a step up from teaching children to kill people. After all, some people--when they get into soap operas, they are hooked. Imad Alifranji, who is helping Hamas set up a second TV station in Gaza, talks about his son:
My son, Mosab, who’s 18, tries to stop her from watching. He disapproves.”

As if on cue, Mosab, who looked 12, walked into Mr. Alifranji’s office. The only time he visited a Gazan cafe, Mosab said, he left because “Noor” was on television. He used to listen to Arab pop stars like Elissa and Tamer Hosni, but now finds “they have no respect for religion.” He prefers Jackie Chan movies and rap. “ ‘Noor,’ ” he said, “doesn’t know the difference between what should be taboo and what is acceptable.”

Suddenly, Mosab’s cellphone rang. He blushed.

The ringtone was the theme from “Noor.”

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