Gazans have contributed to the worldwide phenomenon of creating video clips for the wildly popular Pharrell Williams song “Happy.” And while the Gazans' video — like the others — is uplifting and fun, the Palestinian version also reveals interesting points about Gaza that activists promoting a boycott of Israel often fail to note.
The following are a few details in the video TheBlaze noticed:
These Palestinians Don’t Boycott Israeli Products
Several of the participants in the video show their moves at a grocery store. Visible in the aisles was a large display for “Dr. Fischer,” a successful Israeli company that manufactures baby care and skincare products. This would appear to counter calls from Palestinian supporters in the U.S. and elsewhere to boycott Israeli goods and companies, though it's not the first time Israeli products have been seen on Palestinian grocery store shelves.
Gaza Is Not a 'Concentration Camp' or Akin to the 'Siege of Leningrad'
Lots of folks on Twitter and elsewhere pointed out the disconnect between human rights groups’ claims about the dire state of Gaza and the visuals in the “Happy” video. Here’s a sampling:
“If you only listen to the Israel haters, you’d think Gaza is the equivalent of a Nazi concentration camp and the largest open air prison in the world,” Cornell University law professor William Jacobson wrote on his blog Legal Insurrection:
Just days ago, after noting that the Gaza-Israel border is separated by a fence, a senior United Nations official compared it to “the siege of Leningrad.”
“The first thing of course you see of Gaza is the fence around it; a reminder of the blockade, which...has lasted as long as some of the most infamous sieges of contemporary history, such as the siege of Leningrad,” said Pierre Krahenbuhl, the new Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Girls dance with joy on the Mediterranean coast of Gaza. The same day the video was posted to YouTube a senior UN official compared the situation in Gaza to the “siege of Leningrad.” (Screenshot: YouTube)
“Nothing prepares you for Gaza; no amount of UN humanitarian reports, no amount of newspaper articles, no amount of human rights investigations. None of these can adequately convey what the people here are going through; the profound sense of isolation and the sheer scale and depth of the suffering,” Krahenbuhl was quoted as saying last Wednesday, the very same day the “Happy” Gaza video was posted on YouTube.
Hoodie Displays Map of Palestine That Doesn't 'Erase' Israel
As is often the case, in maps Palestinians display for what they would like to see as their future country, the entire State of Israel is erased. While Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest Israeli-Palestinian peace push is predicated on two-states-for-two-peoples based roughly on 1967 borders, not so for one of Gaza’s “Happy” dancers. Palestine on her hooded sweatshirt includes today’s Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.
Not All Gaza Women Cover Their Hair
In photos and videos that emerge from Gaza, women are almost universally seen wearing headscarves in keeping with conservative Islamic tradition, a practice encouraged by Hamas which governs the seaside strip.
Not so in this video. One woman featured several times in the clip dances with her hair uncovered.
Hardline Islamic clerics further might not like the video’s incorporation of enthusiastic dancing to western music, moonwalking, inline skates and X-Boxes (a sign noting the gadget could be seen).
One Twitter user seemed to pick up on this too:
Angry Birds Appear to Be All the Rage in Gaza
Several children and adults featured in the dance-along video are wearing Angry Birds T-shirts.
Unclear what, if anything, it says about Gaza or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It was certainly an interesting choice for a “Happy” video.
And here's the clip: