January 9, 2018 Special Dispatch No. 7273

Columnist In Qatari Daily: The Arab Santa Hands Out Grenades And Bombs Instead Of Gifts

January 9, 2018
Qatar, The Gulf | Special Dispatch No. 7273

In his January 2, 2018 column in the Qatari Al-Watan daily, Bin Saif laments the state of the Arab world as a new year begins. He writes that, while children in the West are celebrating the holiday season with presents and joy, Arab children are experiencing war, bloodshed and bombardments. To illustrate his point he envisions an "Arab Santa Claus," who instead of riding a sled and handing out presents, rides an old tank and hands out explosive charges and cluster grenades.

The following are excerpts:

"Santa Claus rides a sled pulled by reindeer. He refuses to be pulled by an Arab horse, no matter how thoroughbred, because an Arab horse might always be booby-trapped. Santa Claus hands out gifts to the children of the world, but he stays away from the Arab children, out of fear of being killed by a stray bullet, a car bomb parked [by the side of the road] or a barrel bomb. The children of the world are decked out in bright clothing and hold toys and [booklets of] holiday songs, while the Arab children wake up every morning to shake the dust of the daily bombings off their clothing and wipe bright red blood off their faces. Every year, Santa Claus fears to cross the Arab equator.

"The main difference between optimistic and pessimistic nations is the way they express themselves. We write our thoughts under the heading 'Goodbye to 2017,' [while] other [nations] express their optimism under the caption 'Welcoming 2018,'...

"To please you, let me envision, together with you, an Arab Santa Claus: instead of a sled harnessed to reindeer, he will ride an old Russian or American tank steered by an Arab soldier who is all skin and bones due to hunger. The sack [of gifts] he carries is filled with beautiful explosive charges, RPG rockets decorated with balloons, and cluster grenades in every color of the rainbow. The Arab Santa Claus wears a rosy bullet-proof helmet and wears a suit dyed bright red with Arab blood. He passes through every village sowing death, and then continues to the next village...

"As the new year begins I am trying to be optimistic. I am trying to be generous with you and write the word 'hope.' But every time I write the word amal ['hope'] the letter l miraculously jumps before the m, producing alam ['pain']."[1]


[1] Al-Watan (Qatar), January 2, 2018.

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