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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Arab Idol

Tonight I had a chance to sit with about 200 other folks---almost all of them Arabs from Jericho--to watch the final show of "Arab Idol."  Yes it is just like our version of "American Idol" back home.   There was a big screen set up outside, an almost full moon being wisped over by the occasional cloud and the sound of families and friends clapping, singing and enjoying the evening filled the night.   The three finalist were a man from Egypt, a woman from Syria and a young man from Gaza.  The man from Gaza, a Palestinian was the obvious house favorite.  By the way, he won.

As I watched families love on their children, people dance and clap their hands and as I enjoyed a Teybeh (Palestinian Beer) with my friends (an Arab Muslim, an Arab Christian and two other Americans) I had to laugh at what was on the screen and how shocked many back home would be.  The main sponsor of Arab Idol?  Chevrolet, which had commercial after commercial.  Next was Pepsi, then Kit Kat, then Maybellene Cosmetics, then Kentucky Fried Chicken...and the program was being broadcast on.... NBC, that's right NBC from Lebanon. 

Besides all the water pipes of flavored tobacco and the Arabic language--it was a pretty familiar experience.   What an amazing world that we live in when a pastor from Orange County can sit with a bunch of Arabs from the West Bank, watching Chevrolet and Pepsi commercials over and over again and be united by hoping for an underdog singer to rise to the top.   It was a good night.  One of the unexpected lessons from the Holy Land.
People love their "idol" whether at home or in the Arab

Water pipes filled with flavored tobacco abounded---I stayed
with a beer.

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