In a future post, I'll be writing specifically about Friends of the Earth Middle East, which has been the organization we've worked with most since arriving here. But for now I'lll just say that by Thursday night we were being hosted in the beautiful home of our new friend (and Friends of Earth staffer), Samiramis (who everyone calls Shamo). Americans are used to thinking of Saturday and Sunday as the weekend, but here it's Friday and Saturday so that Thursday night plays the role of Friday night in the states. For us, that meant a social agenda arranged by Shamo in two parts: first an engagement party of the son of a close friend, and second, a very important viewing of the TV show that all Palestinian televisions were tuned to that night, New Star.
|About half our table at the engagement party was American -- all invited by Shamo. Here she is, together with me, Kate, Alexsis and Chelsea, the FoEME intern who introduced us to Shamo.|
|The engagement party was a lot like a wedding, with LOTS of singing, dancing and food. Here's the bride-to-be being hoisted up on a chair during a dance.|
Apparently, the singing competitions typified by American Idol in the US are actually a global phenomenon. The Palestinian version is New Star, and Thursday night was the grand finale where the winner would be selected from among three finalists. One of these finalists was George, the Bethlehem hometown favorite. So, we went to the restaurant of George's family to watch the final episode and cross our fingers.
|These posters are plastered all over Bethlehem. But this one is special because it's hanging outside George's family's restaurant, where we watched the results of the competition.|