Monday, July 02, 2007

Much More than a Mouse


I’d been thinking that Farfour, Hamas’s Mickey Mouse lookalike, had quietly retired under a combined assault by Disney lawyers and world public opinion. Good riddance, I thought; Farfour had been used by Hamas to indoctrinate Palestinian kids on the importance of being good little martyrs, outraging Disneyphiles and trademark lawyers alike.

But I was wrong, as an un-bylined story in yesterday’s New York Times will show:

Farfour, Hamas’s TV Mouse, Dies ‘Martyr’s Death’ at Hands of Israeli

JERUSALEM, June 30—Farfour, the giant Mickey Mouse look-alike who was the host of a Palestinian children’s program on Hamas-affiliated television and drew international ire for what critics saw as incitement, died a “martyr’s death” at the hands of a fictional Israeli on Friday.


In the final episode of the program, “Tomorrow’s Pioneers,” Farfour’s grandfather, a Palestinian refugee, entrusted him the deeds and a key for property abandoned by the family when Israel became a state and Palestinians fled or were chased out. After leaving his grandfather, “Jews” went after Farfour and asked him to hand over the deeds and the key. When he refused, he was beaten to death.

I used to get riled when right-wingers would refer to some Middle Eastern dictatorships as “totalitarian.” It was a stretch that the corrupt, ramshackle state structures of an Iran or a Saudi Arabia could drive every aspect of a citizen’s life and thoughts toward a specific thought pattern, as the Soviets once tried to do.

But there is nothing ramshackle about Hamas, which is attempting a total brainwashing of its citizenry from the crib on up. The merits of Hamas’s cause can be debated but its efforts to create an anti-Israel Jesus Camp of the airwaves make me regret my earlier lighthearted treatment of Farfour and Hamas.

I now wonder when some anti-Semitic version of Thomas the Tank Engine will hit the airwaves, and figure a Two Minutes Hate for adolescents can’t be far behind.

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