Why? Because “once he said the Palestinian people are suffering most in the world.” Clearly Ibrahim Abu Jayyab thinks that Barack Obama is on the Palestinian side in their jihad against Israel. He hates Hamas, but of course Hamas is the fault of … George W. Bush.
“Voices for Obama resound from afar,” by Carolynne Wheeler for the Globe and Mail, October 27 (thanks to Writer Mom):
NUSSEIRAT REFUGEE CAMP, GAZA STRIP “” For every point that U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama gains ahead of the Nov. 4 election, a young student in a sparsely furnished room an ocean away is taking enormous satisfaction.
For months, Ibrahim Abu Jayyab has been working through the night, telephoning American voters at random to plead in broken English that they support his favourite candidate.
Never mind that most of the people Mr. Abu Jayyab calls don’t even know where the Gaza Strip is, much less understand why this man with heavily accented English crackling down the phone line should care about the U.S. presidential race.
“Obama is the best candidate. He has leadership qualities, he is charismatic. Once he said the Palestinian people are suffering most in the world,” Mr. Abu Jayyab says, his eyes heavy after another late night, already back at the computer that is his pride and joy in a life otherwise dominated by poverty. On screen is an enormous photo of Mr. Obama in a classic pose – which has, perhaps, inspired Mr. Abu Jayyab’s recurring dreams, of Mr. Obama putting a hand on his shoulder and promising peace.
A media student at Gaza’s al-Aqsa University, Mr. Abu Jayyab, 23, has chafed at the strict religious rule enforced since the Islamist Hamas organization took control 17 months ago. A heavy economic embargo, imposed by the international community after Hamas’s refusal to recognize Israel and renounce violence, has collapsed Gaza’s economy and squelched any hope of finding a decent job after graduation.
Like most in Gaza and across the Arab world, the young man blames U.S. President George W. Bush for the mess, in part for his unwavering support of Israel. So when a young, black American senator emerged as the front-runner in the Democratic primaries, he found himself hoping for change, even here in the never-changing Middle East.
Mr. Abu Jayyab, who speaks little English and at first left only practised messages on telephone answering machines, has since enlisted the help of 15 friends to use computer VOIP programs, including iCall, to randomly call U.S. telephone numbers. They frequently meet in a nearby Internet cafÃ©, where they work in fear that Hamas forces or even more radical groups will burst in.
Of the dozens of calls they’ll make each night between midnight and 4 a.m. – early evening in most of the United States – Mr. Abu Jayyab and his friends say they may only speak to one out of every 10 households. They’ve encountered answering machines, small children, and often people impatient with their Arabic-accented English….