Weatherford Democrat

Online Only

May 28, 2013

Singer from Gaza wants to be 'Arab Idol'

(Continued)

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip —

On Friday night, the judges gushed all over Assaf again. "I feel when you are singing, I am the guest in a big concert and you are the star," said Ahlam, the judge and diva from the United Arab Emirates who goes by one name and is famous for her lavish lifestyle, fabulous gowns, Qatari race car driver husband and struggles with weight.

Judge Nancy Ajram, the Lebanese songstress (and goodwill ambassador for UNICEF), teared up and said she had no word to describe the beauty of Assaf's voice. "You are a true singer," she sighed.

Here in Khan Younis, posters of Assaf that line the streets urge citizens to dial into the "Arab Idol" hotline and punch "3" on their cellphones to vote for the native son, the first singer from Gaza to make the show's top 10 contestants.

The winner will get a recording contract from the music company that is part of MBC, the Saudi-owned, Dubai-based satellite broadcaster of the show, as well as a Chevrolet Corvette, which would be an unusual sight in the streets of Gaza.

The United States might not be the most popular country in the Middle East these days, but in addition to Chevrolet, the show's sponsors include Pepsi, Twix and Kentucky Fried Chicken; until last week, KFC food was being smuggled into Gaza from Egypt through underground tunnels.

At his home, Assaf's older brother was welcoming well-wishers into a large living room, where verses from the Koran shared wall space with more posters of a smiling Assaf. The parents had left the day before for Beirut, from where the show is broadcast.

"Mohammed was just 5 years old when he sang for the first time before a large audience, at the stadium here, in honor of Yasser Arafat," former leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Shadi Assaf said. "The crowd was very impressed that a boy so young could sing so well in such a place."

Text Only
Online Only
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Grandstands feel a little empty at NASCAR races

    Two decades after NASCAR started running at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the crowds have thinned considerably. It's probably no reflection on the sport's massive following, which stretches from coast to coast, but it surely doesn't NASCAR's image help when the cameras pan across all of those empty seats.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    August 1, 2014

  • Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists

    A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.

    August 1, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Impeachment arms Democrats, doesn't end the Obama disaster

    Republicans may have grounds to impeach President Barack Obama but they would be daft to pursue a case they cannot win in a Senate controlled by Democrats. Impeachment would only drive the Democrats' fundraising and potentially squander the GOP's best opportunity in years to capture both houses of Congress then, in two years, the White House.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rodden, Danny.jpg Sheriff accused of lying about relationship with prostitute

    The sheriff of Clark County, Ind., faces an eight-count federal indictment that accuses him of lying about paying a prostitute for a sex act and giving her a badge so that she could claim a discount rate at a hotel.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 31, 2014

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 31, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 2.21.22 PM.png VIDEO: Dog 'faints' from excitement of seeing owner

    A reunion between a Pennsylvania woman who had been living overseas for two years and her pet schnauzer has gone viral, garnering nearly 20 million views on YouTube.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction