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Fun For The Whole Family

A new sticker album depicting bloody scenes from the intifada (read: organized campaign of terrorism) is all the rage in Nablus.

While kids worldwide collect pictures of Hollywood stars or soccer champions, the craze in the Palestinian city of Nablus is a sticker album depicting scenes of the bloody intifada.

Seems to be another clear example of the glorification of violence for PLO Arab children. But I could only have arrived at this conclusion because of my Jewish sensibilities, and not because it is obvious.

While Jewish organizations and the Israeli media see the “intifada album” as part of an attempt to inculcate a “shahid (martyr) culture” in children, many Palestinians here believe it has done more to cement unity around their cause than all the official speeches and rhetoric.

Who wrote this article, anyway? Ahh..Agence France Presse. Figures. But anyway, back to the article.

The cover sports a picture of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem with the words, intifada album, written in flaming stones while the back is a less aggressive watercolor of the disputed holy site by David Roberts.

G-d forbid that anything aggressive be contained in this sticker album. It might distract the children from the pictures of armed terrorists:

“My favorite is the number one picture, because you can see Al-Aqsa Mosque and there’s a masked fighter holding a gun,” said Ibrahim Aswad, a 12-year-old from Nablus’ refugee camp of Ain Beit al-Ma.

You would think that such scenes of violence would worry the parents of such youngsters. Think again.

“I don’t mind the scenes of violence in the album, at least this game keeps them off the streets,” said the father of four, who admits the game has become a favorite family activity.

Now that is an interesting way of looking at it. An album encouraging kids to take up arms against Israel will actually keep them too busy to take up arms against Israel. The sheer genius of it all.

And speaking of genius, hats off to the clever guy making a profit from all of this.

Since he introduced the game at the end of 2003, Majdi Taher said 40,000 albums and 12 million stickers have been sold. The cost of an album is half a shekel ($0.10). The stickers, which are sold in boxes shaped like tanks “to remember the suffering they bring us,” go for one shekel a packet of 10.

From his workshop in central Nablus, Taher, who employs 28 people for the project, would not reveal his turnover but admitted that “business is good.” Plans are afoot to expand to other Palestinian cities and export the album to Jordan, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

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“It is amazingly successful. It is not just played by children, but also by parents and grandmothers,” he said.

A twice-weekly one-hour program on Nablus TV entirely dedicated to the album is smashing local audience records. Addicted card collectors make trade offers for missing stickers while others test their knowledge by organizing quizzes.

Where did he come up with such a great idea?

Taher, a 38-year-old supporter of the Islamist movement Hamas who used to import candies, told AFP the Pokemon cards inspired him to create the intifada sticker album back in 2002.

If I was Taher, I wouldn’t go around admitting to that – it could land him in hot water.

And what does Taher think of suggestions that this album could be seen as inciting children to violence?

When asked whether his album could not be interpreted as incitation to violence, Taher said children needed no prodding to be involved in the conflict.

Of course not.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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