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Where my bomb shelters at?

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After seeing the campaign for the upcoming Comedy in Bomb Shelters Tour, featuring Jewish-American comedians traveling to Israeli bomb shelters to perform stand-up comedy, I was inspired to expand this idea to Gaza. They could probably use a little laughter in Gaza right now. After all, laughter is the best medicine, next to actual medicine, which they have no access to, along with food and other basic human necessities. The World Health Organization even warned last week that health services are on the brink of collapsing. 

Atheer Yacoub

Atheer Yacoub

I would love to hop on a plane in JFK and make it to Israel and Gaza for the comedy tour, but unfortunately, there are a couple of glitches preventing me from doing so. Even though I was born and raised in Alabamahow much more American can you getboth of my parents, although U.S. citizens, were born in Palestine. And so Israel’s “democracy” and “national security” won’t let me anywhere near it. Unlike Israel that has killed of over 1000 Palestinians, of which nearly 80% are civilians including 200 children, the only killing I’m capable of is with my jokes. I guess Gazans are just not lucky enough to know the “true, peaceful, loving, generous, and creative Israel” as described by the comedy tour’s organizer, Ari Teman. 

Though fellow New York based stand-up comedian, Ari Teman, and I, are both U.S. born and come from Arab descent, his Jewish heritage grants him more rights than I have in my own country. It’s not like Israel is being racist; they only give citizenship, equal rights, and freedom of travel to people based on religious beliefs and ethnicity. But how can we expect Jewish people supporting Israel to understand what it’s like for a country in power to arbitrarily treat a group of people as lesser than based on religion and race? If only I wasn’t born the wrong religion and ethnicity, so I could experience Israel’s model example of the only democracy in the Middle East. 

Perhaps I can manage to swim to Gaza through Egypt, but that still leaves the problem of a proper stage. I’ve seen some pretty terrible and cramped stages in New York, but in Gaza I wouldn’t even have the luxury of performing in a bomb shelter, because they don’t exist. I can probably just stand on one of the 1,255 piles of rubble that were once Palestinian homes, schools, or hospitals, but I don’t think the lights from the constant missiles flying above me will make for the intimate ambiance desired for comedy performances. Plus no one likes to perform for an inattentive audience, whether they are bored tourists in Manhattan or mothers who just won’t stop crying and screaming after holding their dead child in their arms. Besides, children don’t belong in comedy clubs.

It’s such a shame I can’t make it on the tour, because I have shared stages with Ari and many other Jewish comedians in New York comedy clubs and I think it would’ve been fun to extend that to the Israel-Gaza edition. I think watching a bunch of American comedians talk about their online dating problems would’ve been a nice respite from the usual type of bombing Gazans are used to. So even though I can’t personally be there to perform comedy in Gaza, at least I can still rely on Israel to blow them away.

Atheer Yacoub
About Atheer Yacoub

Atheer Yacoub is a Palestinian-American who grew up in Alabama and the West Bank. She now lives and works in New York City, where she also performs stand-up comedy.

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15 Responses

  1. a blah chick
    a blah chick on July 29, 2014, 10:10 am

    Anyone else here suffering from outrage fatigue?

    • michelle
      michelle on July 29, 2014, 3:43 pm

      .
      the tears won’t stop
      and they’re not from laughing
      .
      i only ever heard about such hate
      i can’t imagine the soul so devoid
      of love and overflowing with hate
      .
      G-d Bless
      .

    • Mooser
      Mooser on July 30, 2014, 9:38 pm

      I am suffering from zio-troll fatigue. Oh well, I guess it just makes the ambiance a little more realistic. I mean, turn your back for a second, and a settler band moves in, and tries to price-tag the discussion.

  2. Jon66
    Jon66 on July 29, 2014, 10:56 am

    Q: “Where my bomb shelters at?”

    A: The concrete for them was used to build tunnels.
    The steel for them was used to build rockets.

    • annie
      annie on July 29, 2014, 2:02 pm

      tunnels act as bomb shelters don’t they? wtf?

      The steel for them was used to build rockets.

      oh please, now you’re sounding like a drama queen.

      • Jon66
        Jon66 on July 29, 2014, 6:54 pm

        It is my understanding that these tunnels into Israel are of military purpose. No one has claimed that these were built as civilian shelters or have been used as such.

        We do know that Hamas has used UNRWA schools not as bomb shelters, but to shelter bombs. A third arms cache was found today at another UNRWA school.

        http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/07/29/mideast-gaza-idINKBN0FY06C20140729

      • Mooser
        Mooser on July 30, 2014, 9:23 pm

        “It is my understanding that”

        Your “understanding”? ROTFLMSJAO!!. Yessirreebob, if there’s one thing you have demonstrated it’s “understanding”!!

        And why did you shorten your full name by one digit? Ashamed of where you come from?

      • Mooser
        Mooser on July 30, 2014, 9:34 pm

        “The steel for them was used to build rockets.”

        Jon666 must have seen right through the entire War on Iraq propaganda when they talked about the “aluminum tubes”. Everybody knows rockets, planes, why almost anything that flies, is built of good heavy steel, instead of lightweight aluminum.
        Jonny boy, nobody builds rockets out of steel. Never have, never will.

    • Inanna
      Inanna on July 29, 2014, 9:17 pm

      Ok, how about we give Gazans the same military technology you have. That would at least make it a fair fight and there would nothing inherent to those weapons that you could object to.

      But any sane person would realize the incredible disparity in military strength between the IDF and Gazan resistance. But only the powerful would fetishize the meagre weapons and methods of the people they occupy and oppress.

      • Jon66
        Jon66 on July 29, 2014, 9:29 pm

        I have no idea what you are talking about. The author’s question concerns the absence of bomb shelters in Gaza. The question is not whether or not Hamas has adequate weapons, but rather why they have not invested in adequate defenses instead.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer on July 29, 2014, 10:05 pm

        Comprehension is not your strong suit Jon. Try reading it again.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on July 30, 2014, 9:25 pm

        ” but rather why they have not invested in adequate defenses instead.”

        Jon666, if they are down in tunnels the Israeli will probably just gas them.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on July 30, 2014, 9:29 pm

        Hey, Jon “66”, would tunnels protect them from Israel’s illegal and uncontrolled nuclear weapons?

        “they have not invested in adequate defenses instead.”

        Another words, you are sure that Israel will just keep on attacking them, no matter what they do. You really stepped in it there. Oh, if they need shelters, you just admitted that the Israeli attacks are indiscriminate, and directed at civilians.

        I don’t get this! Why don’t they send over a zio-bot who can actually make a reasonable defense of Israeli actions? I think you, Jon666, are a secret anti-Zionist. That’s gotta be it.

  3. Citizen
    Citizen on July 29, 2014, 11:22 am

    Thanks Ms Yacoub
    I get the irony in every word you say. I try my best to nudge my elected representatives to the travesty of justice the US Congress pursues, thanks to big AIPAC matrix cash donations. I am very frustrated I have no influential voice as an American citizen and taxpayer. I can’t compete with the ilk such as Sheldon Adelson, a man who pines for an IDF uniform, not an American one.

  4. scott9854958
    scott9854958 on July 29, 2014, 12:47 pm

    “Blow them away….” That deserves a rimshot. I wonder what Amy Schumer thinks about all this. We know what her miserable cousin thinks!

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