A group of Palestinians using mobile phones have created their own version of South Korean singer Psy’s Internet dance video hit in the hope of highlighting their plight in a new and funny way.
Gangnam Gaza Style mimics the original and follows on from a wave of Gangnam YouTube copies that have propelled Psy to worldwide fame.
In this case the video has serious undertone.
“A group of Palestinian young men are making this Gangnam Style video clip to highlight the hardship in Gaza. No one’s done this before. We’re hoping to focus on Gaza issues through this simple means,” group leader Muhamnad Barakat told Reuters Television, as the group rehearsed for another version of their act.
An earlier version already published on YouTube and attracting interest, entertains, but also takes a sideswipe at the hardship Gazans face, including unemployment and a lack of access to cash.
“The message is about our suffering, prisoners, unemployment, a lack of electricity that causes us problems,” Walid Afaghani, another group member, added.
The group has been using a mobile phone to record video and has only just been able to upgrade to a small video camera.
“Our instruments are simple ones. We used a mobile phone camera to film the video. Also we were weak in editing, and directing the video. Thank God we can send a message to the world through our mobile phones,” Barakat said.
Italian freelance journalist, Shantal, visiting the Gaza Strip, got to see the group perform. “It is funny, so you enjoy while you see it, but at the same time it gives a strong message,” she said.
Gaza unemployment is estimated by the United Nations to be at more than 40 percent, and local economists put the figure at around 60 percent.
Israel imposed restrictions on trade to Gaza in 2001 following the outbreak of a Palestinian uprising and tightened them further in 2007 after Hamas seized power in the coastal enclave adjacent to Egypt, which also enforces a blockade.
Hamas won a Palestinian ballot in 2006, sitting in an uneasy alliance with its Western-backed rival Palestinian faction Fatah until they fought a brief Gaza civil war a year later.
Under Hamas rule since, Gaza has suffered an often grinding embargo by Israel, accompanied by widespread power blackouts for Gaza’s 1.7 million inhabitants.
Life is not easy in Gaza, as the group of young men doing it ‘Gaza style’ point out.
While they clearly had fun with the project, they hope their message will reach a wide audience.