Of Gaza and KFC

Of Gaza and KFC


What started out as a blurb on the Xinhua news site this week on the smuggling of KFC for US$30 an order into Gaza via Egypt - a tunnel trek that can take between 3 and 7 hours - has gone viral, prompting several other outlets to send correspondents into Gaza to report on the Al Yamama delivery company’s entrepreneurial niche. The tunnels have been used to deliver everything from rockets and rebar to TVs and fiancées - up to 30% of all the strip’s imports come through them, says Reuters - so fast food is not a stretch, even at the prices quoted.

Unfortunately, most social media responses to it have focused on the novelty at the expense of the context, even though the two fullest accounts I have read, from the NYTand Christian Science Monitor, do address the environment of the Israeli blockade and the tunnel economy that the Egyptians have been cracking down on so hard these days to try and interdict Sinai arms smuggling.

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Cairo KFC run by deaf

A Cairo KFC outlet entirely staffed by deaf people. This video is not new but I came across it and was struck. There are a lot of deaf people in Cairo and I remember, when I first arrived here, going to an qahwa (café) whose customers were mostly deaf. I made some interesting conversations there, thanks to the help of a very talented interpreter who could sign in several languages and translate between them, as well as speak several languages. Egypt has a high proportion of deaf people because of poor public health policies and the prevalence of certain diseases such as meningitis and rubella, as well as the practice (traditionally preferred by some) of first-cousin marriages. Read more about it in this Egypt Today feature.
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