Saturday, April 12, 2008

April fool’s day and the Danish cartoons

You’re probably wondering what have the two in common?

In Libya everything is possible, there was a recent big rumour that anyone called Mohammed and born between 2000 and 2008 is eligible for a one off allowance of 500 Libyan Dinars (about 400 US$). Parents rushed to the municipality to submit their papers and collect the allowance. You can imagine how long the lines were since this is a very popular name in the Arab/Muslim world.

When I was recounted this story I could not imagine what would be the connection between the name and a money allowance if you specifically link it to those dates only? It did not make sense as these dates have no importance whatsoever historically or in any other way. Well there was a lot of business generated anyway for the municipality in terms of duty stamps to be included with each application and also to buy the application forms. Tempers were lost in the crowd, time wasted from production sites. Citizens were further informed that the money would be deposited in their bank accounts in 40$ instalments.

On the second day those people who came back to collect their signed form and others who came to submit their form were surprised to discover that this was an April fool's joke.

I really don’t think that was funny, but also why would someone imagine that money is given for free just because your name is Mo ?

While browsing online today I found the origin of the rumour and how the joke started which makes it a bit easier to understand why people believed this. Apparently the other version was that the Danish government wanted to compensate for the ‘Danish Cartoons’ and devised this way. It was still an April fool’s joke of course. Glad it did not last long.

It is so cruel, sad and irresponsible - NO comment

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