Israel’s Shalit eclipses Arab ‘Shalloots
By Faisal Al Qasim, Special to Gulf News
“…At long last the famous Israeli captive Gilad Shalit has secured his freedom from his Palestinian captors. Hamas and Israel have come to a prisoner swap agreement at a very dubious time to release Shalit in exchange for over a thousand Palestinian detainees. I bet millions, the world over, have heard of the Israeli soldier, who was captured by Hamas a couple of years ago to the extent that he has become, by all accounts, an international figure. He has been in the news for months and months on end. All American and European media have written extensively about his case.
Even the Arab press has given his ordeal huge coverage forgetting of course the ordeals of thousands of Arab “Shalloots” both at home and abroad. It is no wonder then that Hamas leaders have remarked sarcastically more than once that wherever they go in the Arab world, Arab officials ask them about Shalit with great enthusiasm. We have all seen how the deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and others worked for months on end to secure Shalit’s release, but to no avail.
I am sure some are asking now what is meant by “Shalloots”. Is it a derivative of “Shalit”. The answer is no. I am trying here to play on words to show how great the difference is between the Israeli Shalit and the so-called Arab “Shalloot”, which means in Arabic “shabby or seedy shoes”. This colloquial Arabic word is, in actual fact, a metaphor for run-down cheap things.
Why have the whole world including many Arab leaders been so busy trying to free Shalit when there are tens of thousands of Arab “Shalloots” languishing in Israeli and other prisons unnoticed? Why are they so cheap and unimportant?”