Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Grudging admission at Sky News, plus Gaza's water park

I can guarantee that if bloggers like me never made an issue over the existence of a middle-and upper-class in Gaza, this section of a Sky News piece would never have been written:

The sight of a brand new Chevrolet with 2010 plates cruising through down town Gaza City begs the question: how on earth did it get there?

...For example, a mid-spec Chevrolet Cruze automatic, which sells in the UK for about £15,000, was on sale at around £30,000.

So, who in Gaza can afford that?

Gaza's middle and upper classes do not feature much in news reports - but they do exist.

This explains why there are swimming pools and water parks, boutique hotels, excellent restaurants and a brand new shopping mall.

They are doing well out of the minority of those lucky enough to have jobs.

The UN estimates that 40% of people here are unemployed.

Of those in work, about a third are on the government payroll and the cultural norm here is that wages are used to take care of the extended family.

That spreads available cash thinly, but the well-stocked supermarkets, luxury goods and new cars show that there is a level of society that can afford them.

That stratum is small but it is wrong to depict all Gazans as spending their lives in abject poverty scrabbling through the ruins of buildings bombed by the Israeli Defence Forces.

The poverty levels seen here can be found in many parts of the Middle East.
Which has been my point for at least a year.

The video report accompanying the story includes about one second's worth of one of the the water parks mentioned:
Not bad for a starving, impoverished, crowded, dirty enclave.

(h/t David)