Thursday, May 02, 2024

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

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Rafah, May 2 - The Islamist militant group that has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007 and the political party that controls both the US presidency and the US Senate traded compliments today, which one claiming they had merely copied the established practice of the other, and vice versa, of using the dearly departed to create an artificially high statistic for political purposes.

Hamas and the Democratic Party credited each other Thursday with developing and advancing the idea of inflating voter and/or death toll counts. In separate interviews with journalists, each organization voiced the belief that the other had come up with it, and that their own organization had merely applied the concept to their own milieu: the Democrats, to inflate voter rolls and ballot boxes with the names and "votes" of the deceased; Hamas, either to tout high numbers of innocents killed in Israeli strikes, or to dig up mass graves that Palestinians themselves had dug long before the arrival of Israelis on the scene, and call those locations "site of mass killing by the IDF."

"Of course we simply copied the Democrats," stated Fawzi Barhoum of Hamas. "They mastered the art of registering and soliciting votes from beyond the grave decades ago. We could never perform at that level, for several reasons. One, they have been at it much longer, and two, we're not into voting and democratic processes. So we have to adapt the principle to this context. I'm proud of the success we have so far enjoyed with the practice."

Meanwhile, in Washington, Democratic strategists gave the credit entirely to Hamas. "The counting of the mass grave bodies as victims of Israeli strikes was nothing we could ever even think to try," acknowledged Ben Rhodes, an advisor to former President Barack Obama. "We're going to implement something of that sort with the upcoming presidential election, but Hamas are the real professionals at this. They can put up numbers that we'll never reach."

Both sides acknowledged that no one had an absolute monopoly on such manipulations. "You can't have a discussion of this phenomenon and not mention Ferdinand Marcos," admitted Barhoum. Marcos, President of the Philippines in the 1980's, became notorious for "winning" election by more votes than had been cast.

For their part, Democrats pointed to the prevalence of autocratic Arab leaders into the twenty-first century who boasted of winning reelection with 99% of the vote, if only because even they acknowledged that claiming 100% seemed excessive.

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