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Arabeyes: April Fool's Day

Pranks were in the air across the Arab world this April Fool's Day. Ranging from an Israeli withdrawal from Palestine, to the sale of Mars to Dubai and the construction of a pipeline to supply the red planet with water from the Arabian Gulf, to the plight of a baby camel in Cairo, readers were left scratching their heads in disbelief.

From Libya, UT briefs us about the tradition, which started in France in the 16th century, after the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1562.

In Bahrain, blogger Mahmood Al Yousif invites his readers to share their pranks of the day.

Come on guys, fess up. Who fell for an April Fool’s Joke so far and what was it?

Reader Jonathan doesn't let the opportunity slip and writes:

I’m willing to go for a “Israel is willing to withdraw everything and leave Palestine if compensated” OR even “Israel is shutting down the net” which is Closer than you think.

Hani Al Yousif too made the most of the occasion and admits:

I woke Gillian up extra early going “Where’s the car?!”

In Dubai, Secret Dubai continues with an annual tradition, entrapping his readers with a new grandiose scheme for the already larger than life Emirate. His spoof says:

Faced with lukewarm celebrity interest in its The World artificial islands project, Dubai has decided to build The Actual World.

The multi-trillion dollar mega-project, believed to be largest in the known universe, will see a scale replica of the entire Earth rebuilt on the planet Mars.

The Red Planet was recently acquired by Dubai Holdings as part of its property portfolio diversification strategy.

Sheikh Jamal Abu Shagara, CEO of The Actual World, says a deal has already been signed with a Norwegian company to build a 250 million mile irrigation pipe to transfer water from the Arabian Gulf to Mars.

Needless to say, a reader fell for the scam. The blogger, whose blog is blocked in the United Arab Emirates, says in response to a comment:

To be honest, I was just reading it back to myself shortly before your comment, and I found myself reading it as though it was real. Even though I only wrote it today, it seemed as though I was reading someone else's press release or article.

I think I've read one too many Dubai's! World! Biggest! First! kind of stories.

Anyway maybe this post will prompt some sheikh to actually attempt this. Oh – except none of them can read it of course, since I've been blocked as contravening sandland values ;)

Sunbula, from Kabobfest, too fell for an online trick while surfing an Egyptian listserv called Cairo Scholars that foreigners use in Cairo. One of the posters wrote:

dear cairoscholars,
i found a baby camel outside my building in february. it looked malnourished so i took it in and have been caring for it for the last month. it's exceptionally cute and has been dubbed baby joe by my gregarious bowab (doorman). the problem is that i have to go back to the united states and i am wondering if anyone has any advice for what i should do about shipping baby joe. does anyone know if fedex or ups ships live animals, and about how much would it cost? we both thank you.
– chris

Sunbula lists some of the responses the plea received here.

Meanwhile in Iraq, things take a serious turn with Neurotic Iraqi Wife who decides not to play a joke on her husband. She explains:

I had a few ideas for April Fools today. Call HUBBY and tell him I quit my job. Call HUBBBY and tell him I chopped my hair off. Call HUBBY and tell him I quit smoking yeah right! Or call HUBBY and tell him that there was the most hugest blast ever in the GZ and theyve started to evacuate us!(Thats nasty, I know) But then I thought about it, and realized, I wasnt gonna do any of that because one, I wasnt in the mood to joke, and two,there are a few people out there who can do this much much better than I would. People who can fool the whole world. Not just fool one person, but 6.60 billion people. You decide which one deserves the Trophy. The April Fools Trophy of the Century…

She invites her readers to bestow the honour on either Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki, US President G W Bush, US Senator John McCain or Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Muqtada Al Sadr.

1 comment

  • Steve

    Hello all
    As you may know, the counterfeited usage of term Arabian Gulf instead of Persian Gulf is forbidden due to UN 19 August 1994 addendum. UN counts it as an unforgivable betray to the world heritage and I want to ask you to correct the mistake.
    I am not Iranian but I strongly protest any fabrication of historical names in any part of the world.
    Thanks

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