Thursday, January 29, 2009

comedian dean obeidallah's open letter to obama

The award-winning Arab-American comedian Dean Obeidallah (Palestinian dad is from West Bank village of Battir, mum's parents hailed from Sicily) has written on Huffington Post an 'Open Letter to President Obama on Future Appearances on Arab TV'.

Dear President Obama:

I just watched portions of the interview you gave to the Arabic cable network Al Arabiya.It was truly a great step towards rehabilitating our nation's image in the Arab world - but I must say - respectfully - your interview could have been better. I'm sure you are thinking: Who am I to say your interview could have been better? Well, I'm a mid-level comedian who has performed numerous times in the Middle East over the past year including just three days ago in Dubai. Impressed now?! I thought so.
So in the spirit of being helpful, Mr. President, here are my suggestions for your future appearances in the Arab media:

1. Dress like a hip Arab guy. I know Arab professionals and leaders tend to dress in a suit and tie - but for your next interview, wear an outfit that says I want to reach out to the common Arab man. I'd suggest slacks and a polyester blend shirt with the top four buttons open - maybe throw in a gold chain or two. That look will get the "Arab Street" to stop and listen.

2. Smoke during the interview. Mr. President we all know you enjoy smoking but are trying to quit. Here is a chance to justify your smoking as well as creating a bond with the average Arab man. To give you an idea how much Arab men smoke, I went to a gym in the Middle East and there were ashtrays on the treadmills. Arabs view it this way: Anyone can run five miles, lets see you run five miles while smoking a Marlboro.

3. Throw in a few Arab phrases like Salama Alaykum, Inshallah (God willing) or even a "My friend."

4. During the interview take out a lamb kebob and offer some to the interviewer. This helps for two reasons: 1. Arabs love lamb; 2. It shows you are being hospitable by offering to share your food. Arabs are among the most - if not the most - hospitable people in the world and would love the gesture. ..Read in Full

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