Palestinians in Gaza adopt celebrity names to gain media attention

Written by Nicholas Renteria

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Palestinians living in the occupied Gaza Strip have taken to creative measures to attract media attention from the US and other powerful NATO and UN member countries.

Many have begun legally changing their names to those of high-profile celebrities, hoping that any mistreatment or violence they encounter with the new monikers will pique the interest of media outlets who often ignore the human rights abuses they face.

"Right now all we can do is try to spread awareness of what goes on here," said George Clooney, formerly Nadeem Suleiman. "If tomorrow I am killed in the street by Israeli soldiers, hopefully news of the senseless death of George Clooney will spread far and wide."

Clooney and his family made the decision to change their names officially after the recent military aid deal between the US and Israel was finalized earlier this week.

The new deal provides Israel with $3.8 billion annually, and continues to solidify Israel as the number one recipient of US military aid since World War II.

Clooney says his children, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift, lost their mother in an overnight bombing raid three weeks prior to their decision to take on new identities. Clooney's youngest son was also killed last month when Israeli occupation soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets at protesters near Gaza City.

"We felt we had no recourse. No one cared that Mohiyeh or Laila had been killed, but maybe if it had been Will Smith and Julia Roberts, CNN might have picked it up."

Nearly two thirds of the 1.6 million Palestinians living in Gaza are considered refugees, and are regularly subjected to various human rights violations cited in numerous reports conducted by watchdog groups such as Amnesty International and UNICEF.

Such reports detail violations such as unlawful killings both of adults and children, extrajudicial executions, torture of detainees, forced eviction and housing demolition, as well as the curtailing of rights to expression, association and assembly.

Clooney says he is unsure whether Hamas, the Islamic governing body in Gaza, will approve of the decisions made by his family and other Palestinians in the area.

"I don't know, maybe they will have something to say about it, but we had to try something."

Another Palestinian man, Brad Pitt, formerly Yasser Abu Sharifeh, says that any US media attention would be appreciated. "CNN, Washington Post, E! News, anything. If MTV started reporting on Gaza, we'd take it," said Pitt.

When asked if he thought the Al Jazeera coverage of Israeli Occupation was enough, Pitt replied, "No, not for the audience we want to reach. Maybe if they changed their name, too. I don't think Americans trust a news publication whose name starts with 'Al.' Too close to Al Qaeda for a country trying to elect Donald Trump.

"The UN declared Israeli settlements in Gaza and the West Bank illegal under international law 50 years ago," continued Pitt. "The power for change is clearly not with these officials. Power now is in the hands of the news makers, the ones who decide what is worthy of the people's attention."

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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