Monday, April 08, 2013

Hamas Revives Biblical Narrative

Remember that encounter of Samson with the lady of Soreq, Delilah:

6 And Delilah said to Samson: 'Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee.' 7 And Samson said unto her: 'If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that were never dried, then shall I become weak, and be as any other man.' 8 Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings which had not been dried, and she bound him with them. 9 Now she had liers-in-wait abiding in the inner chamber. And she said unto him: 'The Philistines are upon thee, Samson.' And he broke the bowstrings as a string of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known....15 And she said unto him: 'How canst thou say: I love thee, when thy heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth.' 16 And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, that his soul was vexed unto death. 17 And he told her all his heart, and said unto her: 'There hath not come a razor upon my head; for I have been a Nazirite unto God from my mother's womb; if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.' 18 And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying: 'Come up this once, for he hath told me all his heart.' Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought the money in their hand. 19 And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and had the seven locks of his head shaven off; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. 20 And she said: 'The Philistines are upon thee, Samson.' And he awoke out of his sleep, and said: 'I will go out as at other times, and shake myself.' But he knew not that the LORD was departed from him...

It has come to Gaza, in a way.  Here:
Police in Hamas-ruled Gaza have started grabbing young men with long or gel-styled spiky hair off the streets, bundling them into jeeps, mocking them and shaving their heads, two of those targeted and a rights group said Sunday.  It is the latest sign that the Islamic militants are imposing their strict practices on the population.

Hamas has been slowly forcing its fundamentalist interpretation of the religion on already conservative Gaza since it overran the territory in 2007, but the new crackdown on long hair and tight or low-waist pants — in several cases accompanied by beatings — appears to be one of the most aggressive phases of the campaign so far.

The crackdown began last week, and two of those targeted told The Associated Press said they were rounded up in separate sweeps in Gaza City that included more than two dozen young men.

House painter Ayman al-Sayed, 19, had shoulder-length hair before police grabbed him and shaved his head Thursday.

"The only thing I want to do is leave this country," said al-Sayed, who despite his ordeal defiantly wore stylish but outlawed narrow-leg tan khakis Sunday. "I am scared. They just take you from the street without reason. I don't know what they are going to do next." 

Hamas officials played down the campaign — a stance adopted in the past that allows the group to distance itself from a controversial crackdown while at the same time instilling fear in those it targeted.  Ziad al-Zaza, the deputy prime minister of Gaza, said the head-shaving "was a very limited, isolated behavior of the police and is not going to continue."

Which reminds me of the verses at the beginning of that chapter in Judges:

3 And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and laid hold of the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and plucked them up, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of the mountain that is before Hebron.


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