The problem with the Happy Nakba Day joke was not that a white non-Muslim Canadian told it. The problem was that it was told at all. In Qatar, as in other Arab countries, the “catastrophe” is a crime against humanity that cannot be joked about. Halal Bilal, however, has found a way to weave an Israel joke into his routine. At the Katara show, Bilal riffed on trying to get into the Palestinian territories:
“Any Palestinians here? I wanted to go to Palestine, but to get there I had to go through Israel. I get to the border, and the Israeli soldier says to me, ‘What are you doing here?’ I was like, ‘Dude, I could ask you the same question!’ ” Then he paused. (In his notebook, Bilal had instructions to himself to look for someone in the crowd who was not laughing and make a joke about that.) Then he went on: “I lie — I actually said I’m Jewish! You’re shocked? So was he! He didn’t believe me. I said: ‘Dude, I am Jewish. I have evidence, but it’s circum-stantial.’ Get it?”
As the cameraman, Richard Butler, was swapping out a battery, Egyptian colleagues who were accompanying the camera crew heard men nearby talking about wanting to take Ms. Logan’s pants off. She said: “Our local people with us said, ‘We’ve gotta get out of here.’
That was literally the moment the mob set on me.” Mr. Butler, Ms. Logan’s producer, Max McClellan, and two locally hired drivers were “helpless,” Mr. Fager said, “because the mob was just so powerful.” A bodyguard who had been hired to accompany the team was able to stay with Ms. Logan for a brief period of time. “For Max to see the bodyguard come out of the pile without her, that was one of the worst parts,” Mr. Fager said. He said Ms. Logan “described how her hand was sore for days after — and the she realized it was from holding on so tight” to the bodyguard’s hand.
That cursive-challenged class included Alex Heck, 22, who said she barely remembered how to read or write cursive. Ms. Heck and a cousin leafed through their grandmother’s journal shortly after she died, but could barely read her cursive handwriting.
“It was kind of cryptic,” Ms. Heck said. She and the cousin tried to decipher it like one might a code, reading passages back and forth. “I’m not used to reading cursive or writing it myself.”
Thirty years ago, Mr. Colon — better known as the B-boy, or break dancer, Crazy Legs — propelled hip-hop culture to the world stage as a member of the seminal dance troupe known as the Rock Steady Crew. Today, he remains a global ambassador for B-boying, and his kitchen here is the embassy.
When meeting Mexicans it is best not to discuss poverty, illegal aliens, earthquakes or their 1845-6 war with America.
Polite topics of conversation would be Mexican culture, history, art and museums instead.