In 1962, Bristol-Myers was riding high on a campaign for its Vitalis brand of hair dressing. Unlike Brylcreem, which had reigned supreme since the Roaring Twenties, Vitalis contained no grease and left the hair looking more like hair and less like the aftermath of an oil change. The ads generally consisted of one athlete looking in disgust at another athlete’s hair and asking, “You still using that greasy kid stuff?”
After 50+ years perhaps it is time for Vitalis to make a comeback, at least in the sharia-compliant Gaza Strip where it seems the ruling Hamas terrorists have a rule against greasy hair gel.
It is three weeks since his arrest, but Ismail Halou still has streaks of purple bruising on the soles of his feet. The 22-year-old was filling cars at his family’s petrol station in Gaza City at 5 p.m. on April 4 when a black jeep pulled into the forecourt and police stepped out to order him into the car. He was blindfolded and driven to the nearest police station.
“I could hear the screams of people being beaten in the rooms next to me,” he recalled. “Two men held my legs down and tied them together on a wooden board then they beat the soles of my feet with a plastic rod. They beat me for at least five minutes. I was crying and screaming with agony. It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt.”
After the beating, officers set to work shaving off the one-inch fin of gelled hair that was the cause of his arrest.
“At no point did they tell me why they had arrested me,” Mr Halou said. “I found out from neighbours when I got home it was my haircut.” He could not walk for three days after his release.
And the UN “Human Rights Council” makes false claims about Israel? Slicked down hair may generate images of greedy lawyers, but it is by no means a crime against humanity (except in Gaza).
Police in Gaza, the Palestinian coastal enclave run by the Islamist faction Hamas since 2007, have arrested at least 41 men on charges of immodesty this month, some because their haircuts were deemed culturally inappropriate, others because their trousers were either too low-slung or too fitted. Most were beaten, all of them had their heads forcibly shaven.
Rajou Hayek, 33, was arrested while pushing his wheelchair-bound father to a health clinic in Gaza City. At the police station, where he suffered a beating before also having his head shaved, he saw what he describes as a hill of hair.
“It was humiliating. This policy is nothing to do with jeans or hairstyles. Hamas is just trying to make Gaza afraid of them,” Mr Hayek said.
Ihab Al Ghusain, a spokesman for Hamas in Gaza, is critical of the police’s violent methods but defends their message. “Young people should be concerned with their education and what Israel is doing to us rather than concentrating on the outside world and pop star haircuts,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
Gaza residents chose this life for themselves when they elected Hamas to govern them–now they are stuck.
“There is no question that Gaza is more ’Islamicised’ now that it has been at any point since Hamas took power and it is getting worse,” said Samar Zakout, the deputy director of Al Mezan human rights organisation in Gaza.
“To the international community, the Hamas leadership say they respect human rights. But at home they are struggling to convince their members they are protectors of traditional values.”
But in the end the United Nations will ignore the tyranny of the Hamas government, which continues to keep their populace under their thumbs, continues to use it’s innocent citizens as human shields, and continues to send rockets into Israel’s population centers.
Perhaps it is the UN who should change what they put in their hair—obviously it is causing brain damage.