The campaign for the missing * (the last letter of the alphabet) has picked up steam in an unprecedented way. French football star *ineddine *idane expressed his “worry and deep concern” over the disappearance and pledged to drop the letter from his name until the *aatar w *eit letters have been safely returned.
On another front, Hollywood bombshell Cameron Dia*, gave a short statement from her filming location, “I have been deeply saddened and upset by the news”, her publicist confirmed that Dia* as well, in an act of solidarity shall be removing the letter from her name until the issue has been resolved.
Not to be outdone, fiery Spanish actress Penelope Cru* used the UK premiere of the fourth part of “the pirates of the Caribbean” to emphasi*e the “deep sense of loss” she feels. Echoing her statements the Prime Minister of her country Jose Zapatero said in a hastily organi*ed press conference: “We, in Spain have experienced years of abductions, and therefore more than anyone else we understand the feeling. Our whole nation is behind *aatar w *eit in their current plight.”
The League of African Nations has held an emergency meeting and decided that the nations of *aire, *ambia, *imbabwe, Mo*ambique and Tan*ania will all stop using the letter in their names to indicate their solidarity with the issue.
Another political figure to have commented on the issue is French president Nicholas Sarko*i who is struggling in the polls, and who agreed as well to take off the letter from all his formal communication until its release from its captors. His wife, ex-model and singer Carla Bruni Sarko*i was heard confiding into friends “I am glad I married Nicholas after all, at least that way I could take off something from my name. Bruni has no * you know.”
The prestigious Academie Francaise, and through an official communiqué, has suspended the use of the liaison between words ending with the letter “s” and starting with voyels “the use of such a sound, which ultimately becomes *, is a disturbing reminder for all freedom loving francophone people of the issue. Until the matter has come to a satisfying conclusion, the Academie Francaise will not allow the use of the laison.”
Other celebrities have also jumped on the bandwagon, teenage heartthrob Selena Gome* thought that dropping the letter from her family name was “so cool, almost like being an adult. And Miley Cyrus will drop dead from jealousy as she has no such letter in her name.” Fallen celebrity Charlie Sheen, whose original family name is Esteve* tweeted by saying “should not have changed my family name. missed opportunity.”
Another latina beauty, albeit for a different age trend, Jennifer Lope* used the red carpet of a glamorous event she was attending to indicate that (her husband) “Marc Anthony and myself are saddened by what has happened. We live in a world full of unnecessary cruelty.”
British rock band Gorilla* through their frontman Damon Albarn released a statement which pointed out that “last year, we have enjoyed the *aatar w *eit food immensely when we gave a concert in Byblos, which is why our hearts go to the whole *w* family.”
The news that so many celebrities have been supporting the cause spread all over the globe so much that many brands decided to be part of the campaign. *ara, *adig&Voltaire, as well as French couture house Ken*o were on the forefront of the joiners. High end pan-Arab fashion retailer Ai*one also decided to pitch in.
Japanese automotive giants, still fresh from their own loss from the earthquake, marked a singular act of human kindness by agreeing that Ma*da and Su*uki on behalf of all Japanese constructors shall be part of the campaign as well until it comes to “a peaceful resolution.”
Upping up the ante, Doha based news channel Alja*eera issued a communique whereby it expressed its “discomfort over what has happened. At a time when all of the Arab nations are facing their own challenges, such an event should never have taken place. In order to assure *aatar w *eit of our deep commitment to freedom of expression and rights in the Arab world, we shall drop the letter from all our further broadcasts until the letters have been safely returned.”
In Lebanon, home place of *aatar w *eit, several towns have decided to scrap the letters from their names - *ahle, *ouk Mosbeh, and *gharta but to name a few. Even famous pubbing and clubbing street Gemmay*e, and through the association of its bars and restaurants operators managed to get a consensus over the issue and will be hiding the letter wherever in the found in the neighborhood.
Lebanese based food outlets Me**o and La*i* and in a joint press release indicated that “although this is an industry with cutthroat competition, we cannot but stand firm behind the *w* family. What has happened to them could have easily happened to us. All three us share not just one but two * letters in our names. We could be the next in line for all we know.”
Franchise holding companies from McDoland’s, Nando’s and T.G.I. Friday’s also held a common conference to announce that “whereas the famous letter is not found in our naming, it is so in their pronunciations. Therefore, out of linguistic and culinary sympathy we offer our sympathies to *w* and hope that the matter will come to a positive conclusion.”
However, it is the impact the matter is taking on the political level which is taking the world by storm. The Lybian Transitory Revolutionary Council said from its headquarters in Bengha*I “the *w* episode has made us reali*e how fragile human lives are, were therefore announce that we are ready to negotiate a truce with the armed forces of the Jamhiriyya.” In retaliation to the offer, the Libyan head of State said “not only am I ready to shake this offered hand but I am hereby standardi*ing my name in the Latin language so that it becomes officially Mouamar Ka**afi, in honor of the letter than has brought back unity to our land.”
Another development that took everyone aback, was the joint statement which came from Lebanese militia Hi*bollah and the head of the Israeli state Simon Pere*, “whatever our previous disagreements in the past, there comes a time when the humanitarian element takes precedent to the political one. And this is such a time. The missing letter concerns all human races of whatever political orientation. Both my name and that of Hi*bollah have it in them, and that's a bond we cannot erase.” This breakthrough on the Middle Eastern crisis prompted other protagonists to soften their attitude. Hamas leadership immediately convened a press conference and said “Simon Pere* is welcome in Ga*a.”
Whereas the road to full peace may be long, let history record that it all began with the strange abduction of * from *aatar w *eit.