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Culture

Political Fruit Salad

Fruit, courtesy of Alan Levin/flickr
Courtesy of Alan Levin/flickr

If power were a fruit, I guess it would be an orange: sweet at first, it usually turns out to have a sour after-taste. And if you attempt to savor it whole, it’s very bitter.

I’ve come across a few fruity political metaphors lately. Using sweet comparisons seems to help political correctness.  ‘A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down’, as a famous flying nanny once said…

Have you heard about Kenya’s watermelons this week? Not the country’s newest export success, no. In the debate surrounding the new constitution approved in Wednesday’s vote, watermelons are those politicians who are ‘green’ on the outside and ‘red’ on the inside.  Despite apparently being supporters of the new text (green), they are actually against (red) because it threatens some of their privileges, and they will do everything they can to impede its introduction.

Similarly, did you know that the US and the UK produce coconuts? The term is emerging in both countries to designate black people who are ‘white’ inside because they have assimilated white culture. Some like to proudly call themselves ‘coconuts’ as a mark of successful integration or even a kind of higher social status. But others use it to accuse people of betraying their ethnic loyalty, so be very careful before you call someone fruit names. I wonder where Barack Obama stands on this issue?

Finally, no fruit beats the sabra when it comes to political importance. This cactus fruit, usually called prickly pear in English, has played an interesting role in Israeli national identity for a long time. ‘Sabra‘ is used to describe Jewish people born and raised in Israel, as opposed to those who emigrated after its creation. The ‘sabras’  are supposedly rough on the outside, but delicate on the inside. According to Wikipedia, Benjamin Netanyahu is the first sabra Prime Minister… Well, I can definitely see the rough outside!

Do you know of any political fruit to add to this summer salad?

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