This is pricesless:
An international grade school poetry contest
quickly deteriorated into an aggressive cyberspace battle for Middle
Eastern honor when word got out on the Internet that a nine-year-old
Israeli girl had pulled ahead of an Egyptian competitor and threatened
to take first prize.
Sharon Livneh, a fourth grader at Ma'aleh Adumim's Sde Hemed
elementary school, had no idea when she penned a poem about her
sister's bat mitzva that she had set off a chain of events that would
lead to a fierce Arab-Israeli confrontation on the Internet.
Livneh was the pride of her school and hometown when she became
the only Israeli to be chosen as one of six finalists in a British
Council-sponsored poetry contest.
Just a few hundred kilometers south of Livneh's home an
Egyptian school boy named Youssef el-Kattan was also celebrating his
The two children's poems along with their names and countries
of origin appeared on the British Council's Web site. Whoever received
the most votes via the Internet would win.
You can see where this may be going..
Almost immediately it was clear that Livneh and
el-Kattan had attracted a disproportionately large amount of attention
on the Web. While most children had received dozens of votes, Livneh
and el-Kattan had accrued thousands.
"All along she was in second place," recalled Sharon's mother, Adina. "Youssef from Egypt was in first place.
"But around 2 p.m. on Monday, Sharon pulled ahead with 3,475
votes against his 3,445. I admit that I and Sharon's grandfather were
doing some serious campaigning among friends and family.
What happened next was truly funny!
"All of a sudden they dropped a bomb on us. At 5:40
p.m., Sharon had 4,171 votes, while Youssef had 39,538. Two-and-a-half
hours later the results were 4,476 and 43,347."
So, the mother of Sharon complained about possible foul-play and the Council suspended the voting. You wanna know what the final count was?
Before the British Council suspended the voting, Youssef was leading with 70,000 votes to Sharon's 5,000.
I love the Middle-East!