Palestinian wife surprises husband with romantic billboard

Published October 13th, 2016 - 01:50 GMT
Billboards in the Gaza Strip don't always include genuine expressions of affection (AFP/File)
Billboards in the Gaza Strip don't always include genuine expressions of affection (AFP/File)

When Drake bought Rihanna a billboard last month, the entire internet was filled with joy. With a single sentence of congratulations in a flowery font, it seemed to suddenly confirm that love is indeed real.

This week, a woman from the Gaza Strip has gone even further, buying her husband a specially-designed billboard and a bouquet of flowers in celebration of their fifth wedding anniversary.

In a video that’s been reported on Arabic 21 shared widely online, Samah Shamali is shown asking her husband, Mahmoud Abu Hamda, to meet her. She then surprises him with a bunch of roses and a billboard emblazoned with an enlarged photograph of him, and a few words of poetry that comes straight from a heart that's evidently too good for this world.  

"Sir, my support,my baby, my man, my teacher, my mentor, my advisor,my spoiler, my husband, my brother, my father,my soul, my sheik and my heart,” reads what may be the purest billboard created to date. “To the first sweetheart in my life, we are two hearts and souls close to each other.”

Mahmoud responds like most people would: by sitting on the sidewalk, crying a bit, and looking back and forth at the billboard. He then tells the camera that his wedding anniversary with “this angel” is in four days. “I wish we could spend a very beautiful life together."

In a telephone interview with the Arabic 21 website, Mahmoud explained the story behind the billboard photograph. He’s a photojournalist, and has been denied participation to numerous international competitions because of the closure of Gaza’s Rafah border. The Strip has is under a strict Israel-imposed blockade, with the movement of goods and people severely restricted. His wife, he said, was his support through the frustration and distress.

Samah, he told Arabic 21, is a poet, and the pair met at a course where he was impressed by her work. They were married five years ago and the couple have two children.

As of yet, no reports of an upcoming poetry collection or photography project have been announced from either Mahmoud or Samah. It seems highly likely that the gesture was legitimately motivated by an actual loving relationship.


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