To Elvis, from Qatar, with love

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page -

Among the felt-tip ex­pres­sions of undy­ing loy­alty scrawled onto the stone wall that sep­a­rates Elvis Pres­ley’s home from the boule­vard that bears the singer’s name is a rel­a­tively new in­scrip­tion that to most vis­i­tors prob­a­bly ap­pears as ab­stract as the pat­terns cut in the air by the King’s on­stage karate chops.

The mes­sage — writ­ten just a cou­ple of feet off the ground, a few yards from the Grace­land gates — is in Ara­bic. It states: “Elvis we love you — Qatar.”

“My goal in life is to spread Elvis in the Mid­dle East,” said Lisa Bseiso (pro­nounced bih-SEE-so), founder of “The Of­fi­cial Elvis Pres­ley Fan Club of Qatar,” the rare Elvis or­ga­ni­za­tion based in an Is­lamic na­tion.

More, “the power of Elvis Pres­ley can the bridge the cul­tures of the East and the West,” said Bseiso, 36. “His mu­sic and pres­ence is univer­sal, re­gard­less of tra­di­tions, re­li­gions or norms.

“Elvis talks di­rectly to you,” she added, cit­ing “Hurt” and “If I Can Dream” — “If I can dream of a bet­ter land/ Where all my broth­ers walk hand in hand” — as among the songs that of­fer par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant mes­sages of heal­ing and hope.

A for­mer or­ga­nizer of char­i­ties for the Qatari royal fam­ily, Bseiso ac­knowl­edges her fam­ily wealth has helped her make four trips to Grace­land in the past few years, mark­ing the fledg­ling Qatar fan club — based in the cap­i­tal city of Do­har, some 7,500 miles from Mem­phis — as not just one of the most dis­tant but one of

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