Art, Music & Culture

Gazan poets gather for reading on eve of Ramadan

Sami Abu Salem
11 October 2005

Lanterns and old-fashioned lamps dangled from the wood ceiling over hundreds of citizens gathered on the eve of Ramadan (the month of fasting for Muslims) to attend night of poetry recitation by young poets. The four young poets were in a semi-competition to win the most applause from the officials and ordinary citizens who were enthusiastic to spend this unique time far from politics. The night of poetry recitation, “There is a Room for Happiness”, was organized by the Rahala Association.

Rap group DAM to hold first US show October 5!

3 October 2005

On 5 October 2005, history will be made when ‘48 Palestine rap group DAM (Da Arabic MC’s) perform their first concert in the U.S. Celebrate the Palestinian hip hop movement with DAM, with additional performances by Chosan, Invincible, Akil Dasan, La Bruja, Anthony Morales and special guests. The trailer for the new film Slingshot Hip Hop: The Palestinian Lyrical Front by Jackie Salloum will be screened as well. The concert will be held at Climax, 14 Avenue B (between 1st and 2nd) at 9:30, and is presented by: World Up, Nomadic Wax, The Hip Hop Association, and the International Hip Hop Exchange

Palestine's first Octoberfest in Taybeh

Maureen Clare Murphy
1 October 2005

There’s a first time for everything, and this weekend it was Palestine’s first Octoberfest-styled beer festival, held in Taybeh village. Excited local boy scouts and townspeople mixed with foreigners who had made the pilgrimage to the Biblical city of Ephraim, and the entertainment was geared towards all parties - children’s performances, live music, and, of course, Taybeh beer. Taybeh’s second claim to fame, apart from its visit by Jesus before he traveled to Jerusalem, is its brewery - the only one in Palestine, and one of only a handful in the Arab Middle East.

Three Cities Against the Wall: Ramallah, Tel Aviv, New York

27 October 2005

Three Cities Against the Wall is an exhibition protesting the Separation Wall under construction by Israel in the Occupied Territories of Palestine. This project involves groups of artists in Ramallah, Palestine; Tel Aviv, Israel; and New York City. The show will be held simultaneously in all three cities in November 2005. Through this collaborative exhibition, the organizers and participating artists will draw attention to the reality of the Wall and its disastrous impact on the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians by the separation of Palestinian communities from each other and from their fertile lands, water resources, schools, hospitals and work places; thereby “contributing to the departure of Palestinian populations,” as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has warned.

Film review: "Just Married" divorced from the bigger picture

Maureen Clare Murphy
29 September 2005

The theme of Just Married is Israel’s discriminatory family reunification process, which has been frozen since 2003. Because no unification applications are currently being accepted, Palestinians from the occupied West Bank (excluding Jerusalem, which Israel illegally annexed in 1967) and Gaza Strip who marry Israeli citizens or residents are unable to legally live with their spouses in Israel or occupied East Jerusalem. However, as it the film focuses on just two newly-married couples and the problems they face, the magnitude of the problem is unclear to the viewer, as is Israel’s motivations behind the freezing of the process.

Four one-act plays by Palestinian playwrights to support art exhibition

27 September 2005

The rarely heard voices of Palestinian playwrights come to New York City on October 16-17 for a unique and important theatrical benefit, Acts for Palestine, to support a visual art exhibition entitled Made in Palestine, an exhibition of the contemporary art of Palestine, featuring 23 Palestinian artists. Tragedy, seeping into daily life, fuels the Palestinian playwright at home and in exile. Cultural poignancy, the beloved ancient soil of literary tradition, and revolutionary hope combine to create literary expressions that grip the viewer as much as the playwright.

"A Prayer Band": Palestinian poet Suheir Hammad on Hurricane Katrina

Suheir Hammad
13 September 2005

A Palestinian-American from Brooklyn, Suheir Hammad has appeared on the HBO show “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry,” hosted by Mos Def. Her poems have been featured in numerous publications, on the BBC World Service, and National Public Radio. Hammad recently wrote two poems about Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath. The first reprinted here, “A Prayer Band”, was performed at an event organised by Hammad called “Refugees for Refugees” in New York City on September 9th, which raised $5,000 for hurricane relief. Suheir Hammad arrived in Jackson, Mississippi yesterday, to deliver the money personally and help with direct relief efforts.

Well-known UK graffiti artist Banksy hacks the Wall

Nigel Parry
2 September 2005

”How illegal is it to vandalize a wall,” asks Banksy in his website introduction to his Wall project, “if the wall itself has been deemed unlawful by the International Court of Justice? The Israeli government is building a wall surrounding the occupied Palestinian territories. It stands three times the height of the Berlin wall and will eventually run for over 700km - the distance from London to Zurich. The International Court of Justice last year ruled the wall and its associated regime is illegal. It essentially turns Palestine into the world’s largest open-air prison.”

Israeli Army stops West Bank mural project, citing Gaza disengagement

31 August 2005

A Palestinian family from the town of Mas’ha, recently collaborated with US, Palestinian, International and Israeli artists and activists to paint a mural of hope and resilience on the 280 feet long by 24 feet high Occupation Wall that faces their front door. On 22 August 2005, the Israeli commander of the Salfit region threatened to take away the key that lets the family out of their home if the US, Palestinian and Israeli artists did not cease painting immediately and vacate the premises. He considered the mural of trees, flowers and birds a “provocation” to the Gaza settlers being relocated to the West Bank.

Freedom for Palestine: Ticket-holders only?

Maureen Clare Murphy
31 August 2005

Invitations clutched in their hands, last week the audience members of the East West Diwan Orchestra squeezed past uniformed, armed guards and headed into the Ramallah Cultural Palace auditorium. The concert, performed by both Israeli and Palestinian musicians and conducted by world-renowned Israeli musician Daniel Barenboim, was definitely one of the more newsworthy cultural events in Palestine this year. Yet it was unadvertised, and only at the last minute were local photographers allowed to document the event for Palestinian papers.


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