130109-gaza-mural.jpg

(Mohammed Asad / APA images)

A year after Juliano Mer-Khamis’ murder, DAM hip hop video celebrates his life, calls for justice

Exactly one year ago on 4 April, revolutionary activist, director, and actor, Juliano Mer-Khamis, was shot dead by masked gunmen outside the Freedom Theatre in Jenin that he founded and nurtured. His work there positively impacted the lives of many Palestinian children mostly from Jenin’s refugee camp, and his killing was a shock.

Now, Palestinian hip hop group, DAM, has released a new single and commemorating Juliano’s life and calling for those responsible for the murder to be found and prosecuted. It is titled “Juliano’s Way.”

The song features Juliano’s students speaking phrases remembering their mentor. It consists of three main rap parts each sung by DAM’s members Suheil Nafar, Tamer Nafar, and Mahmood Jreiri; besides the rap, the song features sampled parts from Benny Mardone’s classic song “Into the Night.”

I got in touch with DAM member Tamer Nafar to get a deeper idea about their song and their relationship with Juliano. “The message is find the killers,” told me. He added that the video intended to highlight Juliano’s ordinary life, his work, and funeral to show that the person who shot him is just one, but those who believed in Juliano’s work are thousands.

Tamer said that Juliano’s legacy isn’t necessarily in his specific work in Jenin; it also lies in his passion and vision as he worked in Jenin. “We don’t need someone that follows Jul as Jul, but you need someone that will have that same vision,” Tamer explained, “I have it in Hip Hop, others in drawings and we need someone that has that same passion for Jenin and theater.”

Juliano Mer-Khamis was a man who put his words and beliefs into action, in Tamer’s view. He gave the example of DAM’s 2004 song “Born Here” which was directed by Juliano and resembles the idea of rap lyrics turning into action.

Tamer also recalled that Juliano’s most well-known film, Arna’s Childrenwas made in the middle of the 2002 massacre.”

“Jul didn’t use the cliché ‘My art is my weapon,’” Tamer observed, “he was surrounded by weapons during his film, he left the luxuries of life, left Haifa, left the Israeli cinema and went to a place that you would want to leave. He was a man of action, he showed that there isn’t a line between writing, filming, drawing it and living it.”

The song can also be downloaded for free from here.

Comments

Indeed the killer should be found and punished however i disagree with praising a fellow palestinian just because he lert the comfortable life of the parts of palestine occupied in 1948 to go work in the parts occupied in 1967. Juliano was Palestinian, sure his mother was eastern european but his father was Palestinian and as such he didnt do anyone any favours by working in a refugee camp. This doesnt mean i didnt respect his work, im just saying leaving haifa to work in jenin is not a big thing nor a favour. Its his country after all whether he worked in haifa, jerusalem, jenine, nazareth, gaza, bethlehem or anywhere else in Palestine. I would never want anyone to praise me for helping my own people and country or for leaving one part of my country to work in another part of it. This is how i see it.

I highly doubt you are connected to arts especially theater in your community. As an actor from Palestine, let me assure you, theater DOES have a great impact. I'm sure the murder thought almost the same like you, unless you are involved in theater you wont be appreciative to it, and you might as well be against it -after all he broke the conventional ways of living through his art.

Melkar, before you jump to conclusions, read what i wrote. My issue was not with his work nor with juliano. My issue was with portraying it as a big deal to leave haifa to work with theater in jenine. Do you understand? I think it was good what he did, but im just saying that we dont deserve praise for going from one part of our country to the other, all of palestine is our country and as such it is not an issue that i leave haifa to work in jenine. So dont get me wrong. I am not talking about art.

You seem to have missed the point here Elias. Granted he was a Hometown boy but the fact remains he choose to give back to his community by giving of himself.
Not just his money . That in isself speaks of the mans character. Then he gave the ultimate, even though it wasn't in his life's plan . Think about it before you run your mouth about someone's life you've never lived .

Amina, yes he gave of himself hence why i respected him. My objection was not about that. But beeing a palestinian leaving haifa to go work in jenine is not a big deal (his work was). Do you get what i mean? Leaving the comfort of your home to help people you dont share any ethnic bound with is a big deal like what some people do who go live in somalia and other poor places on earth even though they arent somalis, but not when you travel half an hour to help your own people.