Art, Music & Culture

Review: The Shouting Fence

The Culture Park Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam provided a natural setting for an unique performance of The Shouting Fence. This musical expression of emotions about the Separation Wall built in the occupied Palestinian territories was performed by at least 1,500 voices. Between what resembles concrete parts of the wall and the audience in the middle, between a fence and barbed wires, on two sides of the arena two large groups of singers shout, sing and whisper. Shouting Fence is a vocal story of a community split in two. EI’s Arjan El Fassed went to the premiere in Amsterdam and reviews this unique musical event. 

Documentary film review: "Mur" (Wall)

Winner at festivals in Marseille and Jerusalem, Simone Bitton’s Franco-Israeli “Mur” (Wall), is about Israel’s Apartheid Wall. EI’s Arjan El Fassed saw this documentary during the seventeenth international documentary filmfestival in Amsterdam (Netherlands) which opened on 18 November. Mur (“Wall”) is nominated for the Amnesty International-DOEN Award, one of the awards presented at the festival. After the screening the audience got to ask Bitton some questions. “The moment I heard about the barrier going up, June 2002, I had to make this film,” she said in Cinerama 2 in Amsterdam. 

A cultural protest against the wall

The wall Israel is building on Palestinian land is not only violating Palestinians’ right to freedom of movement and obstructing them from their source of income, but it is also blocking their view of natural sunrise and sunset. It is blocking the hope of a bright future and a just peace. History shows that building walls rarely solves conflicts or guarantees security. As a creative and non-violent protest against the Segregation Wall, the International Center of Bethlehem organized for three muralists from Mexico to join with locals to deface the wall. The three artists, Alberto Aragon Reyes, Gustavo Chavez Pavon and Erasto Molina Urbina arrived in Palestine Oct. 19 to begin work and stayed in Bethlehem. 

Ariel Sharon Short Story Contest: Announcing the Winner

The first prize winner in the first annual Ariel Sharon Short Story contest is Katherine Ludwig. The story is based on what happened to Rachel Corrie, although the story does not require the reader to know this for it to “work.” The story moves at a clipped pace yet flows remarkably well, as it opens up space and time for a reader to reflect on “the event” at hand. Ms. Ludwig’s understanding of the consciousness of these characters is evident. She is aware of the woman’s (and the other protestors’) possible flaws (e.g., their privelege) as perceived by the driver (e.g.”the smoothness of their pampered skin”). 

Exhibiting Politics: Palestinian-American Artist Emily Jacir Talks About her Work

What is it like for a Palestinian-American artist to make art when each day Palestinians are suffering at home because of the Israeli occupation and current intifada? How can art help bridge borders and open people’s eyes to the realities of the Palestinians? These questions find answers in the work of Palestinian-American artist Emily Jacir, who works in Ramallah and New York, and is best known for conceptually based photography, video and installation projects that do not hide her political sympathies or ignore the highly charged atmosphere in which she lives. 

Chicago film crew explores Palestine through the lens of soccer

Futbol Palestina 2006 (working name) is a documentary about a soccer team and the unique challenge of representing a nation under occupation: Palestine. The story is told through five of the players, Palestinians from around the world, including those from the territories occupied by Israel and others from as far as Latin America. The team’s stated purpose has been to claim a spot in the World Cup, the most important single sporting event in the world. The film crew is currently in the Middle East collecting material ahead of Palestine’s last World Cup qualifying match against Iraq in Amman, Jordan, in November. 

Here's hoping: Primal Scream for Palestine

“Tomorrow our band Primal Scream, together with Spiritualized and some other special guests, are playing in London for the children of Palestine. As far as I know, it’s the first time that a benefit gig has been staged on this scale in Britain for the Palestinian people. It is often said that the Palestinian issue is so difficult and sensitive that it’s better not to get involved. But the truth is, it’s not. It’s easy. There is no shortage of musicians ready to show their support for the Palestinians at this time in their struggle.” Bobby Gillespie spreads some hope in the pages of The Guardian

Documentary film review: "Checkpoint"

“When the Palestinians come we put on our show,” says a youthful Israeli soldier manning a checkpoint at Nablus’ Jericho road. This “show,” as it is richly documented in the new Israeli film Checkpoint, serves a seemingly dual purpose. First and foremost, it is intended to remind Palestinians just who is in power; and secondly, it serves as a form of entertainment to the young Israelis whose compulsory military service finds them wasting their time and talents at these roadblocks in the occupied Palestinian territories. 

Making sense of our times: Excerpts from "Is There an Islamic Problem?"

September 11 brings into the open, forcing into the daylight of consciousness, the legacies of history - of racial hubris, of disequilibria imposed by wars, of messianism, of reincarnated fossils, of tribalism sanctified by religion, of racial hubris, of social science in the service of power, of naked greed disguised in the rhetoric of the civilizing mission, of citizens fed on lies and sedated by amusements, of cruelty cultivated as a racial virtue, of injustices that cannot be allowed to stand. September 11 establishes beyond reasonable doubt that the United States is deeply, irrevocably connected to the Arab world, the Islamicate world, in ways it cannot ignore or deny. 

Culture and dissent: Khalil Sakakini Center looks towards creative resistance

Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center Director Adila Laidi explains that the role of culture evolves over time and raises to the public questions like the normalcy of the Israeli Occupation. If Edward Said and Noam Chomsky argue that the role of the intellectual is to speak truth to power and Bill Moyers says the same of journalism, then what Laidi is arguing is much the same for art and culture in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Laidi says that since the outbreak of the second intifada in 2000, there has been no normal life. And that as the role of art and culture develop as a means of expression in the context of the Occupation and the current intifada, the Sakakini Cultural Center has a duty to reach beyond the middle, educated classes.