Art, Music & Culture

Al-Fawanees - The first musical in Palestine

Based on Ghassan Kanafani’s book, Al-Qandeel Al-Saghir (The Little Lantern), Al-Fawanees is the first ever musical to debut in Palestine of such magnitude. Kanafani, whose vision and writings inspired thousands to create and dream, wrote and illustrated this first children’s novel for his niece Lamees whom he adored for one of her birthdays, before the two of them were the target of an Israeli assassination in Beirut in 1972, where both their lives were forever immortalized. The debut of the large-scale production, which includes the 55-member Shams Choir, will be held August 6 at the Ramallah Cultural Palace. 

First annual Ariel Sharon short story contest is proud to announce the first ever (as far as we are aware) Ariel Sharon Short Story Contest, and to invite writers to contribute stories that focus on, are inspired by, or related to Ariel Sharon. All entries will be read, and the best will be published online on (who knows, perhaps something in print will come out of this too…), with a copyright notice in the author’s name. The writer of the winning story will receive 50 Euros. Songs and song lyrics are also welcome. Downloads of the first entries are already accessible! 

Film review: "Aftershock" exposes IDF soldiers' psychology

“Whilst I was there, I lost all my faith in the Israeli army. They put it right in your face: ‘Go be the oppressors for your people. Force yourselves upon them.’ They told us … ‘take these bats wrapped up in plastic and … calm things down’ … We had skulls on our helmets, dude. We walked around with machetés, all kinds of crazy stuff. Sheriff badges. We’d improvise some very unique solutions.” This is Ehud, speaking 12 years after having served in the occupied Palestinian territories. Like the thousands before him, he was a paratrooper in the Israeli army during the first Palestinian intifada (1987-1993). 

Naji al-Ali: The timeless conscience of Palestine

On July 22 1987 at five in the afternoon, Palestinian cartoonist Naji Al-Ali parked his car in southwest London, and walked a few meters towards the offices of the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas where he worked. He was shot in the head by a gunman. After five weeks in a coma on a life support machine Naji al-Ali died on August 30, 1987 at the age of 49. Naji al-Ali is still the most popular artist in the Arab world, loved for his defense of the ordinary people, and for his criticism of repression and despotism. His unrelenting cartoons exposed the brutality of the Israeli army and the hypocrisy of the PLO, earning him many powerful enemies. 

Breaking the Silence: Occupation soldiers give visual and written accounts of their experience in Hebron

Closing a school, abusing civilians at a check point, following orders, staying in a family’s comandeered home, posing for trophy photos with enemy bodies, being the law, enjoying power, feeling ashamed, getting addicted to controlling people, dispersing a funeral, wanting to forget, not caring, the ease in which you actually do whatever you want to do unsupervised, the unbearable lightness of these things that happen. 12,643 words of testimonies. What follows is a compilation of written and photographic testimonies by IDF soldiers who served until recently, or are still actively serving, in the West Bank city of Hebron. 

Palestinian film-maker, novelist hope to make award winning book into a movie

Waleed Zuaiter, a professional actor in his early thirties now living in Brooklyn Heights, New York, never thought his life would change the way it has after reading a book. While taking part in the US West coast premier of Homebody/Kabul, a play by the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning playwright Tony Kushner, Zuaiter’s wife Joana came across On the Hills of God, a novel by Ibrahim Fawal, a Palestinian writer and filmmaker now residing in Birmingham, Alabama. Although he was preoccupied with acting at night while living in Berkley, California, Zuaiter’s captivation with the 450-page book sparked him into action. 

Culture for All

Sitting perched on a hill in the suburb of Al-Masyoon, the Ramallah Cultural Palace has an almost conspicuous air of tranquillity to it. Just down the road lie the mangled remains of half a dozen cars destroyed by Israeli tanks as out in the distance one can see the first signs that the separation wall is finally beginning to encroach on the city. The gleaming new building, however, almost seems to rise above these troubling reminders of the enduring Israeli occupation, offering instead a sense of hope and renewal. The grand opening of the West Bank’s first and only Palestinian cultural centre of its kind is generating a great deal of buzz in the occupied territories. From Ramallah, Jaideep Mukerji looks at what the centre means for the Palestinians’ sense of identity. 

The Spiderman-Palestine Connection!

As soon as he’s done saving New York, perhaps Spiderman can take his act to Palestine, where his uncanny ability to scale high walls will be welcomed by those imprisoned by the concrete barrier walls that enclose Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. After all, Spiderman’s connection to the Middle East is pretty close, considering that Palestinian-born cult-animator Ralph Bakshi, was executive producer of the animated Spiderman series in the late ’60s. Bakshi’s other claims to fame include animating America’s first X-rated animated film Fritz the Cat, directing The Rolling Stone’s video “The Harlem Shuffle,” and inspiring the Comic Book Guy character on the Simpsons

Review: "Death in Gaza"

The 77-minute HBO/Channel 4 production Death in Gaza is a story about the last moments of the life of award-winning British cameraman James Miller, 1968-2003. Miller travelled to the occupied Palestinian territories to make a film on children and was fatally shot by an Israeli soldier when filming in Rafah. The film’s commentator, Saira Shah, is an award-winning journalist of Afghan-Scottish decent. Miller and Shah had collaborated on other award-winning documentaries such as Beneath the Veil and Unholy War (Channel 4 / CNN), both filmed in Afghanistan. 

Palestinian-American stand-up comedians Maysoon Zayid and Dean Obeidallah to perform at refugee benefit in Beirut

Lebanese Families in Solidarity with Palestinian Families with the cooperation of the Palestinian Cultural Club at AUB invites you to a night of stand up comedy featuring Maysoon Zayid and Dean Obeidallah. The two Arab-American stand up comedians will be performing for the first time in Beirut in support of the “family to family program” which supports 130 Palestinian families under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. Proceeds from this event will go to benefit the displaced families in Rafah, whose homes have been destroyed.