Art, Music & Culture

Film review: Jihad!

Boldly using one of the most misused words in the U.S. press as its title, a word that strikes at the greatest anxiety of Americans towards Islam, the new feature film Jihad! informs its viewers that what the word is really about is zeal and struggle. Following Ed, a young Palestinian New Yorker who struggles between his homeland’s tradition and the American lifestyle, the film stresses that the most important jihad is the struggle within oneself. Read the review of Palestinian-American Muhammed Rum’s film, to be premiered at the Chicago Palestine Film Festival this week. 

Film review: Ford Transit

“Staying in one place is killing me,” says Rajai, the charismatic West Bank refugee who serves as the center of the Palestinian feature film Ford Transit. Although this comment was made while explaining his unorthodox career choice of being a taxi driver, Rajai’s attitude can be applied on a larger level to describe the feeling of a generation of refugees who live under the thumb of Israeli occupation. Read the rest of the review of this excellent new film by acclaimed Palestinian director Hany Abu Asad. 

Madonna pushes her fears over the borderline, cancels Israeli concerts

Citing security concerns, the Queen of Pop last week abruptly canceled an eagerly awaited series of concerts set for this September in Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest city, which would have included a televised concert on September 11. It is reported that Madonna’s “Re-Invented Tour” will include video footage of a Palestinian boy and an Israeli boy walking arm in arm. The last time Madonna played in Israel was on 4 October 1993 at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park. Read Victor Kattan’s commentary on the irrationality of Madonna’s fears, and why more celebrities should perform in the Palestinian territories. 

Architecture event: One Land, Two Systems - Beyond the division lines in Israeli spatial planning

On Sunday, June 6, 2004 at 4.00 p.m., at De Balie Amsterdam, an architecture design competition for an alternative plan for one of the so-called ‘unrecognized’ Arab villages in Israel will be kicked-off. The competition is part of One Land, Two Systems, a project that renders visible how spatial planning is used as a political instrument in Israel. The project One Land, Two Systems brings together architects, planners, photographers, lawyers, writers, human rights activists to design and show alternatives and to bring these into the publice debate. 

"oh rafah, aching rafah" - A poem from the journal of Rachel Corrie

oh rafah. aching rafah. aching of refugees aching of tumbled houses bicycles severed from tank-warped tires and aching of bullet riddled homes all homes worm-eaten by bullets and then impregnated through bullet holes by birds. Read the journal entry of peace activist Rachel Corrie, who was living in Rafah when she was crushed to death by an Israeli-operated bulldozer while defending one of the many homes that have been destroyed by the Israeli military in Rafah. 

Pictures of war: Conflicts and dates may change, but the imagery and inhumanity stay the same

When I saw the images of Iraqi prisoners being humiliated by U.S. troops in Abu Ghraib, I felt as though I had already visually experienced it in the visceral work of American artist Leon Golub. Similar to what I sensed when first seeing the now infamous Abu Ghraib photographs, the even more recent images of house demolitions and death in Rafah incited an all too familiar feeling of dread — the feeling that we have seen this all before, and how horrible are we for letting it happen again. 

Daniel Barenboim's statement at the Knesset upon receiving the Wolf Prize, May 9, 2004

“I am asking today with deep sorrow: Can we, despite all our achievements, ignore the intolerable gap between what the Declaration of Independence promised and what was fulfilled, the gap between the idea and the realities of Israel? Does the condition of occupation and domination over another people fit the Declaration of Independence? Is there any sense in the independence of one at the expense of the fundamental rights of the other?” In this speech to the Knesset upon receiving the Wolf Prize delivered May 9, world-renowned musician and conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Daniel Barenboim asked difficult, but necessary questions. 

Al-Haq: World must stop destruction of cultural heritage in OPT

On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property During Times of War and its Protocol, Al-Haq calls on the international community to uphold their obligations to ensure the protection of cultural heritage in the occupied Palestinian territories. The last two years have seen a grave escalation in damage to cultural heritage in the OPT and the scale of destruction has been unprecedented.  During April 2002, Israeli occupying forces destroyed large sections of the historic Old City of Nablus as well as parts of Bethlehem and Hebron during “Operation Defensive Shield.” 

3rd annual Chicago Palestine Film Festival, June 4-20

The third annual Chicago Palestine Film Festival begins Friday, June 4, at the Gene Siskel Film Center. The festival moves to the Southwest Youth Collaborative on June 18. The selections this year include 20 films by Palestinian, Israeli, American and European filmmakers. This powerful program of features, documentaries, and shorts will be shown in English or Arabic, Hebrew, German or French with English subtitles. The festival selections feature numerous North American premieres and one world premiere film. 

Support EI during May 2004 and win great prizes!

Throughout the month of May, the Electronic Intifada will be automatically entering the names of all readers who donate to our work in a sweepstakes to win “Return 2,” an original acrylic on paper artwork by Palestinian artist Zahi Khamis. Twenty runners-up will receive EI T-shirts. The sweepstakes period is from 1 May to 31 May, 2004. The sweepstakes is open to people who live in the United States and other countries. This sweepstakes offer is void where prohibited by law.