An inspirational video on the Water for Gaza campaign of the MAIA Mural Brigade Please help us spread the word

The right to clean water is universal! US based MAIA Mural Brigade has been invited back to occupied Palestine’s Gaza Strip to create an international, multi-media mural project about the universal right to clean water!

Check out our Indiegogo campaign page for more information about this project and how you can be a part of it! Please share widely!…

Nigel Kennedy plays ‘Spring’ from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons with Palestine Strings and Members of the Orchestra of Life

BBC Proms 2013 from the Royal Albert Hall, London.

Nigel Kennedy plays ‘Spring’ from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons with Palestine Strings and Members of the Orchestra of Life as part of Prom 34.

This concert was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, scheduled for broadcast on BBC Four 7.30pm on 23 August 2013 and is available on-demand for seven days after broadcast. Radio 3 is streamed in HD sound online.

Also see on Mondoweiss Video: Stunning performance by young Palestinian violinist at Royal Albert Hall

Video: Against The Tide ضد التيار

Video: Palestinian Artist Shows Human Side of Struggle

Renowned Palestinian artist Monther Jawabreh exhibited his latest paintings in Al-Mahatta art gallery in Ramallah.

A voice from Palestine in Europe: Istanbouli Theater starts its 2013 European Tour

Occupied Palestine | فلسطين


August 3, 2013

A voice from Palestine in Europe:  Istanbouli Theater starts its 2013 European Tour in Spain and Portugal”All human beings have the right to Human Rights, without exception.

Dehumanization, thinking about other people in terms of stereotypes or numbers, might let you think that human beings that are different from us are not subject to the same rights that we have. My theater wants to humanize” the others”, to incarnate them, therefore I have always been interested in showing my work in different countries.”

Kassem Istanbouli, a Lebanese artist with a Palestinian origin, has an extensive theatrical production focused on giving voice to the stories of survivors, almost always in a black comedy mode, bringing a smile to our faces while the tragedy lies underneath. As an actor and theater director Istanbouli has performed the following works, shown in different countries: Picnic in the flede, (Fernando Arrabal) on…

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Official Music Video | “Free Palestine” by Brother D (@BrotherDUK) ft MB and Deena

Occupied Palestine | فلسطين

Published on Jul 1, 2013

For bookings please contact
Follow @BrotherDUK

Still live in fairy-tale-land about Israel? Time to wake up: The Map of the “Greater Israel” even is hammered on the currency:

All facts at Storify continuously updated. Read what Israeli ‘leaders’ have said and done even before (peace) talks and how their actions contradict the reality and ugly facts which they try to hide from you:

You can forget all details. Save yourself time. It is only about Ethnic Cleansingof Palestine

Israel. Not looking for Peace. Nor Talks. But this…

The facts. Mainly Israeli sources. Continuously updated

View original post

Against the tide

I will not be polarized

I will not be factionized



Colonized…and fragmented

Like a heartbroken nation

I will not be moved by hatred

Or blindly pick a side

And hide

Behind a well crafted slogan

I will not place my trust

In demagogy

I will embrace ideas

Not ideology

An enemy of my enemy

When a tyrant

Is MY enemy

Choosing the best of two evils

Is choosing evil

I will not fall for this game

Of demonizing an entire people

I will not delight when pain is inflicted

On another

I will not close my eyes

To inhumanity

I will defend my enemy’s rights

Because freedom

Is not a commodity

To be had by some

And denied to others

I will not delight

In the suffering

Even of those

Who oppressed me

More importantly

I will trust

My maternal instinct

What passed through my womb

Though precious…is not distinct

A beautiful human baby

Of flesh and blood

No different from that

Born by the ‘other’

There is no ‘us’ and ‘them’

Every death will be mourned

By a grieving mother

Her tears

More powerful

Than any flag

I will not be polarized

A message to the Israeli Occupation Forces who fear Palestinian Children

According to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, a 5-year-old Palestinian boy was detained by seven Israeli soldiers after throwing a stone on July 9th 2013. It is estimated that Israeli authorities arrest 700 Palestinian children every year.


In the army uniform

Rifle in hand

And finger on the trigger

Standing on a hill

Dressed to kill

Breathing in the still

Air of the night

Breathing in

Every drop of light

Leaving only darkness

Breathing in

Every open field

Every tree

Every rock

Breathing in

Our space

Consuming us

And consuming all that surrounds us

You inhale our land

Our freedom

And exhale only oppression

You breathe out insecurity

And fear

Spew toxic words

Your lies

Pollute the atmosphere

Suffocating us

With tyranny

But nothing here

Nothing here



Can save you

Nothing can assure you

Or put your mind at ease


No armor

No guns

No bombs

Can protect you

From our existence

Nothing you do

Can match

Our resistance

The cries of our babies

Are fierce

To your colonial ears

The cries of our babies

Are fierce

They penetrate you

And pierce

Through your armour

Dissolving it

Like white phosphorous


In the army uniform

Inside your tank

Wrapped in steel

Why do you fear

Walking amongst us

Our streets are filled with children

Does that terrorize you

You shoot one

Maim another

Arrest a few

But deep down you know

They will out live you

Out grow you

Out survive you

Their anger will explode

Inside you

So put down your guns

And take your drones out of our sky

Let our children paint it

Pastel blue

With a smiling sun

And a colourful rainbow

EI: Palestine portrayed as plastic state in new art show

The title I Exist (in some way) — an exhibition in Liverpool — came from Syrian photographer Issa Touma, who has also said “they cannot cancel me, so they need to accept me.” Looking at the images in this show, however, one can’t help feeling that it is a record of constraints — and, admittedly, of attempts to overcome them — rather than of freedom.

To illustrate: one of the most celebrated artists in the show is the Palestinian Larissa Sansour. Her contributions come from the Nation Estate series of works, which conceive of a futuristic Palestinian state existing not in historical Palestine, or even in the West Bank and Gaza, but confined to a high-rise building.

One image shows her sitting in the sterile lobby of this imaginary edifice, a directory of the building lists the floors: “-1. Dead Sea; 0. Main Lobby; 1. Souq; 2. Permits and Passports; 3. Heritage Museum; 4. Jerusalem.” The remaining ten floors represent the main cities of the West Bank and Gaza. It is striking that one has to pass through shops, bureaucracies and tidily-assembled “heritage” in a museum before being able to reach the real spaces in which people live and work.

Link to full article here 

Palestinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan and Canadian poet David McFadden win 2013 Griffin Poetry Prize

Digital Journal


Thursday night at Corus Quay, along Toronto’s waterfront, the winners of the 2013 Griffin Poetry Prize were announced during the annual awards ceremony.

Canadian poet David McFadden won for “What’s The Score?” and Palestinian Ghassan Zaqtan won the International Prize for his “Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me.”

The winners of the Griffin Prize, founded in 2000 by businessman Scott Griffin, each were awarded $65,000. The prize is for first edition books of poetry and are submitted globally.

Read more:


Artspace London announces upcoming show ‘From Palestine With Hope’ featuring works by Jeffar Khaldi and Tarek Al‐Ghoussein

June 12, 2013

Wall Street International Magazine

From Palestine With Hope

Jeffar Khaldi, Me Laden and My Middle, 2010-2013, 106cm x 135cm, Oil on Canvas

Artspace London is thrilled to announce the upcoming show, From Palestine With Hope, featuring works by Jeffar Khaldi and Tarek Al‐Ghoussein. From Palestine With Hope will challenge the viewers’ perceptions of the human costin Palestine, as well as their attitudes towards the reality of the consequences of conflict. Artspace London believes that art can nurture hope and peace and this wish for Palestine is strongly seen through the works of Khaldi and Al‐Ghoussein.

Both artists have different styles, yet the major theme of a never‐ending belief in a Palestinian homeland is striking in both their works. From Palestine With Hope comes at a time when many Palestinians are looking to the future for a life free from aggression, occupation, and conflict.

20% of the sales proceeds from From Palestine with Hope will be directly donated to Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). Established in the aftermath of the 1982 massacre of Palestinian civilians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon, MAP works towards re‐establishing the health and dignity of Palestinians living under occupation and as refugees. MAP is an international, non‐governmental, independent, non‐ political, non‐religious organization. It is with great honour that Artspace London is collaborating on this exhibition with MAP.

Palestinian artist Jeffar Khaldi (b. 1964) was born and raised in Lebanon. Before moving to Dubai in 1995, he studied architecture and interior design in the United States. In his works, Khaldi draws upon his multi‐cultural and diverse upbringing and merges his own experiences and memories with those of the Palestinian people. However, Khaldi is adamant that his work is by no means meant to be political nor does he want to force his opinion onto the viewer – he is more concerned about leading the viewers to draw their own conclusions through the political, social and contemporary images that he uses.

“I am not a political artist but I believe that art must have depth and meaning and should make people think. This work is not just about me and the history of my homeland. It is about making people aware of the past so that we can learn from it and not allow anybody to take advantage of our ignorance.”

With his theatrical use of wit, intelligence, emotion and pop culture imagery, Khaldi’s works successfully questions various notions that are commonly accepted or refuted – depending on the viewer’s own beliefs.

Tarek Al‐Ghoussein (b. 1962) was born in Kuwaitto Palestinian/Kuwaiti parents. Al‐Ghoussein moved to the USA for his BFA in Photography at New York University, and continued his studies with an MA in Photography at theUniversity of New Mexico. Al‐Ghoussein’s early experiences as a photo journalist has affected how he confronts his artistic output and, currently working as a professor of photography, has placed his conceptual and forward‐thinking compositions ahead of many Arab photographers working today.

In the last 15 years while living in the United Arab Emirates, Al‐Ghoussein has witnessed tremendous change that has challenged his understanding of what is meant by the term identity. “Since 2003 I have explored various aspects of “identity” through my work as a photographer. The rapid transformation of the UAE has been a catalyst and starting point for an investigation into issues related to my own personal relation to land and place.”

From Palestine With Hope will present paintings, photography, and mixed media works in a manner to provide a beacon of hope and reassurance that contemporary Palestinian art and charity has a place in the hearts and minds of viewers, collectors and enthusiasts.

7 Milner Street
London SW3 2QA United Kingdom
Ph. +44 (0)20 75895499

Opening hours
Tuesday – Friday from 10am to 6pm
Saturday from 10am to 4pm

This article appeared here



Palestinian singer Mohamad Assaf responds to Israeli occupation army spokesperson Avichay Adraee’s ‘lies’

Palestinian singer Mohamad Assaf, a finalist in the Arab Idol TV show has responded to the Israeli occupation army spokesperson Avichay Adraee denying the allegation that he faced pressure to withdraw from the competition by the Hamas government in Gaza. According to Quds news Assaf wrote an angry response on Avichay Adraee’s Facebook page saying he regretted being forced to visit Adraee hateful page which reeked of lies and deception, but he felt he needed to respond.

Assaf wrote that neither him nor his family were threatened or pressured to withdraw and he pointed to how his pictures are hung everywhere in Gaza as proof that the people in Gaza support him. Assaf also responded to Adraee’s comment about him having a ‘brilliant’  voice saying what would really be ‘brilliant’ is if you stop killing our children and stop occupying our land so that our people can enjoy hearing our singing and not the sound of your bombs falling.

Translated from original article in Arabic which appeared at this link

London: Whole in the Wall first UK solo exhibition by Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar

Yareah Magazine: This exciting body of work, which includes a new site-specific participatory installation, will be shown in London from 20 June – 3 August 2013.

Khaled Jarrar. Whole in the Wall. Ayyam Gallery London

Khaled Jarrar, Still image from video ‘Concrete’, 2012

Inspired by everyday events and experiences, Jarrar’s practice incorporates performance, video, photography and sculpture to document his observations on life in an occupied Palestine. The restrictions imposed on him and his fellow citizens have become the catalyst and subject of his occasionally satirical artistic output.
One of the highlights of the exhibition is an installation which will see Jarrar construct an imposing concrete wall extending along the length of the gallery; confronting the viewer immediately upon entering the space. In order to pass through the wall visitors will have to clamber through a hole shaped like Palestine – an allegory for the process endured by people crossing the apartheid wall in the West Bank in order to reach their homes in Palestine.
Alongside this installation, Jarrar will show a series of video works and new and recent concrete sculptures based on sporting paraphernalia: footballs, volleyballs, basketballs and ping pong rackets. These are formed from materials secretly chiseled by the artist from the separation wall. By making reference to the footballs left by the wall by children who use the area as a site for their games, and by repurposing this found material, Jarrar seeks to provoke a dialogue about possession and reclamation.
Other recent projects include Live and Work in Palestine (2011 – present) – an entry stamp Jarrar created for the ‘State of Palestine’, which he then stamped into the passports of tourists entering Ramallah. Designed to encourage a collaboration with his audience, the project enabled them to formally record their visit to a ‘stateless’ place – a symbolic gesture to interrogate the gap between an aspirational state and an actualised one. Jarrar has since performed this action in other countries, including the at the Pompidou in Paris and the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo, as well as the 2012 Berlin Biennale; there Jarrar pointed to ‘Checkpoint Charlie’ as a key source of inspiration for the touring project.
A former captain of the Palestinian Presidential Guard, Jarrar is familiar with bureaucracy, politics, military discipline, and affairs of the state. This previous career informs his artistic practice, and much of his work has focused on the action of breaking free from disciplinary modes of being and subverting existing codes of conduct. Whilst explicitly addressing the ownership of land and displacement of people, Jarrar treads carefully but with authority, and offers a potent alternative account of life in an occupied Palestine.
This article appeared in Yareah Magazine

AlMonitor: Palestinian Cultural Scene Thrives Amid Hardships

Palestinian actors perform in the play “Steal Less, Please” in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Feb. 6, 2013. (photo by ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

By: Lena Odgaard for Al-Monitor Posted on June 7.

In Al-Kasaba Theater in Ramallah, a group of actors were getting ready to go on stage. In the yellow light of lightbulbs framing the mirrors, actresses Amira Habash, Maisa Abd Elhadi and Shaden Kanboura applied makeup, painting their lips bright red and straightening their hair as they prepared to play American high-society girls in the romantic comedy “Holiday.” They laugh as they hear their male counterparts singing and joking in the hall.

“I like this theme because most plays and movies are about the Palestinian cause; there is no variety in the characters we play,” said young Abd Elhadi, who plays Julia Habib, daughter of a rich Palestinian-American businessman who falls in love with an ordinary guy, Jamil Selim, who cares not about money but about enjoying life to its fullest. The spoiled rich girl then has to decide if she is willing to go against her father’s wishes and leave the high-society life to follow love.

The play is originally from the United States and was written in 1928, but the general director of Al-Kasaba Theater, George Ibrahim, altered the characters to be Palestinians to make them easier for the audience to relate to. And though the play isn’t about the Israeli occupation, the play’s themes of love and money are also relevant for Palestinians, as they are for all human beings, said Ibrahim.

“I choose plays that concern society — the next play is about women’s rights. But I thought it was time for a comedy, and maybe next a musical,” said Ibrahim, adding that naturally, politics also dominate the themes of the plays. “You cannot avoid the occupation — it’s controlling us and is present in every part of our daily details. It’s like we are married to it with no way to divorce.”

Ibrahim has run Al-Kasaba Theater first in Jerusalem and later in Ramallah since 1970. And though it’s a struggle to find funding for long-term projects, the theater has survived in a turbulent environment and experiments with many different genres and themes. It is also the only place in the Palestinian territories to offer a three-year degree in drama. But it’s not easy.

According to Ibrahim, people have still not reached a place where they are willing to pay for culture and art. “There’s a lack of this bug I see other places which will drive people to the theater instead of buying cigarettes,” he said, adding that most people just don’t have money because of the current financial crisis in the Palestinian Authority. In many cases, performances like “Holiday” are therefore shown free of charge.

And in spite of the economic and political situations, the Palestinian cultural scene is thriving. Recent numbers from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics show that throughout the past decade the number of theaters has more than doubled, museums have tripled and cultural centers have multiplied seven times from 50 in 2002 to 646 in 2012.

Palestinian Minister of Culture Siham Barghouty attributes the significant rise in cultural venues and activities to the long period of relative calm.

“People want a normal life. Going to the theater or listening to music is part of that — especially among youth,” she told Al-Monitor at her office in Ramallah, adding that during the second intifada in the early 2000s, people couldn’t go out, which killed the cultural scene. But now, 10 years later, the number of people who visit museums or attend lectures, poetry readings or concerts has risen to levels even higher than before the intifada. In Ramallah, colorful posters on every street corner advertise past and upcoming festivals.

According to Bargouty, the Ministry of Culture prioritizes cultural activities in rural areas or cities far from Ramallah where people have fewer opportunities. But she admitted that the ministry doesn’t focus on the Israeli-controlled Area C, which constitutes around 60% of the West Bank, due to Israeli restrictions. She said that even in Jerusalem and in Area B, which is under Israeli security control, they face obstacles if they try to build new venues and risk the military turning an area into a “closed military zone” if they try to arrange a festival.

According to Ibrahim, who has toured the West Bank with a mobile theater showing puppet shows for children, he sees villages in Area C being widely neglected.

“No one goes there. Sometimes I reach a place and there is no electricity and I have had to connect to my car battery,” he said. He sees it as the government’s responsibility to ensure that cultural events also reach these areas.

According to Julien Chiappone-Lucchesi, director of the French Institute in Ramallah, around 80% of major cultural activities happen in Ramallah. He sees the city’s many cafes, coffee shops and political and international institutions fostering an atmosphere of freedom to address even sensitive social and political topics. In his view, this has also lead to an increase in quality with some events, such as the annual Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival, now offering a better program than its counterpart in Tel Aviv. Chiappone-Lucchesi added that while they are more careful when choosing events in the institutes’ Gaza branch, he never censors events in Ramallah. But the flipside of the vast number of cultural opportunities is competition for an audience.

“In a day, you can have up to three or four events and since it’s often a small circle of the bourgeois who attend, they can’t be at the same place,” he told Al-Monitor.

The American-funded “Holiday” has had no problems attracting audiences. On its opening night May 30, a wide international audience crossed the checkpoints from Jerusalem to see the play, which featured English subtitles on a screen above the stage. But the play also tours other cities and arranges for busses to bring people from rural areas.

“For some, it’s the first time they see a play, and you hear them complain that there is alcohol and girls in the play, or it not being about the occupation,” Firas Abu Sabah, one of the actors, told Al-Monitor with a smile.

Lena Odgaard is a Danish journalist reporting from around the Middle East, primarily on Israel and Palestine. On Twitter:  @l_odgaard

This article first appeared here:


Cannes Film Review: ‘Omar’

High hopes for Palestinian 3-D animated film The Scarecrow

The National

AFP May 18, 2013

Filmmakers in Gaza have finished making what is believed to be the first Palestinian animated feature in 3-D, in a bid to show a fresh perspective on life through a child’s eyes. Called The Scarecrow, the 40-minute production tells the story of a 9-year-old orphan named Rima and the scarecrow she was given by her parents who died in a car crash.

One day, the scarecrow – who represents the guardian of Palestinian land – is taken away by an Israeli soldier from the family’s land near the border and Rima sets off with her school friends on a mission to find it.

It is a story which evokes some of the suffering of Palestinian refugees, says the director Khalil Al Mazen. “The world is used to seeing Palestinian children surrounded by death, destruction and war, but this film focuses on their simple dreams,” he said.

“Judgement (on the conflict) is left to the viewer,” says Mazen, who holds a diploma in filmmaking from the Saint Petersburg Academy in Russia and has already made several films and documentaries.

Read more:

Part 2 Audio Samah Sabawi Commemorating the Nakba: a 3CR radio special

Exposing the ethnocentric nature of the state of Israel, the ethnic cleansing and denial of rights to the Palestinians and how we can put a stop to it all.

Palestine Festival of Literature: Ahdaf Soueif at TEDxIIMRanchi

Ahdaf Soueif is the author of the bestseller novel, “The Map of Love” (shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1999 and translated into 28 languages), as well as the well-loved “In the Eye of the Sun” and the collection of short stories, “I Think of You”. Ms Soueif is also a political and cultural commentator. A collection of her essays, Mezzaterra: Fragments from the Common Ground, was published in 2004, as was her translation (from Arabic into English) of Mourid Barghouti’s I Saw Ramallah. She writes regularly for the Guardian in the UK and has a weekly column (in Arabic) in al-Shorouk in Egypt. In 2007, Ms Soueif founded Engaged Events, a UK based charity. Its first project is the Palestine Festival of Literature. Ms Soueif has recently edited Reflections on Islamic Art (BQFP: 2011). Her account of Egyptian events, “Cairo: my City, our Revolution”, was published in January 2012. She is a recipient of the Metropolis Bleu and the Constantin Cavafy Awards (2012) and the first recipient of the Mahmoud Darwish Award (2010).

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Reaching Out to Women Through the Airwaves in Palestine

May 7, 2013 • 11:00 pm

The Yale Globalist


Cruising around Ramallah in June 2010, Yazan Samara, a thirty-two -year-old music and production su­pervisor, was fiddling around with the dials on his radio. “I felt like listening to some other genres of music than the ones that I have on the CDs in my car, which led me to check the local radio stations. Surprised, I heard one of them stand out with the name ‘96 NISAA FM!’” Samara recounted.

NISAA FM’s radio sweeper, the pre-re­corded promotional used by radio sta­tions as a segue between songs and pro­grams, lilted across his radio [in Arabic]:

Wherever you are (female “you’ ’)

We shall talk about you

extensively and in details

So you won’t say

We have forgotten you

We have thought a lot about you

Nisaa means “women” in Arabic, and NISAA FM is the first and only radio station in the Middle East solely dedicated to wom­en’s issues. “It grabbed my attention that we have a women’s radio station in Palestine, which is unique, and from that point I start­ed listening to it,” Samara recalled. A month later, Samara heard that NISAA FM was hir­ing. The US-trained information technol­ogy specialist left his job at the Palestin­ian Broadcasting Corporation and joined a team of what is now six women and three men, plus a number of volunteer string­ers, who compose the staff at NISAA FM.

biel 2

While his gender may make Samara seem an unlikely candidate for a radio station focused on women’s issues, Sa­mara does not view his job in gendered terms—and neither does the station. As Maysoun Gangat, the director of NISAA FM, explained, “we recognize the importance of men as partners for change, rather than enemies or partisans.” As such, the radio station commonly interviews both male and female experts on a given program topic, and the daily segment Eileh (“Fam­ily”) caters to both husbands and wives.

However, the radio station does not gloss over the evident gender disparities in Palestinian society. A 2009 study published by the Gaza-based Palestinian Women’s In­formation and Media Centre found that 67 percent of Palestinian women reported be­ing subjected to verbal violence on a regular basis, 71 percent to psychological violence, 52.4 percent to physical violence, and 14.5 percent to sexual violence. Aware of the hurdles that women face in society, NISAA FM aims to project a discourse of women’s empowerment, rather than victimization.  Gangat believes that by focusing on wom­en’s stories of achievement, female listen­ers will realize their own potential as well: “NISAA FM is all about inspiration and em­powerment. Inspiration is very important in our society. Through [the] airwaves we can share our experience and knowledge, and support women to realize themselves.”

The radio station first began as a web radio station in December 2009 with the support of the Womanity Foundation, a Swiss non-governmental organization that launches women’s empowerment pro­grams around the world. Yann Borgstedt, founder and president of the Womanity Foundation, decided to test the concept in the Palestinian territories after starting a similar radio station for women in Afghani­stan. Through personal contacts, Borgst­edt was introduced to Gangat, then the managing director of RAM radio station, the first English radio station in the region. Funded by a South African businessman, RAM sought to connect Palestinians and Is­raelis on issues that concerned both parties through a neutral language. Having caught the “radio bug” while working there, “I came to NISAA FM with a spirit to create a station [that would] connect Palestinian women together…[and] engage more women in senior positions in media and empower them through media,” Gangat explained.

biel 1

Borgstedt, impressed by Gangat’s ex­perience and entrepreneurial spirit, pro­vided her with the seed money necessary to officially launch NISAA FM in June 2010. Now the radio station can be heard in the central, northern, and southern regions of the West Bank, and can also be streamed online. While most of the listenership comes from the Palestinian territories, there is also significant listenership among European nations, the United States, and Egypt. In 2011 the station ranked as one of the top five most popular sta­tions in the central West Bank, according to Jawal Telecommunications Company.

NISAA FM is markedly non-political and secular in a region commonly characterized as otherwise. As Gangat asserted, “Person­ally, I do not believe that religious beliefs fuel gender inequality. Islam as a religion has called for the equality between men and women… We still see some Christian families in Palestine who are more con­servative than Muslim ones.” Only during the month of Ramadan are issues related to women and Islam tackled extensively.

During the rest of the year, the station runs three live programs that span 7 am to 6 pm on Sundays through Thursdays. The NISAA FM audience is diverse, reaching a blend of listeners based in urban, rural, and refugee camp areas, along with Pales­tinian diaspora communities throughout the world. As such, the programming is equally varied. The morning show, called Qahwah Mazboot (“Coffee Moderately Sweetened”) remains the most popular and commonly utilizes NISAA FM’s volunteer reporters who provide stories from the ru­ral villages. Segments range from Turath, which seeks to unite the Palestinian com­munity by highlighting various aspects of Palestinian culture, to Tamkeen, a daily segment that hosts women from rural and marginalized areas who have started proj­ects through microfinance loans. By noon, the station transitions to heavier issues, such as domestic violence, poverty, and early marriage, targeting the housewives who tend to listen in at this time. The late afternoon show addresses issues related to Muasassat (NGOs), Eileh (family), and Iktisadiyat (economics). Topics include women’s rights in the workforce and how to launch social enterprise endeavors. Listen­ers are even encouraged to call in and ex­plain ideas that they would like to develop.

Despite NISAA FM’s rapid success, the radio station has had to work hard to sus­tain itself. As Gangat explained, “there are 43 radio stations in the West Bank, so you can imagine the competition for the lis­tenership and for the market share…. The economy is donor dependent and very volatile.” In an effort to reach out to even more women and augment their program­ming, NISAA FM has secured grants from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other international organizations operat­ing in the West Bank. Last year, with the additional UNESCO funding, NISAA FM was able to train four community reporters who now work at the station on a volunteer ba­sis. Going forward, NISAA FM would like to hold focus groups with women to discuss their radio content. The station also hopes to extend their daily programming to 7 pm and add a Saturday weekend program.

Gangat was recognized in 2011 by the Palestinian Ministry of Women’s Affairs for helping to place women’s issues on the national agenda. As just one marker of women’s increasing empowerment, the proportion of women in Palestinian uni­versities has been growing, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statis­tics, such that there are now more women than men pursuing post-secondary de­grees. Maysoun wants to see that trend continue, and she believes that radio is the answer: “Radio is a cheap, accessible com­munication medium for all socioeconomic groups; it also has a personal approach, [is] mobile…and reaches remote areas.” Just as education has long been viewed as the “great equalizer,” Maysoun views the radio, and the wisdom that it can bestow, as the new great equalizer for women— whether these women reside in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank or the more urban neighborhoods of Ramallah.

Erin Biel ’13 is a Global Affairs & Ethnicity, Race, and Migration double major in Ezra Stiles College. Contact her at 

 This article appeared at The Yale Globalist

Audio Samah Sabawi Commemorating the Nakba – Exploring themes of exile in Palestinian poetry: a 3CR radio special Part 1