euronews le mag : Art festival in Ramallah

Published on Nov 15, 2012 by 

http://www.euronews.com/ Qalandiya, the first ever Palestinian Contemporary Art Biennale has been held in Ramallah. One of the most popular displays was a pop art-inspired needlework portrait is of Mohamed Bouazizi, the market stall holder who sparked the beginning of the Arab Spring when he burned himself to death in protest at being rough-handled by the police.

The biennial took its name from one of the most famous symbols of Palestinian separation, the Israeli checkpoint at Qalandiya, which is one of the main crossing points between the West Bank and Israel.

Displaying art installations in hard-to-access Palestinian villages scattered across the West Bank was a gamble, but it worked. People flocked to the Abwein village for a day packed with art and fun.

Using villages as art galleries, and borrowing its name from a crowded refugee camp and Israeli military checkpoint, Qalandiya International was a chance for Palestinian artists of the West Bank, Jerusalem, Israel and Gaza to get together and overcome their politically fragmented world.

Jerusalem artist, Jumana Manna’s short movie was inspired by a 1942 picture of a high society masquerade hosted by Palestinian politician Alfred Roch, a reenactment that has won Manna the festival’s “Young Artist of the Year” award.

For more information see
http://centrefortheaestheticrevolution.blogspot.fr/2012/11/gestures-in-time-a…

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On Babel an interview with Samah Sabawi

Marika Sosnowski  talks with Samah Sabawi  about Gaza, poetry, politics, music, culture, the upcoming play Tales of a City by the Sea plus much more.   http://marikasosnowski.com/2012/11/babel-4-samah-sabawi/

 

“Gaza” from the soon to be released album “Sounds That Can’t Be Made”.

Gaza

When I was young it all seemed like a game
Living here brought no sense of shame
But now I’m older I’ve come to understand
Once we had houses
Once we had land
They rained down bullets on us as our homes collapsed
We lay beneath the rubble terrified

Hoping.. Dare we dream?
We gave up waiting
For us, to dream is still a dream

When I woke up, the house was broken stones
We suddenly had nothing
And nothing’s changed

We live, eight people, in this overcrowded heat
Factory-farmed animals living in our own sweat
Living like this is all my baby brother ever knew
The world does nothing. What can we do?

We will kick the ball
We will skip the rope
We will play outside. Be careful
We will paint and draw. We will say our prayers

Outside the pitiless sun bleaches the broken streets
The darkness drops in the evening like an iron door
The men play cards under torchlight
The women stay inside
Hell can erupt in a moment day or night

You ask for trouble if you stray too close to the wall
My father died ..feeding the birds
Mum goes in front of me to check for soldiers

For every hot-head stone ten come back
For every hot-head stone a hundred come back
For every rocket fired the drones come back

For thirteen years the roads have all been closed
We’re isolated. We’re denied medical supplies
Fuel and work are scarce. They build houses on our farms
The old men weep. The young men take up arms.

We’re packed like chickens in this town of block cement
I get headache from the diesel. When it rains, the sewers too
I had no idea what martyrdom meant
Until my older brother.. my older brother
I’m sorry. I can’t continue.

You sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind, it is said
When people know they have no future
Can we blame them if we cannot tame them?
And when their hopes and dreams are broken
And they feel they might as well be dead
As they go, will we forgive them
If they take us with them?

Stay close
Stay home
Stay calm
Have faith

With the love of our family we can rise above anything
Someday surely someone must help us
With the love of our family we can rise above anything
Someday surely someone must help us
Even now we will go to school
Even now we will dream to dream
Someday surely someone must help us

Nothing’s ever simple – that’s for sure
There are grieving mothers on both sides of the wire
And everyone deserves a chance to feel the future just might be bright
But any way you look at it – whichever point of view
For us to have to live like this
It just aint right
It just aint right
It just aint right

We all want peace and freedom that’s for sure
But peace won’t come from standing on our necks
Everyone deserves a chance to feel the future just might be bright
But any way you look at this – whichever point of view
For us to have to live like this
It just aint right
It just aint right
It just aint right

It’s like a nightmare rose up slouching towards Bethlehem
Like a nightmare rose up from this small strip of land
Slouching towards Bethlehem

It’s like a nightmare rose up from this small strip of land
Slouching towards Bethlehem

Stay close
Stay home
Have faith

I can’t know what twist of history did this to me
It’s like a nightmare

With the love of our family
We can rise above anything
Some day surely someone must help us…

http://marillion.com/music/lyric.htm?id=824

DAM featuring AMAL MURKUS – If I Could Go Back In Time لو أرجع بالزمن

http://www.DAMRAP.com
Translation and Credits
Arabic script: If I Could Go Back In Time
‏Suhel Nafar:
‏Before she was murdered, she wasn’t alive
‏We’ll tell her story backwards from her murder to her birth
‏Her body rises from the grave to the ground
‏The bullet flies out of her forehead and swallowed into the gun
‏The sound of her echo screams, she screams back
‏Tears rise up from her cheeks to her eyes
‏Behind the clouds of smoke, faces of her family appear
‏Without shame, her brother puts the gun in his pocket
‏Her father throws down the shovel and wipes the sweat off his forehead
‏He shakes his head, satisfied from the size of the grave
‏They pull her back to the car, her legs kicking
‏Like a sand storm, she’s erasing her own tracks
‏They throw her in the trunk, she doesn’t know where she is
‏But she knows that three left the house and only two will return
‏They reach the house; throw her to the bed in violence
‏”So you want run away huh?” they wake her with violence

‏Amal Murkus (Chorus)
‏If I could go back in time
‏I would smile
‏Fall in love
‏Sing
‏If I could go back in time
‏I would draw
‏Write
‏Sing

‏Mahmood Jrere:
‏She dreams before falling asleep
‏We’ll tell her story backwards, maybe understand
‏The clock hands move right to left
‏She reconstructs her steps as if she were lost
‏She sleeps prepared, money for the taxi
‏Plane ticket and passport under her pillow
‏Answer: leave the clothes in the closet; she plans to wear a new life
‏Question: what if they ask what the suitcase is for?
‏She went to bed, leaves table
‏Eats well, she must act today
‏Her nose stops bleeding, that’s what they see
‏But it’s a fresh wound; before they will beat her she will beat them
‏Her mom says “your life is like heaven”
‏She’s right, if you taste the forbidden you better know someone is watching
‏Two hours before dinner, the phone hangs up
‏Her mom is shocked “the flight is delayed”
‏Phone rings

‏ Amal Murkus (Chorus)

‏Tamer Nafar:
‏Before she answers, she isn’t even asked
‏The story is like the logic in her life, all backwards
‏Her hands up in the sky, begging for help
‏Their hands up in the sky reciting the Fatiha (ceremony before marriage)
‏The calendar page moves one day back, the time is
‏Afternoon, the argument is over, her brother commands her
‏Blood flows from her lips to her nose
‏A sound of a fist, his hand jumps from her face
‏It’s the first time in her life that she says “NO!”
‏Her mom announces happily “tomorrow you will marry your cousin”
‏If I look through the album of her life
‏I won’t see a photo of her standing up for her rights
‏It’s hard, the pages are stuck to my hand
‏Her past full of blood and tears
‏But we promise you, from her murder to her birth
‏Their expressions filled with anger as if someone announced a crime
‏”Congratulations, it’s a girl”
‏The beginning.

Arabic script:Freedom For My Sisters

Lyrics written by DAM
Music produced & arranged by NABIL NAFAR
Mixed by SAQIB and NABIL NAFAR
Mastered by SAQIB

Directed by JACQUELINE REEM SALLOUM and SUHEL NAFAR
Produced by LAURA HAWA
Assistant Director ELI REZIK
Director of Photography ARI ISSLER
Editor ABDUL JABBAR MAKI
Composting and Visual Effects CONRAD OSTWALD
Colorist SETH RICART
Costume Designer and Stylist NADA NAFAR
Art Director BASHAR HASSUNEH
Production Manager JAMAL KHLAYLEH
Makeup Artist VERED NIVO
Lighting Director ARI ISSLER
Steadicam Operator HAIM ASIAS
Focus Puller GEORGE DABAS
Key Grip MORDI BOAZ
Key Gaffer YANA MITNICK
Production Assistant MANAR YACOUB
Best Boy Gaffer REA’OT GING
Best Boy Grip FADI MATAR
Art Assistant PAULINE CARBONIER
V
Visual Effects Supervisor HASHEM ODEH
Sound Playback JAMIL NAFAR
Catering NADIA NAFAR and MONIRA GOHAR

Cast
Main Girl SAMAA WAKEEM
Brother DORAID LIDAWI
Mom KHAWLA DIBSI
Dad BAHJAT YOUNIS

Chorus scene
YARA ZRIEK
ISIS AZAM
NERIAN KEYWAN

Fateha Readers
BAHA KADURA
ABEDALLAH NAHFAWI
RAMI YOUNIS
SAMI AWADI
WAEL ABU SHAREKH
ABED SHAHADA
MUHAMAD HADDAD

Young girls
ASIL KADURA
CILIN AWADI

Special Thanks
UN WOMEN
JULIEN VAISSIER
FAIEZ NAFAR
MARKO MATKOVIC
MARTIN BJERREGAARD
AdTomic
WALEED ZAITER
SALIM SHEHADEH
SALMA SAMARA
AHMAD KANAAN
AYED FADEL
NINA ZIDANI
ABED HATHOT
BAHAA RASHED
ADI KHALEFA
ADI KRAYEM
ELYAN BASEL
MANAL BASEL
RASSLAN BASEL
ABEER AWADI
RASHA KADURA
CINDY THAI THIEN NGHIA

‘Unto the Breach’: Palestinian dance adaptation of Shakespeare’s play

UK-based Palestinian dabke theatre group Al Zaytouna will present its new production entitled Unto the Breach in London in November 2012.
Interview by Mamoon Alabbasi – LONDON
Article Published: 2012-10-22 Middle East Online

Henry V set in modern-day Palestine

The UK-based Palestinian dabke theatre group Al Zaytouna will present its new production entitled Unto the Breach, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry V set in modern-day Palestine. The show, directed by Ahmed Masoud and co-directed by HadjerNacer, will be performed in London in November 2012. Al Zaytouna board member Souraya Ali gave the following interview ahead of the full production’s debut.

Q– Could you give a brief introduction to the show?

Al Zaytouna Dance Theatre’s new show Unto the Breach is a dance adaptation of Shakespeare’s history play Henry V, set in modern-day Palestine. Paralleling Shakespeare’s account of the young English monarch, King Henry V leading his people in battle against the mighty French army, Unto the Breach tells the story of the Chairman, a Palestinian leader who, moved by his people’s suffering, leads them in a revolution against a more powerful force to free them from oppression.

As in Shakespeare’s original play, a Chorus leads the audience through the show, but here she urges them to imagine “the vast olive groves of Palestine” and “the very gates of Jerusalem” rather than the 15th century battlefields of France, and the scenes she narrates are brought to life not through Shakespearian dialogue, but through traditional Palestinian dabke and contemporary dance against a backdrop of digital media.

Q– Some have interpreted Shakespeare’s Henry V as a play that celebrates patriotism while others have viewed it as exposing the Machiavellian characteristics of a king – shedding light on the horrors of war. How do you understand the original play? And how does your show relate to that?

We don’t see Shakespeare’s play as a straightforwardly patriotic account of King Henry V’s French battles. Whilst the play does depict an extraordinary victory against all odds, it also shows that the motives behind this victory were not all virtuous, and that the means of achieving it were not all noble. For example the two clergymen who put the case for war to the King at the beginning of the play are driven by financial motives, as are various unsavoury characters who join the king’s army because of prospects of plunder. King Henry himself also shows a darker side to his character with a controversial decision to execute defenceless French prisoners during the battle of Agincourt.

Unto the Breach captures something of this ambivalence towards war. On the one hand, it celebrates Palestinians’ efforts to change their circumstances and shape their future through revolution, but on the other it recognises that these efforts have not yet succeeded. Palestinians still live under occupation and are far from achieving the freedom and sovereignty that they have been fighting for. The show also highlights the internal power struggles that have undermined Palestinians’ campaign for freedom, and depicts some of the darker outcomes of such struggles, such as in a scene where the Chairman executes two of his own people to quash a rebellion.

In the original play, the Chorus repeatedly draws the audience’s attention to the inability of the theatre and actors to accurately convey all aspects of the historical tale. Instead, the Chorus resorts to hyperbole and appeals to the audience’s imagination, indicating just how much our understanding of past events is constructed – and embellished – by those who recount them. Shakespeare thus highlights the power of rhetoric and political myth in re-telling military history. Unto the Breach reflects this idea with a scene where the world’s press attend the signing of a peace agreement, and then the journalists file their reports, constructing people’s understanding of this historical event.

Q– You noted that the launch of the show would coincide with the anniversary of Yasser Arafat’s death. In light of recent reports suggesting that the late Palestinian leader may have been assassinated via the radioactive element polonium-210, is there a reference to that incident in your show, since the theme of assassination is present in the original play where Shakespeare’s Henry V survives an attempt on his life (albeit by friends not foes)?

This incident is not addressed in our show.

Q– Although King Henry V, at one point in the original play, comes to the humble realisation that he is but a man; he is nevertheless the person responsible for rallying his men to victory. How does that reconcile with your show, given that: a- Yasser Arafat, who in the director’s words is “the great figurehead of the Palestinian struggle”, has died before managing to lead his people to liberty; and b- The Arab Spring, which you cite as among the inspirations for the show, had been sparked without any outstanding movement leaders?

Whilst the launch of Unto the Breach coincides with the anniversary of Yasser Arafat’s death, and there are parallels between our depiction of the Chairman and that of the late Palestinian leader, the show is not a historical account of his life. It does, however reflect on the value of a figurehead such as Arafat, in uniting people behind a common cause, enabling them to stand up for their rights and to stake their claim for sovereignty on a world stage. The show recognises this value but also acknowledges that the Palestinians have not yet achieved their objectives, and so the Chairman in our production dies without securing the liberty that he craved for his people. The achievement of victory is thus far less clear-cut in Unto the Breach than it is in Shakespeare’s Henry V.

In the show, the Chairman’s death leaves the Palestinians without a leader, and so the onus is on them to once again rise up and claim their rights. The idea that this is possible – that people can bring about change if they unite and call for it with a common voice – flowed strongly from the Arab Spring, and inspired us to create the show. Although we recognise that any such struggle is fraught with difficulties, it is this idea of hope that continues to drive us forwards.

Q– In the original play, future unity between the British and French kingdoms is suggested following the marriage between Henry and the daughter of the French king, Catherine. Monarchies aside, do you see the One-State solution as some sort of a modern day parallel to that?

Whilst Shakespeare’s play ends with King Henry V’s marriage and the expected union of England and France, the historical reality is that Henry V never succeeded to the French throne. He died two years after his marriage and two months before the King of France, and his French conquests were lost over the ensuing years under the reign of his son King Henry VI. Unto the Breach reflects this more sombre reality. In the production the Chairman also dies, and much of what he has fought for is dissipated as conflict and the grip of occupation continue, and his successors are debilitated by internal power struggles. The show has a deliberately ambiguous ending, leaving open the question of how the Palestinian question is to be resolved, and what the nature of the solution might be.

Q-Following a very impressive performance of your show Between the Fleeting Words in 2010, do you expect to outshine such success with Unto the Breach this year? Also, has there been any change in the way you do things or in the group members?

Since Between the Fleeting Words debuted in London in 2010, Al Zaytouna has continued to develop as a troupe. Thanks to the phenomenal support that we received for the last show, we toured it in the UK, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Germany. This experience helped us to hone many performance and production skills, which we believe will make Unto the Breach even better and stronger.

Al Zaytouna has also continued to grow, with new dancers joining us, and many of our members pursuing new artistic endeavours. These have included our artistic director Ahmed Masoud writing a radio play for BBC Radio 4, entitled Escape from Gaza, in collaboration with Justin Butcher, and winning the Muslim Writers Award 2011 in the Unpublished Novel category for his book Gaza Days. Several of our dancers have developed their own dance theatre work, such as Lorraine Smith’s Pictures of Life and new work Disco Babies, whilst others have taken on new performance roles, such as UmutUysal who drummed in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. All of these experiences have enriched the group bringing new expertise and fresh ideas.

We were also fortunate to secure a grant from the BBC Performing Arts Fund to support the development of Unto the Breach, which given us the support and profile to take this show to the next level. We have been able to invest more in the show’s development and to reach out to new partners and collaborators. We are, for example, very happy to have professional actress Clare Quinn performing with us in this show, and we have been able to secure a really wonderful performance space at the artsdepot. All of these factors make us confident that Unto the Breach will be even more successful than Between the Fleeting Words.

Q– Again with regards to Between the Fleeting Words, the 2010 show featured a beautiful blend of music genres, projecting a mix that crosses cultural and generational divides. It also included the notable presence of the talented Palestinian artist Nizar Al-Issa. What music variety should we anticipate with Unto the Breach?

Unto the Breach builds on Al Zaytouna’s tradition of working with leading musicians, and features a collaboration with David Randall. David is a guitarist, composer and producer who has contributed to multi-million selling albums by Grammy-winning artist Dido, toured extensively with UK dance act Faithless, and released his own critically acclaimed albums as Slovo. He also wrote and produced the One World single Freedom for Palestine, and has published articles on the role of music in political campaigns and on Palestinian Hip Hop. He is a highly talented musician who is passionately committed to the Palestinian cause and his contribution to this production has been invaluable. David has composed and recorded a number of tracks especially for Unto the Breach, which are woven together with traditional Palestinian songs to create a powerful and moving sound track.

For information on booking, visit: http://www.alzaytouna.org/productions/unto-the-breach

This article appeared in Middle East Online http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=55048