Filed under: Always in my mind!, LinzLines, Palestinian Linz | Tags: Ayman Shrawna, Dignity, Freedom, human-rights, Hunger Strike, Israel, Occupation, Palestine, Poetry, Samir Issawi, Terror
For Samir Issawi and all the Palestinian prisoners…
Skin striping the bones
to cover your nakedness
Water runs through throat
to save your hidden face, your shamelessness
Rub salt on this wound
to clean the stitches of weakness
Tailored dignity made from this
tattered brown clad
Iron chains only pin these hands
show the metal of this man
Rid yourselves from these flimsy rods
redeem the anguish of a mother sobs
reclaim the freedom of a land robbed
rewrite your history
on the prison walls,
Defeat your enemy
Edward Said (November 1, 1935 Jerusalem September 25, 2003) is a Palestinian American intellectual, writer, and my inspiration. I came across this interview conducted in 2000 in which he talks about many important issues including Palestine, Israel, and the conflict. I was thinking of writing about the interview highlights, but all of the video is worth to watch and reflect on.
What I really admire about Edward Said is that he kept writing till his last breath. The interview doesn’t just tackle Palestine, but also some personal insights on his sickness and how he coped with it. The reason I keep delving into Edward Said’s writings and interviews is that I always find inspiration and motivation in them.
If you want to learn more about Palestine and its history then it’s one right source!
Filed under: Always in my mind!, LinzLines, Palestinian Linz | Tags: Darkness, Freedom, Justice, Oppression, Palestine, Redemption, Syria
I don’t know what to write to introduce my new poem. All I can say it that it’s an accumulation.
Infinite darkness possesses the horizon,
As death falls like a hammer from the sky
to fix the nails in their coffins
Bones are pulverized, the powder
flies away by the wind carrying the mortal coils,
No flowers are growing between the shrouds of snow,
the blood is running fresh in the veins of the soil.
Time isn’t redeemed yet,
life isn’t redeemed yet,
No remedy for the unborn, the born, and dead, yet
It’s forgotten, wiped out, it’s sinking,
shut your eyes, plug your ears,
the volume of death is getting too high
death has no shame showing his crimes.
the quagmire is winding,
no end is coming,
In the shade of barren hope,
how come they see the light?
Let me join you and see the light,
Let it burn my sight to only what fear blinds
I want to see the light
to keep the fight,
to see life redeem lives,
Filed under: Always in my mind!, LinzLines, Palestinian Linz | Tags: Khader Adnan Freedom Palestine Israel documentary
Khader Adnan is a Palestinian prisoner who has been on a hunger strike for 62 days facing imminent death as Israel is detaining him without charges under what is called “Administrative” detention, which can be renewed indefinitely. Khader is father of two young girls, and the family is expecting their third child.
This man is dying to live a dignified life. He refused to bow for the Israeli occupation and its constant humiliation. It’s shameful that all these solidarity campaigns on the ground in Palestine and online on Facebook and Twitter are still not being heeded. But we should not give up.
The simplest action you can take is to write his family a letter, here
It’s sad that at any given minute we may hear that he passed away leaving orphaned children, widow, and a bereaved family. Learn more on Khader Adnan.
On a separate note, “Jaffa – The Orange’s Clockwork” is a documentary aired on Al-Jazeera English. I thought I should share it, because the historical analysis of the “orange industry” shown in this piece is important to reflect and understand the realities of the conflict.
I won’t prolong the introduction, all I can tell you is that through this excellent film, you’ll learn that:
1-Palestine and Palestinians are not invited.
2-There was a time when PALESTINE was a home of coexistence between Muslims, Christians, and Jews.
3-Once Zionists came into the Palestine to implement their colonial project, which ended up in occupying Palestine and the expulsion of Palestinians, this coexistence died.
4-Zionists propaganda and fact spinning are integral part of the Zionist project. This propaganda is mainly based on racist stereotypes.
Enough said, watch the documentary and see it for yourself:
Being called “invented” inspired me to write this
A story of life
before time was named
before the pen knew its way
to speak pain
a story of an encrypted map
farmed, sailed, grown
by the hands
of the “invented” people
of the stolen land
A story of a lie
after time was born
treading the ashes
of the burnt
a story of life
defying a lie
the lie is drying
the truth is rising
the pen is writing
the story of the exited life
the story of the invented lie.
Filed under: Always in my mind!, Artwork, Linz from Gaza, LinzLines, Palestinian Linz, Real Gaza
The idea of writing about something very personal is haunting me. As a Palestinian, it’s really hard to know where to draw the line between the political and the personal. But, in Palestine, the personal is political and the political is the personal. I’ll keep the political away and dig down into the personal. This blog has been the vent for me to write some simple and humble accounts coming from a very ordinary person living under extraordinary circumstances. I can’t exclude Gaza; Palestine from anything happened-happens and will happen in my life. Simply put, being a woman from Gaza formed the person that I am today. Proudly and luckily, I consider myself born and raised in Gaza though I was actually born in Kuwait and moved to Bolivia before coming to Gaza. I feel like that I discovered my voice between the digits of these electronic pages, so it’s so much like a small note where I write a blend of the heartily minded digests of my life. I feel now that I am getting married, it’s the time to share my story, a life story, a love story, a Palestinian story.
In the past few months, I’ve been living very fast-paced events. I’d be lying if I say that I 100% fathom all of them. But all I know is that they look like everything I hushed to myself in my sleepless dreams but ironically never thought they would happen. But they did happen!
I’m a few days away from reuniting and getting married to the man that I really respect, admire, and love. Our story proves that love knows no borders, no siege, no time, and no occupation. It all started by a tweet debating whether the loud bang that was heard across Gaza was an Israeli bomb or just some thunder.
We started as friends who shared the same interests. We tweeted together as Egyptians were toppling Mubarak in Tahrir square. After a while of chatting online, Mohammed became my best friend. Long chats about Palestine, the world and the future dreams led us to feel that we can build a future together.
Mohammed is Palestinian South African working in Qatar, Allah (SWT) brought us together through , I am listing all the social media tools we used to communicate, Twitter, WordPress, Facebook, and Gtalk, then later on Skype. He left Gaza just a few days before I first knew about him. The last thing I expected in my life is to be engaged and married to A Palestinian South African! Even my parents when I first told them,(yea am a Muslim woman who didn’t have arranged marriage, get over your stereotypes), they were like SOUTH AFRICA?! And I was like “CAN U BELIEVE THAT?!” But love knows no difference between South Africa and Palestine. Actually between South Africa and Palestine there’s the love of freedom and dignity.
April, we were officially engaged. But it was without meeting Mohammed in person. From April to September, our chats were often cut by the electricity outages, bad internet connection, and the Israeli siege on Gaza. Hearing the ghastly stories of Rafah crossing, the continuous closures and the difficulty of going out and in Gaza, made us more determined to meet. But there were times when I used to tell Mohamed: “being engaged to a Palestinian is a pain, isn’t?” “I love you more because you are a Palestinian” that answer was enough for me to stand the days, weeks and months of talking on Skype.
Palestinians don’t have airports, to travel anywhere, so we have to cross a 6 hour trip though Sinai to Cairo then from Cairo’s international airport to the intended destination. So, a trip to South Africa took about 6 hours in car and 8 hours in plane, but the result was totally worth it.
Finally I met my future husband. I enjoyed South Africa for the richness of its history. I just need to mention going to the Apartheid Museum where similarities between the Israeli occupation and the former Apartheid system are striking. I felt like I was home in South Africa. And indeed, now, it’s my second home.
After a 40 day trip between Gaza, Cairo, South Africa, Cairo again, Jordan then Cairo again, I came back home with my parents. Mohammed went back to Qatar. Going back to Gaza was like sending me back to the prison. We both felt the fear of not being able to go out again. But I’m from Gaza-Palestine, and our wedding must be in Palestine, too. Time flew by, very soon I’m uniting with the man that I love in the country that I love, but I’m also a few days away from leaving my family and Gaza. Though I’m moving, I know that no matter where I go, I’ll carry Gaza, Palestine and the struggle along with me. Home is where my heart is. And my heart, mind, and roots will be in the country and the city where I grew up.
As I am starting my new life in Qatar, I’ve been buying Palestinian crafts, Gaza mugs, Palestinian embroidery, Palestinian traditional dress and kufeyiahs. I am moving a part of Palestine that I really cherish into my small house. And I know that I’ll be telling stories about the sea, the war, and the contradictions of life in this part of Palestine.
The goodbye will be difficult. Leaving my family, especially my mum, will be the hardest thing I’ll do in my life. The fact that Gaza is not free makes it difficult to visit it whenever I want. Any trip would take me to cross a desert and withstand the humiliation of Rafah crossing let alone the possibility that it can be closed anytime. So, I’ll live on the hope that I’ll be seeing them again, in sha Allah.
I wrote this post to the man that I want to spend the rest of my life with, to the city that gave me so much, to the family and friends that I will aguishly miss.
I’ll leave you for love not for not loving you.
And as we met through a tweet, some of my friends will be tweeting from our wedding, and maybe Mohammed and I will be able to tweet from inside the wedding hall :D.
You can check my Twitter account :
my friend Amal
For people cut off from the rest of the world from the sea, air, and land, mobile services and internet are virtually the only proxies to communicate with the virtually “outside” world. Yesterday around seven pm, I noticed that the internet was logged on, but there was no connection. The router at my house has its moments where it stops working, so I thought to myself “the thing is having issues again”. I tried to outsmart the little device, so I rebooted it. The problem was not solved. Along with the internet outage, my brother was telling me that signals in his cellphone were down, and indeed I looked at my cellphone it was, too, out of service. Israeli bulldozers cut off Gaza from communicating with the world for almost 16 hours.
At that stage, I didn’t know that Israel was behind the blackout. I thought it was just the usual technical failure. My brother jokingly said: “they’re coming”, meaning Israel is preparing for invading Gaza. Of course, I laughed on his comment thinking I’ve a lot of dishes and pans to wash! After one hour of the blackout, still it did not seem serious. However, after the outage extended to almost 2 hours the cyber dose in my blood started going alarmed. No twitter, no Facebook, no e-mail, no G-talk, no Skype, no Google+ NOT even a cellphone network to get access to those sites. The irksome and unsettling feeling of isolation started creeping to my de-internet body.It is hard to see yourself going backward to the mid-ages, the television-ages. Ironically, the television’s signals were also down. Even watching tv was not available at that moment. And for almost 15 minutes the electricity went off. The circle was full…!
However, when the world is out of reach, something much more valuable, but often neglected is felt again. Without the noise of television and without clicking and typing, a warm laugh-full conversation made me feel how these fast-paced communications are taking away these small moments of family bonding. The internet-outage paranoia was soon alleviated. My only concern was how to tell my fiancé, who lives outside Gaza, that I am fine. It’s just an unknown and sudden internet, mobile, landline, and electricity blackout. And you don’t have to worry.
After a merry time with my family, I went to sleep. I did wake up several times to check whether we were plugged to the world or still living in cyber darkness. After twelve hours, I checked t.v searching for any news about the cut off. The PA owned television, the Palestine channel, referred to the blackout in the news banner.
Around 8 am, I went to work where the first question before “Good morning “was “do you have internet at home??” The answer was No…
However, in a fraction of a second, I saw what electrically shock my sleepy self, and swiftly opened my semi-closed eyes, MOZILAFIRE FOX IS WORKING! IT’S BACK! The internet is back! My heart was tweeting!!
And while I was giving the class, I looked at my once-was signally dead cellphone and then I jubilantly told the students: “It’s back!” the beautiful small dashes signaling that the mobile network is operating again. After 16 hours of disconnection, life is connected again! As I left work, people in streets were checking their cellphones making sure that the network is back. Many were wondering about the causes. Gaza has not experienced a major blackout where mobile networks and internet connection were down since the Israeli assault on Gaza (2008-2009)
The internet is increasingly used by Palestinians to counter the Israeli narrative and also to break, at least, the mental siege. Was Israel testing the cyber world’s response in case of a future major communication blackout? Isn’t enough for Israel to block the sea, the land, and air it blocked the internet and cellphone services, too?
As one friend wrote on Facebook :
The NO list in Gaza:
Electricity : NO
Internet : NO
Cell Phone : NO
I would love to thank everyone who reported that Gaza was drowning in a cyber-darkness.
For Syria, Somalia, and the all oppressed around the world…
Can you see?
through the frail body
the heart of innocence
One breath in…
a soul too feeble
for a breath out…
humanity is a draught
Can you see?
the bodies in the path
lying above the ground
like peace is found
under the coffin of a tank
Can you hear?
The church’s bells
are they gaged?
or ears are deafened?
by the scratching of
hear their calls
from your inside
hear their prayers
beating in your heart…
your humanity will survive
your humanity is alive
Filed under: Always in my mind!, Linz from Gaza, Linz Photography, LinzLines, Palestinian Linz, Real Gaza
In that corner of the Mediterranean Gaza lays…
In the arms of a contained sea
and boundless dreams
Gaza wakes up, Gaza sleeps..
In hope that it will be free
Filed under: Culture & Music, Linz from Gaza, LinzLines | Tags: Coldplay, Cultural Intifada, Dave Randall, Durban Choir, Faithless, gaza, Glen Beck, Music, OneWorld, Palestine, West Bank
“We’re the people, and this is our time, stand up, sing out for Palestine” these are the words of the newly released song by a group of artists under the name of “OneWorld”. Mixing the tunes of the Arabic Oud and darbouka with South African choir sounds, “Freedom for Palestine” is a musical celebration of solidarity with the Palestinians. Live from Gaza spoke with the writer and producer of the single, Dave Randall, to ask him about the project, its prospects and its receptions.
LivefromGaza: How did this project come into being? What motivated you to make the song featuring artists from around the world?
D. Randall: This song is my small attempt to show solidarity with Palestinians. I suppose I became interested in what was going on in Palestine when I first visited Gaza over ten years ago. I was actually on tour with Faithless, the band I’ve been working with. We were playing in Tel Aviv, and I had a day off, and I thought rather going to beach and look around the shops in Tel Aviv, I thought to myself I am going to go to Gaza to see what life is like in Gaza.
I think you see with your own eyes the way life is made so difficult by the Israeli government and army ,and subsequently I went to the West Bank, I’ve been to the West Bank three or four times. When you see how the Israeli occupation affects Palestinians lives, I think you want to do whatever you can to try to change that situation.
In my case, because I am a musician, the best what I could offer is music. I persuaded “Faithless” that they should join the boycott of Israel, and they did join the cultural boycott last year and around that the same time I decided to start working on this song.
The more the song had a feeling of internationalism, which is a political idea that I strongly agree with, the idea that no matter which country you are from; we are all brothers and sisters. I thought more internationalists feeling the song had. The most exciting recording session of all was the one we did in South Arica with the choir, The Durban Gospel choir, because there are a lot of black South Africans and white South Africans who remember the struggle against the racist apartheid in South Africa and feel a desire to help Palestinians with their struggle against apartheid and the activities of the Israeli state; they understand the type of oppression that is going on in Palestine.
LFG: The artists featured in the song come from different parts of the world, how the universality of music can help to raise awareness about the Palestinian cause?
D Randall: when people see that a group of musicians from different parts of the world have decided to get together to make the song, those who don’t know anything about what going on in Palestine will hopefully become interested and hopefully it will encourage them to find out. And those who do know hope they will feel that this is an act of solidarity. So my hope is that the song will give confidence for people to speak up about Palestine, to speak up against the Israeli illegal occupation.
LFG: Artistically speaking, can you explain how all these tunes were brought together?
D Randall: I have always loved the songs which bring different influences together. I had a band of my own called “Slovo” and on the tunes I made I tried to incorporate different influences from around the world. With this song thought it is important that the Arabic musical world was referenced through the darbuka and the oud. I wanted the song to be uplifting to give a sense of hope and optimism and also a sense of defiance rather than just be angry and confrontational. It is the sense of internationalism I referred to earlier, it was great that we were able to get the South African influence in the song as well as the Arabic influence and the London electronic influence. As it is something I love doing musically any way, it is important that different musical worlds coexisted on this song.
LFG: In the awake of the BBC’s censoring the word “Palestine”, how this will affect the song “Freedom for Palestine” in case it hits the UK charts?
D. Randall: One of the reasons why we’re trying to get the songs into the charts is so it is much harder for BBC radio to ignore it, because, of course, what they want to do originally is to ignore it, because they don’t want to upset people who disagree with the song. But if we get it to the charts, they’ll be forced to play it. There is a chart count on the Sunday, and therefore we will know for sure whether they have a policy of censoring the word Palestine, because it is not official policy at the moment. But it did happen with the Mic Righteous track a few weeks ago. At the moment it is harder for us to promote the song, because radio stations tend to avoid playing anything which might be considered politically controversial. But if the BBC do censor this after we secure the chat position, then this will become a huge controversy in itself. So, all the campaign groups here in Britain will challenge the BBC to explain why they cannot say that word Palestine on radio. This will create a dilemma for the BBC. We hope, we’ll completely remove their policy of avoiding the word. We hope this song will help to break the silence.
LFG: the single was endorsed by the rock band Coldplay and called “Evil propaganda” by the TV persona Glenn Beck, what are the reactions you received from ordinary people?
D. Randall: the overwhelming response has been incredibly positive. I have received messages of support from inspirational people like the American writer Alice Walker; she sent us this beautiful endorsement, and I am just about to post on the internet a video endorsement we received from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. So, the vast majority of people have really felt moved and inspired by the song. I feel humbled by the messages of support we received. But some were critical of the song, but that does not really bother me. Of course, there are a small number of very committed Zionists who like to attack people on the internet. There are people who don’t know much about the issue, they get the wrong impression when we talk about Israel and Palestine that we are talking about some sort of intractable conflict between two equals. But the truth is this is one Western backed heavily armed state, Israel, illegally occupying this place. And this song is on the side of justice.
LFG: In your perspective, what role art in general, and music in particular, play in the culture of popular non-violent resistance?
D. Randall: Music can play different role. The priority for me in this song was to build international solidarity with the Palestinians. I encourage the people in UK to take up the call of boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel, the (BDS). The direct non-violent resistance in the West Bank and Gaza is fantastically important. I’m sure there are lots of Palestinian artists and musicians who writing about that. If we raise any money by selling “Freedom for Palestine”, a good percentage of that will go to the “Stop the Wall’ campaign in Palestine.
LFG: What challenges did/do you face during and after making the song?
D. Randall: It takes a lot of time. And I had to spend some of my money on things like renting recording studios and tickets to Durban and so on, but I felt it was like the least thing I could do to send this message of solidarity. For the problems we face after we made the song is that some people in the music industry that don’t understand and do not want to know what is going on will be upset of such explicitly political song. They will be worried about the business interests they have with Israel and so on. It’s no doubt that when you get involved in any political activity, you will upset some people. I am afraid this inevitable.
I am deviating from your question a bit, but the way the people’s revolutions and the revolutionary process which is continuing in Egypt have inspired people in Britain hugely. So people in Britain are going on strikes and demonstrating against their own government. And they are doing this partly because of the fantastic events taking a place in North Africa and the Middle East.
LFG: What’s next for OneWorld, will the project expand to involve more artists?
D. Randall: I hope this track will give confidence to other people who have been nervous about speaking up for Palestine, nervous for the reasons I mentioned. I hope artists in America will record a song with similar message. I hope this will be one contribution to an ongoing cultural Intifada.
LFG: how can the people support this single?
D. Randall: People in UK should certainly buy a copy from I-tunes or HMV Digital. The single will cost 79 pence. For the people of UK this is potentially the best 79 pence you can spend for Palestine, because if we get the song into the charts, it will be a big story here in the UK. But for people in Palestine and other parts of the world, we just need your help to push the song out through your blogs and through the different social networks online. It is one campaign tool among others that together will move towards the end of occupation and the freedom for Palestine.