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Palestinian culture

  • In new film, underground Palestinian musicians compose their own identity

    He was denied entry to the U.S. for the premiere of his debut film, a short documentary about Palestine’s underground music scene. But director Sami Alalul seems unfazed. Sami Alalul sounds out every syllable of his Queen's English, ending most sentences with an almost timid lilt. It's a manner of speaking that can seem deferential, but listen more closely, and it becomes clear that Alalul's measured speech masks a more complicated truth. For like many with his "third-culture" upbringing, this 33-year-old filmmaker, born to a Palestinian father in the English coastal town of Poole, has spent a lifetime scripting his way, cautiously, between…

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  • The beat goes on: The story of Palestine's national dance

    The Palestinian-Israeli conflict gets more than its share of attention. And yet, listening more attentively to the narrative of the dabke, Palestine’s national dance, gives a new angle to resistance and struggle. By Dana Mills In July 2015 Palestinian activists in London took to the streets to hold a Day of Rage to commemorate the bloodiest day of the Protective Edge, Israel’s 2014 war in Gaza one year earlier. In addition to signs and posters, chants and cries, protesters stormed the British Museum and Barclays Bank in London with a dabke flash mob. In 2012, students at Arizona State University…

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  • Are litmus tests on culture spreading from Israel to Berlin?

    Pro-Israel journalists and politicians in Germany target a Palestinian arts and culture festival, its curators and the venue hosting it. By Inna Michaeli A celebration of Palestinian arts and culture in the city of Berlin has sent a few German journalists and local politicians over the edge. “After the Last Sky,” a first-of-its-kind interdisciplinary and international festival of contemporary Palestinian artists. Over the course of September and October, the festival sought to “transgress the boundaries of Palestinian life and identity,” and to do so through theater, cinema, performance, literature, spoken word, music, dance, visual art, panel discussions, and more. [tmwinpost] In…

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  • Palestinian culture is flourishing — thanks to Miri Regev

    Each attempt to silence Palestinian artists only makes our voices grow louder. It's time to admit that Miri Regev is the best thing to happen to Palestinian culture since Israel's founding. Period. I generally do not tend to write about the Mizrahi struggle and what kind of effect Regev is having on it. But in my eyes she is undoing the hard work of Mizrahi activists and functioning mostly as Netanyahu's emissary, who uses her to spread hatred and fear in the backyards of Israeli society, where the Mizrahi struggle began. Regev does the job well — she removes the burden of…

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  • The minister of culture who knows nothing about democracy

    Long before she walked out on a performance honoring Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, Israel's Culture Minister Miri Regev was using hateful, divide-and-conquer rhetoric against the country's minority groups.  Miri Regev, Israel's Minister of Culture and Sport, caused an uproar at last week's Ophir Awards, the annual red carpet ceremony for the Israeli film industry. First she ostentatiously walked out of the auditorium to protest the performance of a cover version of Palestinian national poet Mahmoud Darwish's most famous poem, "Identity Card." Then she returned, only to give a speech in which she claimed Darwish's poem includes a line about eating the flesh of the Jewish nation. To…

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  • Palestinians have no role to play in Israel's film academy

    Out of the 982 members of the Israeli Academy of Film and Television, there is not a single Palestinian. I leave my gear with the rest of the production team and go downstairs to take a walk around the village. At the village center I find a bit of shade overlooking the local pub. While sitting and rolling a cigarette, I notice a woman walking by with a garbage bag. "A local," I think to myself, and decide to rid myself of the boredom that has come to be mixed with depression. [tmwinpost] "Excuse me," I turn to her as…

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  • The Palestinian-Israeli singer challenging everyone's misconceptions

    Call her a traitor, call her a normalizer — Palestinian-Israeli singer Amal Murkus has heard it all. Now as she gets ready to release her brilliant new album, the avowed Marxist and feminist is speaking out against the racism of the Israeli mainstream as well as Palestinian attempts to silence her. When I came home after my interview with Amal Murkus in a Jerusalem cafe, I turned off the engine and remained in my car with my eyes closed for an hour until the sounds of her new album "Fatah al-Ward" ("The Roses Bloomed") came to an end. [tmwinpost] This…

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  • How a Galilee Palestinian beat the odds to become an Arab Idol finalist

    On his way to the finale of one of the most important shows in the Arab world, Haitham Khalailah had to deal with the Shin Bet, restrictions on the movement of Palestinian citizens and the fraught connection between Palestinians in Israel and the rest of the Middle East. Will he be the second Palestinian in a row to be crowned winner? By Yael Marom and Henriette Chacar Haitham Khalailah, a 24-year-old Palestinian singer from Majd al-Krum, competed Friday night in the finale of Arab Idol - the most popular singing competition in the entire Arab world. Hundreds of millions of viewers…

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  • Art and Culture goes Underground in East Jerusalem

    Israeli restrictions on cultural performances in East Jerusalem have pushed Palestinian artists underground. It is no secret that East Jerusalem has suffered from some of the worst crimes of Israeli occupation and that life for its Palestinian residents is an everyday struggle. Colonization, home demolitions, discriminatory legislation, residency revocation, are just a few of the cruel and unjust practices that Israel employs to shift the demographic balance of the city by forcing its Arabs out. Therefore, it came as little shock to me when I asked organizers of the three-day Al-Quds Underground Festival—which came to an end on Saturday—what their…

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  • Jenin’s Freedom Theatre premieres Waiting for Godot

    Ramallah--During the first act of Samuel Beckett’s 1952 tragicomedy Waiting for Godot, one of the play’s protagonists, Estragon, turns to the other, Vladimir, and blankly notes to the audience, “Nothing to be done.”  Vladimir returns, “I’m beginning to come round to the opinion.” Jenin’s Freedom Theatre Company, whose spirited performance of Beckett’s seminal work opened this weekend at Ramallah’s National Theatre, has been anything but resigned to giving up on a theatre project which has garnered a boast of international attention since the murder of its creative director Juliano Mer Khamis last April. One can't think of a better suited…

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  • TEDx Ramallah reminds us of creation under occupation

    Walking into the sleek Bethlehem convention centre last Saturday morning to a crowd full of young people on smartphones and MacBook computers, I forgot that I was in Palestine. But it only lasted for a moment as my eye caught a glimpse of a massive Israeli settlement perched quietly on the hilltop above the centre and visible through the windows of the reception area. Ignoring the settlement as one ignores any random building, people around me were buzzing as the very first TEDx event held under military occupation was set to begin. Despite living under military occupation, Palestinian culture is…

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