Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Music and Art Thrive in Palestine

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Music and Art Thrive in Palestine

Article excerpt

DESPITE THE distressing events taking place in Gaza, music, art, and culture are alive and thriving in the occupied territories, and Palestinians recently enjoyed summer festivals and music camps. The Jerusalem Festival came at a critical time, as numerous challenges-cultural, educational, political, social and economic-increasingly affect the daily lives of Palestinians. "Keeping Jerusalem Alive" was the theme for this year's festival, organized by Yabous Productions, which ran from July 19-27 at the Tombs of the Kings archeological site.

The closing night performance included a lovely combination performance by "Maqamat" (oriental music ensemble) and "Awj" (the chorus) from the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music. The audience cheered and clapped for three encores.

Yabous director Rania Elias expressed thanks to all the sponsors and supporters, and added a special thanks to the French Consulate for facilitating the use of the French-owned archeological site. She also thanked the committed staff and volunteers who helped the festival succeed, and assured the audience that it is through music that Palestinians can express their yearning for freedom and liberation.

This year's festival commemorated 40 years of displacement, oppression, and occupation. Plans are under way to hold a special Arab cultural event in Jerusalem in 2009, at which Jerusalem will be presented as the capital of Arab culture. …

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