An event was held in Amsterdam at Argan Youth Centre on May 12th, in commemoration of the 64th year of the Zionist Nakba against the Palestinian people.
The event was organized by the Musical Intifada’s central committee in cooperation with Argan, and featured a unique line-up of speakers and performers. Overall, approximately 90 people were present, and helped create a memorable atmosphere that marked a unique pro-Palestine event on Dutch soil. The speakers were introduced in a both entertaining and appropriate way by Umar Mirza, editor in chief of the Dutch website ‘Wijblijvenhier’.
Main guest star at the event was Palestinian speaker Abbas Hamideh from the United States of America, representative of the Right of Return Coalition Al Awda, the largest Palestinian grassroots organization in the USA dedicated to championing the Right of Return of the Palestinian people to their homeland.
In a moving and empowering speech that contained references to his personal life story, being a descendant of survivors of the infamous Deir Yassin massacre in 1948 by Jewish terrorist organizations, he stressed that despite 64 years of Nakba, the resilience and determination of the Palestinians to reclaim their rights remains strong and undiminished today. Read his personal account of his participation at the event at his blog, or read his entire speech here. There is even a translation of his speech in Dutch which you can find published at the Dutch website Wijblijvenhier.
Tariq Shadid (aka Doc Jazz), former media spokesman for the board of the Palestinian Community in the Netherlands (PGN), who flew in from his residence in the Middle East for this event, stressed the importance of anti-normalization as one of the main strategies in countering the ongoing campaign of Zionist propaganda and demagoguery.
Marijke Merel, who leads a project in defense of Palestinian children in Israeli detention named ‘Talliq’, drew attention to the plight of these vulnerable individuals who are often detained without proper charges or trials, and are often subjected to torture and humiliation.
Wim Lankamp, chairman of the oldest pro-Palestine group in the Netherlands, the Dutch Palestine Committee (NPK), held a speech that provided an excellent overview of the current state of the struggle for Palestinian rights.
Two Dutch citizens of Moroccan origin were interviewed on stage about their experiences in traveling to Palestine. One of them, a young lady called Hanane, was denied entry, harassed by Israeli customs, and thrown into a prison cell for one night before being sent back to Amsterdam on the next plane, for no reason whatsoever. The other, Dutch filmmaker and columnist Abdelkarim el Fassi, who had travelled to Palestine to make a documentary about Tariq Shadid’s participation in the Palestinian TV talent show ‘Ghaneeha’ as a member of the jury panel for the auditions, shared his feelings and thoughts about his first encounter with the Israeli occupation.
After these interesting accounts and speeches, the musical part of the event was initiated by acclaimed Palestinian Oud player, singer and musician Zaid Tayem, who also happens to be a relative of the famous cartoonist Naji Al Ali – the man who created the iconic cartoon ‘Handala’ – as well as being the nephew of the legendary Palestinian folk singer Abu Arab. His authentic Palestinian sound went down very well with the audience and invited people to hit the floor with the uplifting moves of the Palestinian dabkeh. You can see a video of his performance here.
Unfortunately, due to time limitations, the band of Dutch singer Sadie Jayne did not get a chance to have her performing her own songs. However, her band had been prepared in a one-time rehearsal to accompany Doc Jazz in the songs of his repertoire. Although the time limitations meant that Doc Jazz ended up playing less than half of the songs he was scheduled to sing, the strong messages of the songs that were played were well understood and received by the audiences. One of the tunes was performed live on stage for the first time ever, namely Free Jerusalem.
Overall, organizers and Musical Intifada committee members Rachid Eznaden, Sadika Arab and Imane Mahi were satisfied with the event. At the same time, the ambitious nature of the project means that they are determined to organize more similar events and hope to continue to attract larger and larger audiences, thus helping to keep the Palestinian struggle alive not only in words of sympathy, but in empowering action.
Do not hesitate to contact the Musical Intifada website to bring a similar event to the place where you live. The Musical Intifada is always ready to come and deliver an empowering message of Palestinian resilience, determination and struggle, anywhere in the world.
Doc Jazz – the Musical Intifada
Official website: http://www.docjazz.com