Wednesday, August 10, 2011

And from a place that knows true hardship and oppression...

Receiving a message of concern about the UK riots from friends in the West Bank is frankly rather embarrassing. When you've seen how people there maintain dignity, education and patience in the face of absolute oppression and poverty, any 'grievances' experienced here seem worse than pathetic. Looting and destruction for designer trainers? Gimme a break.

And the role of music? Immeasurable. Here is Razmi from Al Kamandjati, whom you'll remember from my posts back in June. Ramzi started off throwing stones in the 1987 intifada as a small child; a photograph of him became a symbol of the entire era. Then he learned music. He studied viola in France. Now he runs a music school, Al Kamandjati, in Ramallah. "I want to change children's dreams," he says. "When you show children art, their eyes open wide." This clip is from Swiss TV and the subtitles are in French.

Here are a couple of pictures from our own tour of the West Bank last year.

See what a bit of violin playing can do for the kids? This was the youth centre in the West Bank village of Al Sawiya. And that's Tom with the fiddle.

A superb oud player in the village, and behind him his teenage son, Issa - who longed for music lessons. Just look at his face as he listens to his father play. We understand Issa is now learning the oud himself.

Been here. Seen this. Until you do, you can't believe it - especially not if you come from the background that I have. But this is real.