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The double standards: Islam El Shehaby vs The World


Islam El Shehaby (photo/Islam Elshehaby)

Islam El Shehaby (photo/Islam Elshehaby)

  1. FB_IMG_1471408916838

    Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby was 9 times African Champion 2002-2013 and he was World bronze medallist in 2010 in Tokyo. El Shehaby won 18 World Cup medals and achieved victories in Abu Dhabi, Dusseldorf, Cairo, Moscow, Qingdao and Baku. In 2016 silver at the Grand Prix in Düsseldorf.

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Celebrities for Palestine; Cultural Activism with Ben Rivers


by Marivel Guzman

A talk by Ben Rivers on Playback Theatre and Popular Struggle in Occupied Palestine. Photo: Bhagya Prakash. K

A talk by Ben Rivers on Playback Theatre and Popular Struggle in Occupied Palestine. Photo: Bhagya Prakash. K

Since December 2011, The Freedom Theatre’s Freedom Bus has engaged thousands of Palestinians and people from abroad in cultural actions that address Israel’s practice of settler colonialism, military occupation and structural apartheid. The Freedom Bus partners with village cooperatives, popular struggle committees and grassroots organizations to hold multi-day “solidarity stays” and “freedom rides” in villages, towns, refugee camps and Bedouin communities throughout the occupied West Bank. These events involve community visits, interactive seminars, guided walks, Hakawati (traditional storytelling), building construction, and protective presence activity.

A central feature of Freedom Bus events is the use of Playback Theatre. Through this method, a troupe of Palestinian actors and musicians invite stories from the audience and subsequently transform each account into a piece of improvised theatre. By sharing stories about the realities of life under colonization and apartheid, community members aim to mobilize audience members in the broader struggle for freedom and equality in historic Palestine.

Irene Fernández Ramos writes for her Storytelling, Agency and Community-building through Playback Theatre in Palestine What is Playback Theatre?
Playback Theatre is a form of non-scripted, interactive community-based theatre created in the 1970s in the United States by Jonathan Fox. A Playback Theatre event usually lasts around seventy-five minutes and it is constructed from the stories of members of the audience who are invited by a conductor to share short or long stories, or ideas, with the rest of the audience. The new storyteller steps forward and sits on the edge of the stage, where he or she is seen by the performers and by the audience. With the help of the conductor’s questions, this new ‘storyteller’ narrates his or her experience allowing the performers to understand the personal feelings lying behind the story and to translate them into improvised theatrical language. Read more on her essay here 

Endorsers of the Freedom Bus include personalities such Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Judith Butler, Maya Angelou, Noam Chomsky, Omar Barghouti and Peter Brook. (Click for the full list of endorsers).
The Freedom Bus is also endorsed by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), Jewish Voice for Peace, Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), Code Pink in between other organizations.

Freedom Bus The heart and art of playbackUsing stories, photographs and video, Ben Rivers speaks about the Freedom Bus initiative and its role within the popular struggle movement.

Palestinian Solidarity Committee in India and 1 Shanthiroad last February organised a talk (Video) by Ben Rivers, a British-Australian drama therapist and co-founder of The Freedom Bus Initiative with The Freedom Theatre in Palestine, on playback theatre and popular struggle in Occupied Palestine. In the talk Ben focused on the cultural activities of the Freedom Bus Initiative, including ‘solidarity stays’ in which the team resides in a village for some days, acting as a protective cover or re-building homes . “We also work very closely with grassroots, popular struggle groups and organisations. We organize political actions together.” Excerpt from the Hindu.com

In his talk, Ben narrated some of his experiences working with the communities in occupied Palestine.

“In the South of the West Bank, in a region known as South Hebron Hills, we were on the outskirts of a village called Atwani, where a very small community lives. A lot of their land was stolen by people of a settlement nearby who were hostile. Palestinians who are grazing their sheep on the hills are regularly attacked by them. Palestinian children used to be stoned by the settlers as they walked to to school.”

Celebrities for Palestine; Gideon Levy on Real Journalism


by Marivel Guzman

 

Gideon Levy, journalist and author

Gideon Levy, journalist and author

Gideon Levy, journalist and author, born in Occupied Palestine in 1953 in Tel Aviv, is an Israeli anti-Zionist that has made his mission to write everything about the Israeli occupation, and the dehumanization of Palestinians. He is without a doubt a courageous man, a man of integrity that puts the truth before his own personal security.

“As the late Goldwyn Mayer phrased once, After the Holocaust the Jews has the right to do what ever they want. It took me some years to realize that this old outcome of ongoing process very systematic of dehumanizing the Palestinians which enable the Israelis to feel good about themselves, to feel moral to feel even democrats while, when it comes to the Palestinians they behave so different, I can tell you is a deep conviction that any Israeli, left, right, center does not treat the Palestinians as not equals.” Excerpt from an interview for the film “How we can solve the Palestinians Israeli Problem” by Sami Moukaddem

Gideon Levy is a rare voice of courage in an Israeli media generally supine towards the political establishment. Since 1988, he has written the “Twilight Zone” column for the Israeli daily Haaretz, documenting unflinchingly the myriad cruelties inflicted on the Palestinian people under occupation. Electronic Intifada
Levy was the recipient of the Euro-Med Journalist Prize for 2008; the Leipzig Freedom Prize in 2001; the Israeli Journalists’ Union Prize in 1997; and The Association of Human Rights in Israel Award for 1996.
They haven’t succeeded in silencing me, said Levy.

The killing of Palestinians by soldiers and policemen will never shock Israel

“I will continue to write about the brutality of this war, about the atrocities, the mass killing of civilians and the horrifying destruction in Gaza.”
Dehumanization allows Israel to strengthen its occupation and deny Palestinians rights, said Levy.
“Gideon Levy is the most hated man in Israel – and perhaps the most heroic. This “good Tel Aviv boy” – a sober, serious child of the Jewish state – has been shot at repeatedly by the Israeli Defense Force, been threatened with being “beaten to a pulp” on the country’s streets, and faced demands from government ministers that he be tightly monitored as “a security risk.” This is because he has done something very simple, and something that almost no other Israeli has done. Nearly every week for three decades, he has traveled to the Occupied Territories and described what he sees, plainly and without propaganda. ” The Independent, September 24, 2010
Israel is addicted to occupation“My modest mission,” he says, “is to prevent a situation in which many Israelis will be able to say, ‘We didn’t know.’” And for that, many people want him silenced.

For some Israelis, he is seen as a brave disseminator of the truth. But many others condemn him as a propagandist for Hamas. And his columns for the Tel Aviv-based Haaretz newspaper have made him, arguably, one of the most hated men in Israel.

“When I joined Haaretz newspaper, I started to visit the occupied territories,” Levy says. “I immediately realized this was what I wanted to do; to understand the brutality and inhumanity of the Israeli occupation.”

“I figured out three things. First, this was the biggest drama facing the state of Israel. Second, this story was not being covered by the Israeli media. And third, this was going to be my life mission – to report about the Israeli occupation to Israeli readers who did not want to know what was really happening
there.”

Israeli journalist Gideon Levy argues that Middle East peace will never come until the Israeli government drops its rejection of basic Palestinian rights. “Sure Israel wants peace, Israel just doesn’t want a just peace,” Levy says. “It is all about justice. You look backward and you ask yourself in which stage, in which moment, was Israel willing to give up the occupation? Give me one example in which there was a genuine readiness to put an end to the occupation. It was never there. It was all about gaining time and maintaining the status quo — namely the West Bank occupied, Gaza under siege, peaceful life in Israel. … If you want the ultimate proof for it, it’s the [West Bank] settlements. Israel never stopped building settlements, and [in doing so] says to the Palestinians and the world, [we] have no intention to give up this piece of land.” Levy also discusses why he has received threats after calling on Israeli Air Force pilots to refuse to bomb Gaza, and why he sees a potential Palestinian effort to take Israel to the International Criminal Court as a positive step.

Gideon Levy (21:53)

 

This is 1 part of 7 of Gideon Levy Presentation in Toronto.

 

 

Celebrities for Palestine shows their support through cultural boycott – Junot Diaz

November 9, 2014 2 comments

by Marivel Guzman

Artists and Intellectuals Including Junot Díaz, Chuck D, and Boots Riley Call for Boycott and Divestment from Israel

Junot Diaz, becoming an author in Oprah.com Photo: Nancy Crampton

Junot Diaz, becoming an author in Oprah.com Photo: Nancy Crampton

More #Celebrities4Pal openly coming out endorsing Palestine, the voices are growing louder and thicker. Every day we discover more celebrities adding their voices to Cultural Boycott against Israel.
Junot Diaz, the 45-year-old Dominican-American Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology,  fiction editor at Boston Review. He also serves on the board of advisers for Freedom University, a volunteer organization in Georgia that provides post-secondary instruction to undocumented immigrants. Diaz is Pulitzer winner author of several books; This is How you Lose her, Drown, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, (Wikipedia)

Last September  Diaz called on the Brooklyn Book Festival to reject sponsorship from Israel’s Office of Cultural Affairs. In an open Letter to the Brooklyn Book Festival advising against accepting Israeli Sponsorship

Tell the Brooklyn Book Festival to no longer accept partnerships with the Israeli government or complicit institutions.

“It is deeply regrettable that the Festival has chosen to accept funding from the Israeli government just weeks after Israel’s bloody 50-day assault on the Gaza Strip, which left over 2100 Palestinians – including 500 children – dead, displaced a fourth of the population, destroyed homes, schools, and hospitals, and involved numerous potential war crimes. Sustaining a partnership with the Israeli Consulate at this time amounts to a tacit endorsement of Israel’s many violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.” An excerpt from the open letter to the Brooklyn Book Festival

 

On September 30,  during his Lecture at Clark University he made mention of the pressure scholars feel when they speak out for Palestine, and shared his personal experiences as a call to support the Palestinian people.

“We are extremely excited to have an author of Diaz’s stature visit Clark,” said Paul Posner, director of the University’s Latin American and Latino Studies concentration and faculty organizer of the event.  “His work deals with issues – colonialism’s legacy in Latin America, cultural identity and language, immigration and gender relations, among others – that are of central importance to many of our students and faculty.”
Endorsing The U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel a statement from Diaz was published as a Press release saying that Diaz joins Chuck D and Boots Riley as prominent artists who have recently endorsed the boycott

” If there exists a moral arch to the universe then Palestine will eventually be free but that promised day will never arrive unless we, the justice-minded peoples of our world, fight to end the cruel blight of the Israeli occupation. Our political, religious and economic leaders have always been awesome at leading our world into conflict, only we the people alone with little else but our courage and our solidarities and our invincible hope can lead our world into peace.” Junot Diaz

 

Every day we discover a new Celebrities4palestine showing either they disgust for Israel Apartheid policy of segregation or their open support for Palestine.
It is commendable to recognize their openness, knowing that they are risking their careers. In the US it is career suicide to support Palestine, but when in comes to persons of integrity they can’t hide it, it is against their moral compass.

Celebrities in another kind of cultural work, article published in the Blog of huffingtonpost.com

Celebrities For Palestine – Suheir Hammad her Palestinian blood speaks with her poetry

October 31, 2014 1 comment

Suheir Hammad

Suheir Hammad

One of our own #Celebs4Pal Suheir Hammad, a Palestinian poetess, actress and peace activist. Suheir Hamad is a gift to us, to Palestine, to Palestinians, to the Palestinian Solidarity Movement and to the women of the world.  Suheir Hammad’s poetry is empowering by her women inner voice.

Over the years we have witnessed the pain of the land (Palestine) we seen her mothers taking their sons to the grave only with their courage and their pride as mothers of the martyrs of the land.

She is Palestinian one hundred percent Palestinian,  she takes her blood to the stages of the world. Her poetry is powerful, energetic and even though it is sad poetry, her poetry deliver hope.

“As a child I had this sense that God was a huge poet,” she said. Her father taught her nationalist songs, which she later realized were originally written as poems. She then went on to discover for herself the great
Palestinian poetry has this pain ingrained in its soul, Mahmoud Darwish poetry has been an inspiration for thousands of poets, Suheir Hammad, Palestinian herself, said that his poetry played a significant role in her life and eventually in her poetry.

In ‘Salt of the Sea’ Suheir Hammad walks the streets of Palestine showing her (Palestine) terrible tragedy of being occupied land,  “Salt of the Sea’  gives every Palestinian in the exile a taste of Palestine, to the world ‘Salt of the Sea’ gives testimony of an occupy land.

A fact little known is that our #Celebs4Pal Danny Glover, a known American actor was part of the Salt of the Sea production Co-producing of the project.

“The range of international co-producers — including Danny Glover’s Louverture Films — attests to the well-intentioned multinational desire to support Palestinian cinema, and “Salt” has received numerous pre- and post-production grants, including funding from San Sebastian’s Cinema in Motion 3 and the Hubert Bals Fund. Too bad Jacir’s characters are written to explain a situation rather than enjoy an independence of personality.” Variety.com
To understand Suheir’s poetry you need  to understand women’s struggles, Palestinian’s struggles and her being born out of Palestinian refugees that even though have found a place in the world to raise a family they never forget Palestine. How could they?

When she read the script of Salt Of the Sea, she saw poetry in it and acted as Palestinians and not as an actress. The film was a success but as Suheir said,

“the film is really marginalized” she explains, “ but it’s also part of a continuum… so now other films that are not that aesthetic or are not that drive will have a chance now, because it pushed the door open. The victory is to see your position as part of the continuum and that’s where the hope is.”

Roddy Doyle, Brigid Keenan, Suheir Hammad, Ahdaf Soueif,

Roddy Doyle, Brigid Keenan, Suheir Hammad, Ahdaf Soueif,

http://globalartscentral.com/suheir-hammad-the-palestinian-poet-born-black/

Salt of the Sea Trailer Trailer

Support Suheir Hammad with her career, her activism and  her poetry.

That is the beauty of being a #Celebs4Pal all their success,  and their power taken to the stages, at the end their support Palestine with their voice.

 

In her poems and plays, Suheir Hammad blends the stories and sounds of her Palestinian-American heritage with the vibrant language of Brooklyn to create a passionately modern voice. TED.com

Follow her in her twitter https://twitter.com/yosuheirhammad, and support her directly buying her poetry, attending her speeches and her acting career.

Suheir Poetry at Amazon.com

The only way to support Palestine is if we are strong, for that we must support each other and unfortunately we can not travel the world speaking for Palestine if there is no financial support. We are supporting Palestine when we support our #Celebs4Pal through their art.

Poems of war, peace, women and power

Poet Suheir Hammad performs two spine-tingling spoken-word pieces: “What I Will” and “break (clustered)” — meditations on war and peace, on women and power. Wait for the astonishing line: “Do not fear what has blown up. If you must, fear the unexploded.” TED.com


Celebrities for Palestine show their love for humanity through their music – Michael Heart

October 14, 2014 1 comment

From Michael Heart Official Page

Michael Heart, singer and composer of We will not go down, dedicated to the people of Gaza

Michael Heart the singer and composer of “We will not go down, Gaza Tonight” song dedicated to the people of Gaza, Palestine

Michael Heart has no propensity for nonsense. Neither in his life nor in his music. His no-frills approach to songwriting and production work is a clear testament to that. Despite his vastly diverse musicianship skills in different genres (clearly a direct result of having been raised all over the world), he has an affinity for authenticity and purity when it comes to his music. When he makes a Pop/Rock record, you just know it’s a Pop/Rock record.

Such is the case with his debut Pop/Rock CD titled “Unsolicited Material”. Although this record may not necessarily entirely sound like the work of his musical influences, you can definitely hear traces of artists such as Don Henley and Bryan Adams, in a song or two.

His raspy, breathy voice has a very identifiable sound, which commands attention from the listener. The songs are well crafted and the lyrical content is somewhat diverse, yet relevant. He tackles serious topics such as adultery (“Living In Sin”); the challenges of making a living (“Life Goes On”); war (“Damaged World”) and even domestic violence (“Finally Free”). Having said that, once in a while, Michael still lets his sense of humor come out in a song like “Wanna Be Bad”. After all, rock’n roll is about having a good time. And just for good measure, he includes the obligatory, radio-friendly, mid-tempo, Pop/Rock love song, “Lost In You”. Although the moods of the various songs on this CD do vary, there is still a common thread in all of these songs that unify them as a collective work.

Michael’s background is as diverse as can be. Born in Syria and raised in Europe (Switzerland and Austria) and the United States, he has lived a multi-cultural life and absorbed the music of different parts of the world (although his current CD release is purely categorized as Pop/Rock). He started out on piano and guitar at age 10. Shortly thereafter, he began dabbling in songwriting and eventually made the natural progression towards recording.

After earning his audio engineering degree from Full Sail (recording school), he moved to Los Angeles in 1990 and spent the past 20 years working on the local studio circuit both as a session guitarist and a recording engineer.

In that time, he has worked with such artists as Brandy, Will Smith, Toto, Natalie Cole, The Temptations, Phil Collins, Patty LaBelle, The Pointer Sisters, Earth Wind & Fire, Rickie Lee Jones, Lou Rawls, Jesse McCartney, Hillary Duff, Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Paige, Al Jarreau, K-Ci & Jojo, Deborah Cox, Monica, Taylor Dayne, Keiko Matsui, Steve Nieves, Luis Miguel and Tarkan. Michael’s fluency in French was definitely an added bonus when he also worked in the studio with French artists like Calogero (The Charts), Marc Lavoine and Veronique Sanson. Other projects also included work with producers Rodney Jerkins, Philippe Saisse and David Foster. (note: on most of these recording credits, Michael is credited as “Annas Allaf”, his real name, Michael Heart being the stage name). Although most of Michael’s work has been in the recording studio, he has also done some touring (notably back in the early 90’s, when he toured as a Flamenco guitarist in a guitar trio with Juan Manuel Canizares, opening for Dire Straits). He has also recorded and toured with the smooth jazz band Jango.

Michael Heart A Voice for Gaza (Cover of Gaza Tonight)

Michael Heart A Voice for Gaza (Cover of Gaza Tonight)

Michael has also written songs in support of various causes.  The most recent song, “What About Us” was written about the tragic situation in Syria. The song “Freedom” was inspired by the popular protests in North Africa and the Middle East.  His song “We Will Not Go Down” was written about the horrific situation of the Palestinian people in Gaza. Michael also wrote a song called “Help is on the Way”, about the devastating earthquake in Haiti, in 2010.

These days, when he is not working on his own original music, Michael lends his production skills working with local artists in the Los Angeles area.

DOWNLOAD mp3 HERE http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/we-w…
A SONG ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS, NOT RELIGION.

ALL MUSIC RIGHTS RESERVED. Michael Heart Copyright 2009. Please do not use this song in any new videos.

http://www.michaelheart.com/

This is the original video. The very first one that was posted on YouTube in Jan 2009, by Michael Heart, before it spread like wildfire all over the internet. Yes, it is primitive and very low quality, but there it is.

Visit Michael Heart’s official YouTube channel here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZHg…

Check out his 2-part video interview here below:

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmgfcL…

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FEgy-…

Thank you for supporting Michael and his music! You can buy his debut Pop/Rock album “Unsolicited Material” here:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/unso…

Celebrities for Palestine The voice of resistance: Julia Boutros sings for Gaza

October 14, 2014 1 comment

by Marivel Guzman

Julia Boutros in Dubai during One Candle Lit for Every Martyr Donations to be gathered on campus

Julia Boutros in Dubai during One Candle Lit for Every Martyr
Donations to be gathered on campus

Lebanese Christian Julia Boutros is considered one of the top pop singers of the Arab world. She has just released a new album, entitled ‘Righteousness is my weapon’ in which she praises the steadfastness of Hamas and other Gaza resistance groups for giving a bloody nose to the Jewish army.

 

“Righteousness is my weapon and I resist. Despite my pain I will resist, I will not give up, I will not give in. And about my country I will not compromise” said one of the verses of his praise song for Gaza resistance fighters.

“My home is here, my land is here. the sea, the plains, the river are ours. And how, while facing fire can I be peaceful” continue the song

 

The newly released “Al-Haq Silahi” (The Right is my Weapon) is an ode to the Palestinian resistance fighting in Gaza and all those who resisted Israeli occupation. The song rejects Israeli settlements, supporting the Palestinian claim to the natural landscapes of the occupied territories, said Albawaba
in veooz.com

 

Julia has vocally supported Hizbullah and the “Resistance” despite being a Christian herself – making her a living embodiment of how an “Islamic Resistance” could transcend nationalism.

According to wiki article 0n October 11, 2006, Boutros announced a new single called “Ahibaii” (My loved ones). The lyrics are based on a letter sent by Hizbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah to the fighters in South Lebanon during the 2006 Summer War between Hezbollah and Israel. The poet Ghassan Matar adapted the original text. The music is composed by Ziad, brother of Julia and arranged by Michel Fadel. The profits from the song’s sale went to help the families of Hizbollah fighters and to all Lebanese who died during the Israel-Lebanon conflict

Boutros began singing at the age of 12. From very beginning of her singing career, she decided to use her talent on behalf of others. Her first song, a French tune titled ‘A Maman“, was dedicated to all mothers on Mother’s Day. It proved to be the first step in a lifelong journey of dedication: her gift to others.

 

By the age of 14, she had released her first album, titled ‘C’est La Vie’ (This is Life), which was written and composed by Elias Rahbani. It was also around this time that the civil war in Lebanon broke out, playing a central role in Julia’s life and bringing into sharp focus her desire to commit herself and her singing to humanity and civilization in the Lebanese community in particular and the world in general.

 

Julia Boutros speaking at the American University in Dubai for an event to raise funds for Gaza

Julia Boutros speaking at the American University in Dubai for an event to raise funds for Gaza

On January of 2009, the Palestinian Arab Cultural Club at the American University in Dubai organized the AUD Rally and Candlelight Vigil, in support of the people in Gaza. The event took place on campus where members of the faculty, administrative and student bodies at AUD assembled to raise their voices against the massacres in Gaza in the presence of the Consul General of the State of Palestine in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, Mr. Hussein Abdul Khalek, and Mrs. Julia Boutros – who participated to express her solidarity with the innocent in Gaza-, as well as prominent dignitaries from the media.

 

Early on, unlike other artists of her age, Boutros dedicated her career to a cause. This burning desire to be a voice for others led directly in 1985 to her recording “Ghabet Shams Al Haq”, which was composed by Julia’s brother Ziad Boutros, who composes most of her work today. The song expresses her anger at the continued killing of the innocents: children, women, men and the elderly civilians by Jewish army and its Christian Lebanese Phalangist collaborators.

The only thing we were able to do at the time was to raise our voices and send a message to the world, and that was achieved by my first song” says Julia.

She wanted to send a message and she did so, forcefully. One week after this song was released; Julia’s voice entered every house in the Arab world. Her voice had become their voice, with millions of people singing her songs. Even schools began teaching the children the real meanings of Julia’s words.

After “Ghabet Shams Al Haq”, Julia would say, “I felt that I had a responsibility and that it is to speak on behalf of my people whose voice goes unheard“.

Today, Julia’s fans range from children to elderly, as she became a national symbol for Nationalism, Patriotism, Resistance and even Romance.

Julia received several national and international awards, including the Lebanese President’s Award which was presented to Julia for her contribution, through her voice, to the Lebanese Islamic Resistance Hizbullah against the Israeli occupation of Lebanon, shortly after the liberation of the South in May 2000.

Recently, and during the 2006 Israeli 34-day carpet-bombing of Lebanese civilian population, Julia Boutros was featured on Al Jazeera TV Station in a special program; she talked about the Politics in the Arab world, daring to say the least. She has today developed a fundraising project for the families of all Lebanese Martyrs who perished during the 34 day war.

 

Exclusive: Christian singer Julia Botrous honors fighters in Gaza with subtitles in English (الحق سلاحي). Her newly released 2014 music video “Righteousness is my weapon” refers to resistance movements in Gaza. Released on July 25, 2014 under Al-Mayadeen television.

 

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