22 May 2015

Brighton to Palestine with love 2015

Brighton PSC at the Brighton Festival

This year Brighton PSC held a day of events at the Brighthelm Church & Community Centre.  It consisted of an exhibition of children, stalls, films and two performances of Caryl Churchill’s brilliant play Seven Jewish ChildrenSeven Jewish Children is only 10 minutes long and consists of parents and relatives discussing what to tell and what not to tell an unnamed girl relation.  The 7 Jewish children correspond to seven episodes of time starting with the Holocaust and ending with the Gaza war.  It has a refrain ‘don’t tell her… do tell her….’  Running throughout is the fear of the unseen enemy, from the Nazis to the Israeli military.  It operates on a number of different levels, with the Jews being the victim to those who wield the gun.  Fear of the known is the hidden companion.
Unsurprisingly it has been almost universally condemned by right-wing commentators as ‘anti-Semitic’ a ‘blood libel’ by those who spray words like bullets.  This is the second time I’ve seen the play and it as relevant now as when I saw it when it was first written, at the time of the attack on Gaza in 2009.  For those who haven’t seen it, it is on the Guardian website
After Palestinian food was served, in the evening there was a performance of music by Ahmad Al Khatib (oud) who was born in a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan.  He joined the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music and taught in the Oriental Music Department.  In 2002 his visas was not renewed by the Zionist authorities and he now lives in Sweden.

Borh in 1967, Youssef Hbeisch played on percussion and also 

taught at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music.  Mohamed Najem on clarinet was born in Jerusalem to refugee parents and grew up in Bethlehem.  He was a founder member of the Palestine National Orchestra.  Manfred Leuchter on accordion came to Ramallah in 2014 to play on Najeem’s debut CD.

Brighton PSC hopes to bring, next year, young musicians from the Gaza Music School to perform in Brighton.  Crowdfunding has already been launched to pay for the cost of so doing.  Please visit www.chuffed.org/project/gazaconcert to donate.

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