La Danza Poetica #23 Gaza Calling

In August 2008 the great poet Mahmoud Darwish left forever. But his voice is still here, more heartbreaking than ever. Now I ask myself to stop, turn off the newsfeed, clear my mind of prejudice, and listen. This is a mix of the amazing diversity of poetic expression from Palestine and the diaspora. Marcel Khalife, Obaider Band, and Naomi Shihab Nye interpret Darwish. Arabic traditional song from Basel Zayed, Jawaher Shofani, Nai Barghouti, Fairuz. Stories of war, flight and resistance from the sons and daughters of exile Suheir Hammad, Rafeef Ziadeh, Remi Kanazi, Omar Offendum, Asifeh, DAM, Boikutt, Shadia Mansour and Stormtrap. 


Hiatus - Precious Little
Marcel Khalife & Mahmoud Darwish - Let the Siege Come
Checkpoint 303 - Gaza Calling
Obaider Band - About a human (poem by Mahmoud Darwish)
Marcel Khalife & Mahmoud Darwish-You Will Die Near My Blood
Basel Zayed - Marhaba "Hello"
Rafeef Ziadah - Scattered
Marcel Khalife - Ahmad Counts His Limbs
Jawaher Shofani - Oh Flying Bird
Basel Zayed - Kamm
Suheir Hammad - Rafa
Remi Kanazi - Nakba
Nai Barghouti - Flower of Cities
Suheir Hammad - Gaza
Sun Glitters - Raheel / Exodus
Asifeh - Su' Tafahum
Omar Offendum - The Arab Speaks of Rivers
Children of Lod & DAM - I Don´t Have Freedom
Ya Oud - Amal Murkus
Marcel Khalife & Mahmoud Darwish - Rise to your Dream
Boikutt - Al Nateq Al Rasmi
Shadia Mansour ft. Omar Offendum - Lazem Netghayar (We Have to Change)
Stormtrap & Shams Asma - Stormtrap & Shams Asma
Naomi Shihab Nye reading Mahmoud Darwish – The Prison Cell
DAM ft. Shadia Mansour - They All Have Tanks
Marcel Khalife & Mahmoud Darwish - Ahmad emerges from the Ancient Wounds + Among Small Details
Rafeef Ziadah - Trail of Tears
Fairuz - Ya Roubou'a Biladi

Notes on the show

The news out of Gaza is more terrible each day. The reporting on it out of the western media gets more infuriating. Watching from afar can feel so impotent, especially if feeling - as I'm feeling - anger and confusion over how this can continue to be happening with tacit approval from the world looking on. Not only looking on. Enabling it. Funding it. My own country, too.

There are some things we can do, that may not feel like much, but may be something. 

Divestment and activism, raising awareness and trying to do so mindfully, and responsibly. As I talked about last month (Spoken Word Artistry ~ Rafeef Ziadah, Sincere Resistance) - and please read this recent article by Rafeef Ziadah: As the Gaza crisis deepens, boycotts can raise the price of Israel’s impunity | Rafeef Ziadah via @guardian

Supporting the organisations that help the innocent people caught in the crossfire, as well as those in the dreadful limbo of refuge or exile.

Supporting the artists and the poets of Palestine. Learning about the people and the culture, sharing the human stories.

The first piano track in this show is from Cyrus Shahrad, aka Hiatus. He says "I'm releasing this track to raise money for Medical Aid For Palestinians (MAP), an organisation currently engaged in a humanitarian effort to help innocent people caught in a terrible crossfire. The track costs £1, but please give more if you can, and please do share the link around. "All proceeds will go to MAP, a UK charity that has been working in the region for more than 30 years, and is currently being stretched to the limit in the unfolding medical emergency in Gaza – providing support and training to embattled Palestinian doctors and nurses, stockpiling and distributing medical supplies, and responding to emergencies on the ground. You can find out more about MAP’s work via their website:"

The second call to action in this show is for Gaza's Obaider Band. "Music, art and languages could bring the whole world united together under the same flag, creating a new union between two cultures. They have the power to make opposing societies understand each other, and create relations built on love and understanding, Our goal in this album is to erase the borders of the world that separate people by building a new unifying culture." Obai Al-Bitar and Baider Manasrah are seeking funds for a new album bringing this idea to fruition, with songs inspired by Andalusian Arab poetry that goes back 1000 years, as well as modern Arab poetry, including oriental flamenco fusion. Find out more and support the project here. One of the songs to feature on the album is Child in Gaza - a song I featured in the Creative Resistance: Arab Voice podcast in May of last year. A live recording with video: (a warning, there are some very distressing images in the video. But I am not one to hold that we don't need to see this. I believe we do. This is the reality; these are the children.)

يا ليل قبلك كان في روح يا ليل خلص روح بكفي جروح طفل بغزة عاش موجوع هذا الطفل رسم بعيونو حلم مليان زهور مليان ورود مليان حب و أمل هذا الطفل العمرو ما كان طفل متمرمر متمرمط متمرد بعدو طفل قديش لازم نعاني قديش لازم نخسر قديش لازم نشكي و نبكي و قديش لازم نتحسر للسانك يفك صمت الكلمات واللي بطالب حرية شعب عمرو ما مات عمرو ما مات
Oh darkness Before you, there was a soul Oh darkness It's enough, it's time to leave The wounds are enough for the child in Gaza Who lived in pain This child painted a dream full of flowers, full of roses, full of love and hope This child has never been a child He is feeling numb to life and bitter suffering On the inside he is revolting Although on the outside he is still a child How much do they need to suffer? How much do they need to lose? How much do they have to deplore and cry? And how much do they have to sigh? Before the words break the silence of your tongue The one who demands freedom on behalf of them will never be forgotten Never be forgotten, never be forgotten

I really don't have any more words right now, I really want you to listen to Gaza Calling. We need to start hearing these voices.