Bearing Witness


My “Bridge to the World” music classes are coming along very nicely, with around 20 students and most of them are really enjoying it. Making some very interesting music and laughing a lot, especially at my Arabic pronunciation – the Australian accent does not help. However I think a couple of the students though would much prefer to be working on their blogs and I have suggested that this would be alright to my translator, but his English is not as good as my translator for my English class and he just replies “yes, yes” and tells them to get back to music in Arabic. While my class with the local staff has taken a while to get off the ground, because of university exams, when they do turn up they are really enjoying it and the hope that they will be able to continue teaching the music program once I leave seems to be coming to fruition.


I have also finally been given the go ahead to run some music workshops at the community center in Old Askar refugee camp. I am really happy about this; I will have four students and run two workshops with each. All four of the students participated in the Sabreen mc workshops.- so the plan is to teach them the FL Studio software in the first workshop, then get them to produce a track in the second and if their up for it record some vocals. The double bonus of working in the camps and working with kids who are right into their hip hop – apparently they have formed their own b-boy crew in the camp and practice in the centre when ever it’s free – pestering the manger to get in there as often as possible, cool.


My Arabic is coming along quite well or tomam iktir. I got 41/ 50 in my unit one test and can carry on very basic conversations in Arabic – hello, how are you ? Responded – ask where people live ? Respond – order food – count to10 – say good bye. As well as this I have also learnt some cool saying, mush mush kila = not a problem and insharlla = god willing, not to mention the all purpose response of hamdu illa = thank god – can be used to respond to any thing you don’t understand that is said with a smile and surprisingly most things in Nablus are said with a smile.


English is going well mainly due to my amazing translator Anas, who helps me prepare and facilitate my classes. Though I did do the political incorrect thing the other day of wearing my black and white, Fatha, kofia to a class at the Youth Progressive Union – the youth wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP] – apparently they have the red kofia to tie in with their socialist platform – looks like I now have to buy a red one.


I have the next week off, due to Eid holidays; I am going to spend the time traveling to Hiffa, Akko and Hebron. Hiffa has cool gardens and two nice art museums and Akko is this wonderfully historic port town with a castle and fortress walls. Apparently it is still very much like it was thousands of years ago, as when the first couple of waves of Jewish immigration happened in the 1920’s there was some much tension that instead of taking over the town the settlers decided to build New Akko, where the development has taken place leaving the old town virtually untouched. Then back through Hebron, as in my opinion, what is going on in Hebron is the clearest example of the double standards in the occupied territories – in the West Bank at least. Imagine the Israeli response to Palestinians – if they took over a house in Jaffa and terrorised the rest of the town – Ehud Barak, Israeli defense Minister, would definitely not be sitting down with them to have tea and kanafa and asking them to leave – a year after they first occupied it ! 


December 5, 2008 - Posted by | My Thoughts | ,

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