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WAR DIVIDES, MUSIC CONNECTS
Using music to bridge divides, connect communities,
and heal the wounds of war and conflict.
March 26, 2011 •• Palestine Community Music
Rap Across the Wall

“I’m Mohamad from Silwan.”
“??? We never saw you in Silwan!”
“I’m Mohamad from al-Azzeh refugee camp.”
Silence.
“I’m Mohamad from Dheisheh refugee camp.”
“You know what, I’m Mohamad from Palestine!”

Mohamad shows the teenagers that it is not important from which camp or neighborhood you are. “We are all Palestinians. Unity makes us strong.”

Every week, 15 teenagers from Silwan, East-Jerusalem, go with a bus through the Bethlehem checkpoint to al-Azzeh camp to follow rap workshops. Here they meet with other teenagers from the al-Azzeh and Dheisheh refugee camp. In the end of the project, they will perform together their own-written rap songs in Bethlehem and hopefully in Silwan.
The teenagers learn to write text, rhyme, rap, beat-box and practice leadership and communication skills. The workshops are led by rappers trained by MwB (Ahmad, Hisham, Mohamad and Saud) and a nonviolence trainer from HLT (Ahmad al’Azzeh). The project is sponsored by Prelude Foundation.

This week the 4th workshop took place. The group listened to kollon 3endon dababaat from the British/Palestinian female rapper Shadia Mansour. Together they analyzed and discussed the song, after which they were divided into four groups. Every group is made up of teenagers from both Silwan and the refugee camps and will perform their own-written songs in the final shows.
Each group chose a subject for a song and started to write the refrain. These are the subjects they chose:
  1. Palestine
  2. The wall
  3. Palestinian prisoners
  4. House demolitions
Rowan presenting the text of her group
Ali presenting the text of his group
Yazeed presenting the text of his group
Yazan presenting the text of his group

Why do we take the effort to arrange a bus, to take the Silwan kids all the way through a checkpoint? Because we believe it is important for the children from Silwan and the refugee camps to meet each other, to learn about each others’ lives and to work together. The rappers are not allowed to travel to Silwan or Jerusalem, so Silwan will come to them.

Hidaya, Na’ma, Sundus and Rowan on their way back to Silwan
During the coming weeks, they will continue to write their rap songs together and to develop themselves as voices of their communities!