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WAR DIVIDES, MUSIC CONNECTS
Using music to bridge divides, connect communities,
and heal the wounds of war and conflict.
April 1, 2011 •• Palestine Community Music
Jerusalem to Nablus
Question: How do you get from my home in Jerusalem, the purple dot in the South, to Nablus, the purple dot in the North?

In a normal situation, one would take the road to the North. But unfortunately the situation here is not normal.
Since two weeks, we give music workshops to children around Nablus. Together with the MwB trainees, I travel once a week in my car from Jerusalem to Nablus. But the trainees live in Bethlehem area and are not allowed to enter Jerusalem or any road that gets close to Jerusalem. 
So here is the answer to my question:

The road from Bethlehem to the North of Jerusalem is a winding road, going up and down the mountains, and taking one hour.
On this map, you can not see the wall, the checkpoints, the road blocks and the many Israeli settlements. But you can also not see the beautiful views, the mountains, and the change in landscape from desert to green valleys. This country is beautiful.

View surrounding Sebastia

Every Tuesday, the Palestinian Medical Relief Society tells us where to go to give music workshops. They know very well which communities in the Nablus area need it the most. The first time we went to a kindergarten in the old city of Nablus, to Aseera and to Huwara. The second time we had the honor to visit two beautiful villages: Burqa and the ancient village of Sebastia. The last two villages fall mostly under the so called “Area C”, meaning that the village is under full Israeli civil and security control.

Adel, working for the PMRS and living in Burqa was our dedicated guide and helped us finding our way to the different kindergartens while explaining the difficult situation in the Nablus area. The many checkpoints, road blocks, and army raids and the increasing settler violence are in sharp contrast to the peaceful surroundings, the many olive trees, flowered hills and centuries-old villages.

Every week two or three other trainees travel to Nablus: a perfect escape from the sometimes suffocating refugee camps where most of them live. For some of them it is even the first time to visit the area.




We do what we always do…we sing, play and dance with the children, around 130 each time in different groups. The teachers join us and learn or record the songs with their cell phones so they can repeat them later with the children. As always, we are surprised by the creativity of the children, especially when we are making different sounds with the sticks. We learn from them how to make a chair, an airplane, and bread, all with just a pair of sticks and of course our voices.

Making bread with a pair of sticks

 

This project will continue until the summer, with the generous support of the foundation CeKaTe.
Thank you Catharine and Adel for making the pictures and thank you Lubna from HLT for making the wonderful connection with PMRS!