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WAR DIVIDES, MUSIC CONNECTS
Using music to bridge divides, connect communities,
and heal the wounds of war and conflict.
July 3, 2011 •• Palestine Community Music
Rap Across the Wall – PART II

Ameena from Silwan, 12 years old, one of the participants of the rap project:
This is the picture Ameena chose for her story
We from Silwan chose to go to Bethlehem to the rap workshops, because we are oppressed by the occupation and now we got the chance to talk about it and express ourselves. I liked the workshops a lot and the workshop leaders were great and helping us a lot, we love to learn rap with them. We never learned rap before and now we got this chance. My family is also happy that I participate in this project because now I can spend my free time singing rap instead of being bored in the house. 

Ameena and Mohamad
I also want to say something about the problems in Silwan. The occupation in Silwan wants to destroy our houses. Every day they arrest young people, throw gas grenades and make problems. Many times they cut the electricity so we don’t have electricity in the house. Then we put on candles and we have to stop working on the computer, watching television or studying for school. My grandmother needs to breath through an oxygen mask, so when the electricity stops she has difficulties breathing.

Thank you to everyone that works with Palestinian children and thank you to everyone that read my words.
Ameena and Mohamad recording Ameena’s rap



21-06-2011: CD recording of a rap song

9.30 
Madaa Creative Center in Wadi Hilweh, Silwan.
Ameena, Mu’atasem and Ali are waiting for me. Where is Razan?
We want to go to Bethlehem, where we will record together with Bashar from Dheisheh refugee camp the rap song that the five teenagers wrote together during the last months.
Razan’s family doesn’t have a phone so we decide to drive to her home. The road is full of holes and stones, and we aren’t even sure where exactly her house is.
9.45 
We arrive in the street of Razan’s house. Ameena starts knocking on different doors, looking for Razan. After five minutes, we see Razan walking in the street. “I just woke up!!! I was crying because I thought you had left without me!”
10.00 
We arrive at the checkpoint to enter Bethlehem. But the checkpoint is closed. We ask what is going on but we don’t get a clear answer. We decide to take the other, longer road to Bethlehem. This road takes us through two tunnels, a checkpoint, and passes many settlements and parts of the Wall. We have to drive through Beit Jalla and Bethlehem in order to arrive where we started: the checkpoint, just this time  at the Bethlehem side.

Razan
10.30
Half an hour too late we arrive in al-Awdah Center for Social Development in al-Azzeh refugee camp. Here the children practice together with the rappers Mohamad, Ahmad, Soud and Hisham from Dheisheh refugee camp. These rappers followed the MwB/HLT training and supported the children in writing their own rap songs.
12.30 
After rehearsing the songs we go out to eat something before the actual recording. We are 5 teenagers and 5 adults, so there is more than enough space in my car…Luckily the police in Bethlehem is not as tough as the police in Jerusalem.
13.15 
We arrive at PNN (Palestine News Network) where we will record the rap song in a professional studio. The song is about Palestinian prisoners. Every child gets 20 minutes to record his or her voice.

Ali
Bashar
15.00 
We finish and I want to bring the children back to Silwan. But we can not take the same tunnel road, because I’m not allowed to pass this road with my Dutch passport. So we drive to the other closed checkpoint, where I park the car so I can walk together with the children to the other side of the checkpoint. There someone from Silwan is waiting for them, I will walk back through the checkpoint to Bethlehem and wait there until the checkpoint will open again to return to Jerusalem by car.
15.30 
We are still waiting in the checkpoint but for some unclear reason the soldiers don’t let us pass. 
15.45
The children get restless, tired, and the tension between the kids and the soldiers is rising. I decide we have waited enough, I bring them up to Beit Jalla and order a taxi for them to get safely back to Silwan.
Rappers Hisham and Soud watching the children record
I think the name of this project couldn’t describe better what we do: Rap Across the Wall. Yes, the Wall is challenging the kids in many ways, but in the end, the children resist the Wall by continuing to travel to Bethlehem, meet other Palestinian youth, sing and rap together and share each other’s lives!
Ali and Soud
Mu’atasam and Hisham
Mu’atasam and Hisham
Ahmad and Bashar
Ahmad and Razan
Ali
Mu’atasam


Thank you Mu’atasam, Ali, Bashar, Ameena and Razan for spending this day with us and making us laugh!
Thank you Mohamad, Hisham, Soud and Ahmad for showing us the power of rap music!
Thank you PNN for letting us record in your studio and thank you Samir, the sound technician, for your endless patience!
Thank you Ahmad from al-Awdah Center and HLT for organizing and making the right contacts!
Thank you Prelude for sponsoring this project and last but not least: thank you MwB for making this happen!