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Last summer, a group of activists and performers who comprise the organization, Existence is Resistance, (www.existenceisresistance.org) organized the “Hip Hop School Bus Tour” and toured the West Bank of what is left of Palestine, promoting resistance through arts and performance – non violence. I had the pleasure of attending the report back last night, 10.18.10, at the Brecht Forum in New York City. The evening began with a slide show of photos from what is left of Palestine – difficult photos : a mother holding her son’s hand as an Israeli shoulder points a gun at them, and a child holding a teddy bear, standing amongst the rubble of what was once his mom and dad’s home. This was followed by personal accounts of the 10 day tour by a panel of the performers and organizers. Personal accounts were given by M1 of Dead Prez, Marcel Cartier, Ayman El-Sayed, Harrabic Tubman and Mariam Aryai Rivera. Norman Finkelstein, respected scholar on the Palestine/Israel issue, was also present, and posed some excellent questions to each panelist.
Following the accounts – which were quite moving, Emily Henochowicz talked us through a collection of drawing she had done while living in Israel for art school. Shortly after she arrived in Israel, she began to visit the occupied territories and to attend demonstrations opposing the occupation. While at one of those protests, the Israeli Army shot a tear gas canister at her, causing her to lose her eye. (www.thirstypixels.blogspot.com)
Perhaps the most moving moment of evening was M1’s account of a workshop he ran teaching a group of Palestinian children rhyming and poetry. He asked the children to write down 5 words that held meaning for them Each and every one of them had written the word “Freedom”.
Videos on both Youtube and Vimeo: