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The festival highlighted the destructive nature of the Israel’s occupation of Palestine by exploring the reality of day‐to‐day life in the West Bank and Gaza strip and reveal how such destruction continues to impact the lives of Palestinians, the world’s largest global refugee population. The festival showed the strength and spirit of Palestinians through their capacity to resist and demonstrate how this is supported at the international level through efforts such as boycott, divestment and sanctions, solidarity protests and direct action.

It also portrayed Palestinian culture as day‐to‐day resistance, and examine the role of culture and art both as methods of struggle and in restoring the Palestinian narrative. There were several photographic exhibitions about the plight of refugees and the right of return, and about resistance in Palestine and international solidarity. We appealed to solidarity groups worldwide to contribute materials such as posters and video clips from demonstrations and actions.

Alongside the exhibitions there were performances, film screenings, workshops and discussions. Palestinian artists and activists from historic Palestine and the wider Middle East were given the opportunity not only to perform, but also to lead workshops and participate in discussions, supported by UK based artists and activists. Workshop topics included dabke, circus, kite making, graffiti, hip hop, traditional music, calligraphy and poetry.

A feature of the festival were informal discussions on a variety of topics including the history of popular struggle in Palestine BDS, Gaza, and twinning campaigns. In light of the recent wave of uprisings and revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, the closing session brought in speakers from a variety of Arab countries and from Palestine to discuss what these incredible events mean for Palestine. These sessions allowed participants to discuss future plans and tactics. However, the festival was not just about analysis and strategising!

Throughout the three days, there were incredible spoken word, musical and dance performances. Friday night saw a host of musicians from Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia and the UK celebrating resistance in solidarity with the recent revolutions. Zaytouna took the audience on a journey to Palestine through a dabke performance at saturday lunchtime. Rafeef Ziadah, an acclaimed Palestinian poet and activist, delivered an incredible poetic performance at sunday lunchtime. Habib Shehadeh, an extremely talented oud player, who came straight from Palestine with his musicians and singer closed the festival with a unique performance.
Hosted by SOAS Palestine Society

SOAS Palestine Society
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