REVIEW| NOT THE EUROVISION, A PARTY FOR PALESTINE (@PSCupdates)

atmospherePalestine Solid­ar­ity Cam­paign are the largest UK-based organ­isa­tion cam­paign­ing for Palestini­an human rights. They cam­paign again­st both the UK government’s com­pli­city in the con­flict as well as cor­por­a­tions that profit from Israel’s illeg­al occu­pa­tion. They also cam­paign to hold the media to account on their report­ing of the con­flict.

In addi­tion to the insti­tu­tion­al­ised dis­crim­in­a­tion faced by Palestini­ans and vast inequal­it­ies in access to resources between Israel­is and Palestini­ans, Israel is in breach of inter­na­tion­al law (UN res­ol­u­tion 194 which states the right of Palestini­an refugees to return home or receive com­pens­a­tion) and through their illeg­al occu­pa­tion of Jer­u­s­alem, Gaza and the West Bank. Des­pite the EU itself denoun­cing Israel for passing the Jew­ish Nation State law, less than a year ago, which grants nation­al self-determ­in­a­tion rights exclus­ively to Jew­ish people, the Euro­vi­sion con­test con­tin­ued in Israel as planned. As a res­ult, Palestine Solid­ar­ity Cam­paign called for people to #Boy­cot­tEur­o­vi­sion.

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The night opened in style with a power­ful per­form­ance by dab­ke dance troupe Haw­iyya. This style of folk dance has its ori­gins in express­ing con­nec­tion to the land, but has evolved into a form of res­ist­ance by the Palestini­an people. Some of the cho­reo­graph­ies rep­res­en­ted work­ing on the land, oth­ers depic­ted the protests at the Gaza bor­der with the throw­ing of rocks and peace signs. The emo­tion evoked by the per­form­ance was vis­ible in the dancer’s faces – both the smiles of pride and the grit of determ­ined struggle.

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Haw­iyya were fol­lowed by Jen­an Younis, an Iraqi-Palestini­an Lon­don-based comedi­an. Her sharp wit and satire shed light on the dif­fi­cult real­it­ies of grow­ing up with Middle East­ern her­it­age in the UK, as well as the prob­lem­at­ic beha­vi­our of Brit­ish pub­lic fig­ures in their depic­tions of the Middle East (Sta­cey Dooley any­one?).

Next up, Mic Right­eous stormed the stage open­ing with his Fire in the Booth 3, and blew every­one away with his impec­cable and emo­tion­ally charged lyr­i­cism. Right­eous per­formed Fire in the Booth 4, Scenes and a new track writ­ten for his brother-in-law who recently took his own life. He also called a tal­en­ted female vocal­ist on stage to per­form a beau­ti­ful rendi­tion of The Roots clas­sic ‘You Got Me’.  He truly brought his heart and soul to the stage.

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Then the lights went down, the chant­ing star­ted we waited in anti­cip­a­tion to see Lowkey arrive. He opened with Soundtrack to the Struggle, fol­lowed by My Soul – the anthem to res­ist­ance. The crowd went wild when he per­formed Long Live Palestine, a mes­sage of sup­port to the Palestini­an people, as well as Hand on Your Gun, a remind­er of the élite interests that exist in mil­it­ary inter­ven­tions. Let­ter to the 1% and Alpha­bet Assas­sin fol­lowed. Lowkey brought Mic Right­eous back onstage for Revolu­tion Music, before per­form­ing Ahmed – a poignant nod to the respons­ib­il­ity the very coun­tries rep­res­en­ted in Euro­vi­sion have towards the lives of refugees.

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Lowkey closed his set with Ghosts of Gren­fell – a power­ful remind­er of the way forces of oppres­sion inter­sect.

“We need people in this coun­try to see them­selves in the faces of the people that have passed, and in the faces of the people that are strug­gling today”

He reminded the crowd that Arcon­ic, the com­pany respons­ible for the clad­ding of Gren­fell tower, make the F-35 plane with Lock­heed Mar­tin and BAE Sys­tems. Next year Israel will demon­strate its usage to the Brit­ish Army. “From Gren­fell to Gaza, the chains that bind us may be invis­ible to us as we speak, but with time these will come out.” He ended with a call to join the Gren­fell United cam­paign, and mobil­ise on the 14th June, on the second anniversary of the Gren­fell tower tragedy.

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On Sat­urday night, a con­test meant to cel­eb­rate cul­ture and art across bor­ders was held in a state respons­ible for deni­al of basic human rights to Palestini­an people. In par­al­lel, dur­ing those very same hours of the even­ing, in a small club in Cam­den, there was a cel­eb­ra­tion of art as res­ist­ance and the power in the struggle that car­ries on, and will carry on, until all chains are broken.

 

For inform­a­tion on future work and events vis­it the Palestine Solid­ar­ity Cam­paign. 

 

 

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Kym L

Kym L

Lon­don-based Bel­gian and mem­ber of Stand Up To Racism as well as vegan food enthu­si­ast.

About Kym L

Kym L
London-based Belgian and member of Stand Up To Racism as well as vegan food enthusiast.