Monday, March 05, 2012

Again, Yesha Communities Skipped Over - No US Music

I've just read that a Greenfield resident Julie Rader Schonbrun travels to Israel, West Bank with band Antigone Rising

It seems "the music of Antigone Rising, the popular New York City-based all-female country/rock band is universal, representing love and peace" and that "The band has opened for such acts as The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, Rob Thomas and The Bangles".

Some of the travel details:

According to the band’s manager, Greenfield resident Julie Rader Schonbrun, that message was “loud and clear from the crowd reactions at each show” during a tour of Israel and the West Bank last month. “It was a mob scene after each show with men, women, boys, girls, clamoring for autographs or photos with the girls,” she said.

Rader Schonbrun traveled with the band, invited through the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and the Consulate General in Jerusalem as Arts Envoys, a cultural initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. They performed in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ramallah, Bethlehem and other regional cities, lead community outreach programs and workshops and made music with Israeli and Palestinian musicians.

“We were in awe of being in such a historical place, one of the most sacred places in the world,” Rader Schonbrun said...Antigone Rising performed for Jewish and Arab high school students in Beer Sheva...The band members also did cultural outreach programs/shows every morning with performances at night. They did television and radio appearances at Kol Ha Campus and visited an all-women’s radio station in Ramallah called Niss'A FM.

Kristen Henderson did a station visit to "Good Morning Palestine" in Ramallah. “This station had been bombed a few years back as a direct target as a media center,” Rader Schonbrun said. “They were apologetic that it was never able to be fully rebuilt.”...There was a rap band from one of the Palestinian Refugee camps (they had to be back by curfew at 11 p.m.) that rapped to the Antigone Rising song "Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring."

...Rader Schonbrun said. “...We were overwhelmed by the warm and welcoming response we received from Israel and the West Bank. We can't wait to be invited back.”


And, again, (and again) this cultural/music tour, as have other activities and events, missed the Jewish residential locations in Judea and Samaria. And we have two concert halls - in Ariel and Kiryat Arba - as well as halls in most of the big communities.

I guess the American bodies that dealt with the tour simply discriminate. We aren't worthy enough for such things.


From Nina Camp's blog

...the van takes us through east jerusalem and we wind our way along the infamous wall that separates the palestinian cities from the israelite territory. the story of the wall (and of this country) is so vastly complicated that our embassy liaison, try as she might, simply can’t put into words or a timeline just how complicated the situation here really is. at least not in a way that we can truly understand. however, we do start to realize just how real this situation is and how difficult it is for those who are actually living through it. i try to imagine just what it would feel like to have a wall built down 5th avenue in nyc. all of a sudden, it will take 1 hour to get from 5 east 5th to 5 west 5th because there is now a wall separating the two and depending on what side you fall on, you might need a permit to get to the other side. im not trying to get political here and i certainly am not passing judgement, but i feel like regardless of where you fall in this debate (and from the looks of it politicians aren’t even close to getting a solution) for people who are living in it day to day, it’s brutal.

slowly the landscape changes from city to mountainside and before long we are approaching the city of ni’lin. the streets wind so tight i wonder if the van will make it through but eventually we near the top of a hill and come upon a small community center. we know there is a program scheduled where the women of ni’lin have prepared some song and dance for us but nothing could have prepared us for the sight of these women lined up along the steps of the community center waiting for us to arrive.

side note: Nil’in village gained international attention several years ago as they demonstrated (and continue to demonstrate) against the building of the wall and continuous land confiscations by the Israeli state and the ongoing struggle for israel and palestine to find peace.

the sight of these women, many dressed in traditional clothing (sewn and embroidered robes representing their heritage, ancestry, and affiliations), lined up waiting for us was overwhleming. i mean, who the hell are we? we play rock and roll music and they’ve never even heard of us! but here they are ready to share themselves and their culture with us. its really a bit much to wrap your head around.

as we made our way into the room (lined w plastic chairs) we were ushered into the front row. as everyone settled a gorgeous little girl in full traditional dress made her way to me. i dont know why but i smiled at her and made some faces as she stared at me. she was about 4 years old and the daughter of one of the ni’lin women. when i managed to get a smile out of her, i reached out and she jumped right into my arms. why? i do’nt know. but before long she was on my lap and curled into me. i think she was tired and the way i see it, american or not, i must have looked like as good a spot as any for her to curl up and nap.

it is a strange sensation to be stared at. we go to the zoo but seldom are we the “exhibit”. for much of this cultural exchange, that’s what it felt like. at one point i found my way to the bathroom and nearly scared the lights out of a young girl. she wasn’t expecting me to turn the corner and when she looked up, there i was. i mean, she JUMPED. there were plenty of other people around so it wasn’t like i snuck up on her.. it was my american-ness that snuck up on her.

...this blog is hardly enough to really convey what the morning held. the energy and the environment, the women and this conflict that is their lives and the openness with which they shared themselves with us is beyond what words can describe. i feel that as americans we are so jaded and accustomed to life as we know it. we seldom wonder about our borders unless we need to protect them and many of us (myself included) have our faces in our cell phones instead of looking out into the world. today i felt what it might be like for a young girl to be empowered just enough to know that her life probably wont change no matter how hard she tries. today i felt what it might be like to be so proud of your culture that when a music group from america says they will come and play for you, you open your doors so wide that they can’t help but see who you are.

this was just the morning.

after this we went to the church of the nativity. where the sweet baby jesus himself began his sanctified life. all in day’s work right?

what a crazy life this is. to think that sometime during my high school years i decided i wanted to learn how to play guitar and forced my pudgy fingers into a G chord until i could play it up to speed with “closer to fine” on a worn out cassette. this morning i was in the village of ni’lin and followed that up with a walk through the church of the nativity laying my hands on the supposed birth place of jesus christ. THE jesus christ everyone calls to when they are scared to death. THE jesus christ everyone calls when they are pissed off. THE jesus christ everyone calls to when shocked… THAT very same jesus christ!

then cappuccino.

then the concert… in a converted PALACE...


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