Fundraising for the Gaza Music School – please be generous!

The Gaza Music School (GMS) needs your help. Please give generously.  (Text below taken from the fundraising website). The GMS is now part of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music. Please donate here.

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The GMS was launched with the fundamental goal to develop music education, promote music appreciation, to introduce music as a tool for creative free expression and to the improvement of the creative potential of children in Gaza though music. The GMS has since been a place where musically talented children (aged 7-16) are incubated, where they learn the joy of music, and share it with their community. The School has also opened opportunities for children’s talents and skills to grow and be exposed to a variety of cultures through the international language of music.

The school opens opportunities for musically talented children, ages 7-16, to learn the joy of music, and share it with their community.  About 185 students are currently enrolled in the school’s regular program, which offers lessons for seven instruments: oud, violin, piano, guitar, qanun, trumpet, and cello.

The Gaza Music School contributes to filling in the huge gap of music teaching in schools    and among children and youth in Gaza where arts courses in general and music in particular have been constantly negligencted in Palestinian schools  generally. Arts centres in Gaza  are either inexistnet or lack the specialized cadre, let alone discouragement from the schools or families for their children to get enrolled in such creative fields.This project is a challenge to the imposed closures and state of isolation as well as a challenge to social hindrances since it involves equally male and female students.

In Gaza Strip , closures, isolation and fragmentation imposed by Israel, are negatively affecting all forms of Palestinians’ daily life. This project contributes to activating cultural life, enabling the ESNCM to expand its academic and non-academic programs in order to reach a wider range of the society to learn and enjoy music, promoting music and musicians, and enhancing internal and international exchange. Such activities have a great influence to elevate people’s hope, resilience, perseverance and steadfastness amid all daily encounters of despair and frustration.

The A.M. Qattan Foundation Launched the Gaza Music School (GMS) project in July 2008, in response to growing demand for music education in the Gaza Strip.  GMS started as a three-year pilot project with co-funding partnership from the Swedish International Development Agency.  It offers the first-ever structured and long-term music education programme in Gaza.  While the ESNCM gave it’s technical and academic support helping the school management to establish its curricular and academic set up.

In January 2009, GMS was destroyed during the Israeli war on Gaza.  In recognition of the vitality of the GMS to the social, psychological, and artistic development of children – and against tremendous odds – the A.  M.  Qattan Foundation re-opened the School three months later in a new expanded space, and adding to the team to accommodate the growing number of students.  Support of the reopening effort came from individuals and institutions locally and from Sweden, Norway, the UK, Germany, France and the USA.

Following an agreement between the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music and the Qattan Foundation, the GazaMusicSchool was handed to the ESNCM on April 1st 2012, therefore becoming the Conservatory’s fifth branch in Palestine. The ESNCM is now responsible for the school’s financial, academic and administrative issues.

WATCH the Audio Slideshow on GazaMusicSchool here on the BBC website.

Here is an article about the GMS in the British Independent.

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Unbalanced circles : a response to Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo is a native American poet and musician. She is currently visiting Israel, where she was invited by Tel Aviv University. She accepted the invitation, despite many appeals to her to cancel the performance.

I googled her name and just came upon her latest entry on her blog, which reads as follows: Down.  I will be taking Facebook down tonight for awhile. Thanks to my supporters. Thanks to those who disagreed with my stance but were willing to dialogue with civility. We live in a circle. A circle has no sides. Maybe the circle of life on this earth has been broken. Maybe not–Either way, I do not condone killing of anyone. Never have…

In me it created the following response.  I have submitted it to her comment section, and perhaps she will ‘approve’ it. In the meantime I will also post it here.

To Joy:

“We live in a circle. A circle has no sides.”

How nice this sounds.

But there are different kinds of circles. And some circles need to be broken. Have you not considered that?

The Palestinian people are caught in a circle that needs to be broken. A circle of perpetuate injustice, of collective punishments, of continued deprivation of their rights. And ultimately, in a circle of violence. Children are born into this circle, grow up in it, and many die within it. But you know this, Joy!

The boycott-divestment-sanctions movement seeks to break this destructive circle by non-violent means.

Together we have the power to help restore harmony in that part of the world that you are visiting right now. Your visit to only one “side”  (there are sides!) tilts the weight to the side that already has all the power, all the military might. And even claims to have all the moral weight. While it kills children with its bombs.

I hope in the future you will join those who seek to shift the weight to restore a circle where all can live with dignity. A circle that is inclusive of Palestinians, and everyone, regardless of religion and ethnicity.

It takes courage to make circles change.

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(Source of circles.)