Gaza: rap-rock music video "We teach life" goes viral

Palestinian band records while Israeli warplanes drop bombs

25 August, 19:22

    A frame from the music video 'We teach Life, Sir'. A frame from the music video 'We teach Life, Sir'.

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    (ANSAmed) - ROME - A rap-rock music video made during fighting in the Gaza Strip has garnered thousands of views since its Internet release Sunday.

    "We recorded the music while Israeli airplanes were bombing very close to our studio" and then "we took advantage of the ceasefire to meet, videotape and do everything else that was still necessary," said Ayman Mghamis, one of the young musicians of the video entitled "We teach life, sir", whose rock and rap rhythms have gone viral.

    "We are all in Gaza," continued Ayman, reached by ANSAmed via email. He added with a winking smile icon, "and we are trying to still survive".

    The rest of the story is told by the video: women and men who, like them, live and survive among the bombs, the destruction, the collapsing minarets, the fishermen in the port, the many children that greet the camera and smile. The music accompanies the words of Rafeeh Ziadah, a young poetess and Palestinian activist who lives in London and wrote the 2011 poem, "We teach life, sir" that inspired the video.

    Ziadah herself appears in the video. She has authored the album Hadeel and was the representative for Gaza and the West Bank at the 2012 Poetry Olympics. "Today, my body was a TV'd massacre that had to fit into soundbites and word limits filled with statistics to counter measured responses," Ziadah recites to a piano arrangement.

    "I perfected my English and I learned my UN resolutions, but still he asked me, 'Ms. Ziadah, don't you think everything would be resolved if you just stopped teaching so much hatred to your children?' Pause," she recites.

    "I looked inside of me for the strength to be patient," continues rapper Ayman in the video. "But patience is not at the tip of my tongue as the bombs drop over Gaza. Patience has just escaped me," he goes on over video of anguished faces and a building blast.

    "We teach life, sir. We teach life, sir," then sings the whole Watar Band, with the video passing from the rapper Ayman to Khaled Harara and the other members, each wearing a traditional keffiyeh scarf around his neck. Their faces in black and white give way to images of life and war in Gaza, elderly people and children, blasts and crumbling homes, and a man who desperately screams, "Send me an ambulance!".

    The band members rap in Arabic, "In Gaza life and death are the same thing….If our dreams were besieged inside the clouds the dream will remain inside us".

    Then musicians give voice to the rage in Ziadah's poem, "So, I give them UN resolutions and statistics and we condemn and we deplore and we reject. And these are not two equal sides: occupier and occupied".

    "And I recount a hundred dead, a thousand dead. Is anyone out there? Will anyone listen?" An old woman, seen from behind, walks slowly along a lane, leaning her hand against a wall as the credits roll: director Mohammed Jabaly and musicians Alaa Shoublaq, Shady Abu Shahla, Mohammed Lomani, Khamis Abu Shaman, Khaled Harara. The arrangement is by Anas Najjar and the video produced by Palestinian Unit Group.

    In Gaza, music is professionally made and recorded even under bombing. (ANSAmed).

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