Slingshot Hiphop: The Palestinian Lyrical Front

Last night, a group of us ended up at the Bethlehem Peace Center to hear DAM perform, a Palestinian hiphop rap group (some video I took is here). Apparently, there are a lot of Palestinian rap groups in the states (one of them being Iron Sheik). It was pretty good stuff. I was also told about this trailer for a documentary entitled Slingshot Hiphop. You can view the trailer here. The documentary looks like it will be pretty intense and definitely something worth checking out. The description for it says:

“SlingShot Hip Hop is a documentary film that focuses on the daily life of Palestinian rappers living in Gaza, the West Bank and inside Israel. It aims SlingShot Hip Hop is a documentary film that focuses on the daily life of Palestinian rappers living in Gaza, the West Bank and inside Israel. It aims to spotlight alternative voices of resistance within the Palestinian struggle and explore the role their music plays within their social, political and personal lives.to spotlight alternative voices of resistance within the Palestinian struggle and explore the role their music plays within their social, political and personal lives.

Watch the trailer – it’s powerful. I know that hiphop has been an expression of music that has been used as a way of getting out the word of a variety of political messages – and this is one that I fully support now, especially after having been living here for just a week.

Tomorrow we are off to Hebron. I’m sure I’ll have a lot to write about that experience.

Olive Wood carving

One of the treasures of the Palestinian land and heritage is its olive trees and the carvings that are made out of the wood. This is another reason that the Israelis build their settlement by-pass roads directly through olive tree fields; as well, they often uproot the trees and sometimes even replant them within their settlements. The above photo is of a wood carving of Jesus and the 12 disciples from the Last Supper. Incredible detail and it was just beautiful wood…

How to be present…?

Have I mentioned yet how much I love free wireless internet in Bethlehem? I’m sitting Reem Al Bawadi, the restaurant right next door to the Holy Land Trust’s office, and I’m soaking up their free wireless, so thanks Holy Land Trust! The above picture is from our time last night at The Tent in Beit Sahour, a wonderful restaurant that I’ll be making sure to get to many times during my stay here. For about $9 last night, I got a Corona (yup! Corona in Bethlehem) and a huge barbecued chicken dish with fries. It was very very good – and of course, everyone is smoking the argilah, having conversations and just getting a chance to chill in the summer evening with the beautiful and refreshing evening breeze come through the tent.

It was good to spend some time getting to know some of the “participants” (or whatever you call us) better last night. It’s a pretty diverse group I think, and that is very cool. I’m still trying to figure out how to really be as present here in the Holy Lands as I can be. My heart is most definitely with Sarah in Atlanta right now (and then it will move to Rochester, Boston, New Mexico and then Scotland), but it is also very important for me to be fully present here in Palestine as well. I want that; Sarah wants that for me. I’m just having a hard time figuring out what that looks like when a lot of the time, all I want to think about is Sarah and all of the fun stuff we have to think about and our future together…

…but at the same time, I have an amazing opportunity to be “here” (granted, it’s a long way away from Sarah) this summer, and we both know that I need to be fully present here. In Sarah’s post on “Presence” she wrote the following: “I want to be fully present. I don’t want to spend time and energy worrying about the future or regretting the past. I want to be fully present in each moment I’m given.” I want to seek how to be present with Sarah in my love for her, as well as being fully present in Palestine with experiences, people, new friendships and contacts, new scenery. We’ll figure it out – omnipresence sure would be nice sometimes…