Jews and Palestinians, Israeli citizens AN OPEN LETTER TO METALLICA January 4, 2010
Halls of Justice Painted Green Money Talking Power Wolves Beset Your Door Hear Them Stalking Soon You`ll Please Their Appetite They Devour Hammer of Justice Crushes You Overpowerג€¦
(`ג€¦And Justice for All`, Metallica)
Now that the opportunity to truly promote justice for all is in your hands ג€“ will you let the money do the talking, or will you advance change?
We are Jews and Palestinians, Israeli citizens, who enjoy your music and respect your ideas about justice. Due to the prolonged Israeli occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people; and, in the hope of contributing to the growing effort to pressure Israel and its privileged Jewish citizens to comply with universal human rights and principles - we write to you today, urging you to postpone indefinitely your planned gig in Israel.
After Israel`s brutal military attack on Gaza in December 2008-January 2009 and in light of the years-long siege on Gaza, the Palestinian-initiated global BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel) movement has gained world-wide recognition and increasing support. Artists, from musicians to filmmakers, academics, authors as well as various organizations and groups have said NO to the violation and attack on Palestinians` basic human rights and necessities by joining the call for BDS.
It could not be clearer today that staying neutral in the face of the ruthless, criminal oppression of the Palestinians, is not an option. Performing in Israel sends a message of normalization to the racist, violent and unjust Israeli regime, that has been rightfully described by many as apartheid.
The Israeli apartheid is favoring Jews over all Palestinians, including those who are Palestinian citizens and residents of Israel. Palestinians inside Israel`s pre-1967 borders are continually excluded and discriminated in every aspect of social life, such as land ownership, housing, education, health, citizenship eligibility and the legal system.
Throughout Palestine\Israel and in the Diaspora, millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants are still blocked from returning to their homes, or even homeland, and refused compensation for the enormous loss inflicted upon them by Israel. Most of the Palestinians are stateless and many live in refugee camps.
The reluctance of most of the worldג€™s governments to truly pressure Israel continues to embolden successive Israeli governments to commit more violent acts and violate numerous international laws. It is up to us, citizens of the world, to lead the struggle against Israeli crimes and atrocities. Dissociating ourselves from Israelג€™s oppressive policies is a non-violent way to avoid becoming complicit in the killing, wounding, maiming, and robbing of Palestinians, and to object to it.
Unfortunately, for the majority of Israelis to recognize Palestinian rights, a fundamental shift in Israeli mentality is required. After years of attempts to change the minds and hearts of the Israeli public, we believe that this change can now only be achieved through substantial external pressure. We see, as time passes, our society becoming more and more callous, institutionally racist and economically oppressive towards the Palestinians.
Given your longstanding, vocal commitment to ideas of true justice for all, we cannot envision you cooperating with continued Israeli defiance of justice and morality and playing a part in the Israeli charade of self-righteousness. The least one can do in such a situation is to avoid indifference and a ג€business as usualג€ attitude. We appeal to you to add your voice to those brave people, the world over, who boycott Israel, such as musicians Roger Waters and John Williams. We urge you to postpone indefinitely your planned gig in Israel and say no to apartheid until there is freedom and justice here.
Noa Abend Nitzan Aviv Yoram Bar-Haim Ronnie Barkan Dalit Baum Eitan Bronstein Adi Dagan Hamutal Erato Rachel Giora Iris Hefets Yael Lerer Edo Medicks Ofer Neiman David Nir Jonathan Pollak Emily Schaeffer Ayala Shani Tal Shapira Yonatan Shapira Yana Ziferblat
Mashrouʼ Leila is not a bandʼs name. It is not a proper noun per se; Mashrouʼ Leila is Arabic for ʻan overnight projectʼ lusting out a microphone, a violin, a bass, two guitars, drums and keyboards. It started out as a music workshop at the American University of Beirut in 2008, an open platform for students of architecture and design, somewhere to experiment with sounds and make things audible. Haig Papazian, Carl Gerges, Hamed Sinno, Omaya Malaeb, Andre Chedid, Firas Abou Fakher and Ibrahim Badr have enjoyed this sound fetish savoring its façade of nonchalance and feeding on its lack of genre – sustaining their collective as Mashrouʼ Leila, an experiment.
You can hear Leila, cascading melts of masculine vocals only suspended with thrusts of violin, beats and bass – attacked by neurotic melody that means no harm – sometimes tender, even sometimes on pause. Through the music, you can smell where Leila has been, in bed sheets, on sidewalks, jasmines in riﬂes and spilled coffee on dresses as she made you play with aubergines, dancing her dance. Music has constantly been their place to play with things, to match and mis-match, a project.
In the various performances, Mashrouʼ Leila is a constant attempt to taste and produce, more than happy to harvest anyone from the audience as a guest in their encores. They have performed around Lebanon since 2008, playing in various venues in Beirut, taking over supposed public piazzas as well as clubs, pubs, hybrids and the such – they also played in Zahle, Sour, Jounieh, Saida and Deir el Qamar, each of which pushed forward their thinking about how to go about their music, lyrics and performance. It is only when Mashrouʼ Leila goes live, that you can actually catch a glimpse of Leila. As it talks to you of Beirut, the city that tastes of the absurd, the product of its day-to-day experiences, its stubborn security and lack of the latter, its musical bombshells, incoherent sexuality and thrusting pleasure…narcotic pain – as it brings forward hints of Arabic Tarab, rock, to folk pop, electro, you can see Leila in every man and woman in the silent- come-raving audience. In this trajectory, they participated in music workshops and concerts in Amman and Cairo to maneuver their way into a pan-Arab music scene, to know and to announce, more importantly to grow, musically.
In March 2009, Mashrouʼ Leila won the Lebanese Modern Music Contest jury prize and public vote organized by Radio Liban in partnership with CCF, Incognito and the Basement. They are currently recording their debut album with B-root Productions, to be released in December 2009. The music in the album is a reclamation of the aftertaste; sequel-ing a dose of Beirut.