Palestine Vision: An Astonishing Night of Music at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill as an Alternative to the Tainted Eurovision Song Contest

Photos from ‘Palestine Vision.’ Clockwise from top L: Dr. Abdelfattah Abusrour, Bashar Murad, Tamer Nafar and Yaz (Photos: Andy Worthington).

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On Tuesday evening (May 7), I was humbled, honoured and privileged to attend ‘Palestine Vision’, an evening of Palestinian music at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill, London W11, which featured Palestinian musicians from the global diaspora of Palestinian refugees, as well as performances by Palestinian musicians flown in from the Occupied Territories, and from Israel itself. The programme is available here.

Sadly, but understandably, there were no musicians from the Gaza Strip, essentially because those musicians who have not been murdered by Israel since October 7 — as part of targeted bombings aimed specifically at cultural figures, or via the ceaseless and indiscriminate carpet bombing — are trapped in what, for many years, has been described as an “open-air prison”, but which, since Israel’s genocide began seven months ago, has become the world’s largest concentration camp.

The event was organized by the Bethlehem Cultural Festival, established in 2020, and was specifically labeled as an alternative to the Eurovision Song Contest, timed to coincide with Eurovision’s first round of semi-finals, prior to the grand final this Saturday, in Malmö, Sweden, in which, disgracefully, Israel is taking part, despite being engaged in a genocide of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

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Ten Weeks of Genocide in Gaza: 25,000 Palestinians Killed, A Land in Ruins, And Still No Sign of a Ceasefire

Civilians rounded up in northern Gaza, stripped and carried away in vehicles to an undisclosed location, December 7, 2023.

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In my nearly 61 years on this earth, I’ve never felt as sick as I do now, watching in real time, as I have for the last ten weeks, a genocide taking place in the Gaza Strip, where 2.3 million Palestinians, trapped in an “open-air prison”, as they have been since 2007, with no means of escape, are being killed at a scale that is unprecedented in the history of warfare in my lifetime, while western leaders offer largely unconditional support — and weapons — and Israel continues to portray itself as the victim.

As of December 14, the death toll had reached 24,711, according to the Geneva-based Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, which takes its figures from the health ministry in Gaza, and adds those missing and presumed dead under the rubble of destroyed buildings.

Of the dead — killed for the most part as a result of Israel’s relentless bombing of residential areas — 9,643 were children and babies, 5,109 were women, and 93%, according to Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, were civilians.

The death toll is so colossal, and so relentless, that, on average, 365 people have been killed every day, including 140 children and babies; that’s six children every hour, or one every ten minutes over a period of more than two months; in other words, in response to the deadly attacks by Hamas militants on October 7, in which around 1,200 people were killed (and even disregarding the as yet unknown numbers killed by the Israelis themselves), Israel has been killing a comparative number of Palestinians twice a week for the last ten weeks.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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