Strings of Freedom Disbanded

29 03 2009


Strings of Freedom - AP

Strings of Freedom - AP

I suppose that the international hype over a Palestinian youth orchestra performing for Holocaust survivors last Wednesday was not matched by Palestinian enthusiasm.

On March 25th, a group of 13 young musicians from the Jenin Refugee Camps in the West Bank performed for Holocaust survivors in the Israeli city of Holon. It was part of the annual “Good Deeds Day” celebration. See my post “Yes, We Can Do It Through Art.”

A friend alerted me to a follow-up article in the New York Times, about anger among Palestinians in Jenin over this “exploitation” of children. The anger was strong enough to disband the group, and ban the conductor, Arab-Israeli Wafa Younis, from the camp and the apartment where she taught.

News sources report that Holocaust denial is common among Palestinians. The anger here, stems from the idea that performing for Holocaust survivors represents an acknowledgment that undermines Palestinians’ own plight caused by Israel.

This is idiotic chaos.

People seem to be competing over who suffered more; who has more right to be acknowledged. It was a musical performance. The point was to bring people together through music, not politics. Those Holocaust survivors must have learned something about the Jenin Refugee Camps and the harsh life in it, and those young Palestinians must have learned something about the suffering of Jews and those who survived it.

The real victims here are the young students who gave much of their time and passion to Strings of Freedom. The Palestinians have effectively punished their own.

We need more brave acts like that of Wafa Younis and the Holocaust Survivor Center organizers. Acknowledging and sympathizing with the Jews who have suffered DOES NOT negate or undermine the suffering of Palestinians. It is NOT an either-or situation.



2 responses

29 12 2009
25 01 2010

Thank you for your help!


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