In June this year 15 members of the Lajee Center will leave Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, Palestine and travel to Scotland & Ireland on an Arts & Cultural Tour. Building on the success of last year’s tour, Lajee has organised a diverse and educational programme which is representative of Palestinian culture and life with insight into the positive work and activities of the Lajee Center.
The tour members are young, active artists and dancers aged between 15 and 20 years old, with four adult coordinators and speakers. Through an exciting and engaging programme of events in Scotland & Ireland they will be performing traditional Palestinian Dabka dance, showcasing their award winning photography & films, and talking about aspects of the their situation in Palestine and life as refugees in their own land.
The tour will begin in Scotland on the 14th of June with events in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee then Perth. Then from 24th – 30th June events in Ireland will be Derry, Belfast and then Dublin.
Here is a link to a sample of last year’s Dabke performances last year in Dundee, Scotland: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFyWTihh170.
Aida refugee camp has a population of 5000 inhabitants and is surrounded on three sides by the apartheid wall with oppressive watchtowers, surveillance cameras and daily invasions from the occupation forces.
In the last few months, many have been shot and injured, one 15 year old boy Saleh Ammarin was killed, and 28 youths have been arrested in night raids. On 8th April, the head of Lajee’s Media Unit, while on the balcony of the Center, was shot in the face while photographing and documenting the soldiers shooting at youth in the camp (http://www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/features/up-close/6244-photos-palestinian-photographer-shot-in-face-by-israeli-forces.html) .
The people of Aida and members of Lajee refuse to be silenced, they refuse their culture and lives to be expropriated by an illegal occupation. Lajee’s amazing work of supporting the community and spreading awareness of the Palestinian case internationally is a commitment to fighting for justice and our support as sisters and brothers is a demonstration of our dedication to stand with them throughout.
This project provides a platform to Aida’s youth to express their talents and creativity, to share their stories, lives and hopes for the future; it is an opportunity to further resist the restraint of silence imposed by the occupation. It is important for them and us to forge and strengthen our networks of solidarity between Palestine, Scotland and Ireland.
We are raising money to cover the cost of travel in order for this project to go ahead. This is a call to support Palestinian refugees, to support Lajee Center in Aida refugee camp and show our solidarity as well as learn together about how we can help. Please share this call; we are appealing to all organisations, mosques, churches and trade union branches to co-sponsor this project. We still have a target of £5600 which will cover all transportation costs which will bring the group to Scotland and Ireland and their travelling within the countries.
Every pound will be a significant contribution to making this tour happen: http://lajeeculturaltour.wordpress.com/donate/.