Palestinian Dance and Hip Hop at SCSU

by Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace

On Thursday, March 30, Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven will be partnering with SCSU Women’s Studies Department and Tree of Life to present the touring Shoruq Debka and Hip Hop. Shoruq, an initiative of Palestinian refugees, has two debka dance troupes (traditional Palestinian dance), one for adolescents and one for younger children. Participants are trained in dance techniques that allow them to express their thoughts, opinions and national identity. The troupe of dancers in the tour are age 13-16.
Shoruq envisions Palestinian refugees striving individually and collectively to attain and exercise their rights, especially the right of return to their original lands, and realizing dignified lives for themselves in the meanwhile until their return. It provides free legal aid and psychosocial support to refugee children in conflict with the law; owns and operates a media center that offers trainings and access to equipment to help children, youth and professionals generate media forms including music, online radio, video; uses art as a tool for advocacy; and creates many projects geared towards the social development of the refugee community.

Shoruq’s hip hop group is specialized for girls, currently 9 girls. The girls write about their feelings and experiences as refugees and as girls to share them with the world. They re-cord their original songs at Shoruq’s media center. Hip hop is a means for advocating and reinforcing children rights and refugee rights. They meet regularly to share new ideas and get training from Shoruq’s volunteers who have a good background in hip hop.

An excerpt from one of the Shoruq songs:
All I need in this life, is to be free
Free, from this cage, but I need a key
The key for a life waiting for me
If only you’ve seen what my eyes still see`
Problems after problems, yet in poverty
IDENTIFIED, without identity
I will fight for my country till eternity under the name of justice, humanity I want to live, I want to learn, and I want to be successful
Even if it’s stressful
Just for staying alive, for life I am grateful
I’m right here, and that’s what I rap for
All my life I’ve been paying them up prices
I’m depending on luck, so I’m just throwing dices

Details: March 30, 7:30 p.m. Engleman Hall, C112, SCSU, 501 Crescent St., New Haven. $15 general, $5 students, available at www.eventbrite.com/e/palestinian-debka-hip-hop-in-new-haven-tickets-31114730998 or email newhaven@jvp.org Web: www.jvpnh.org Facebook: jvpnewhaven Twitter: @jvpnewhaven.

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