Friday, April 01, 2005
Bring on the Punk!
posted by: salam max at 12:21 PM
Last week, after the demo to the checkpoint, there was a punk gig in Beit Jala, which is next door to Bethlehem. A punk gig in Beit Jala?! I’m there, I thought – this will be different – and of course it was.

The band had a crew from Germany and Romania with some Italian and Spanish hangers on. They were a lively bunch of anti-fascists, activists, students and musicians. Some of the Israeli anarchists came along too. Throw this lot into a Palestinian youth club after a successful demo and you’ve got a recipe for mayhem…

They played outside the youth club in what would normally be a children’s playground. With a borrowed drum kit and sound system, they roared into gear and soon everyone was bouncing up and down, and into each other in what must have been Beit Jala’s first mosh-pit.

We loved it! Like fish to water, the Palestinian shebab were pogoing about with grins on faces and beers in hand. By the time the police came by to tell the organizers to call it a night (this is after all a residential area, and the gig is outdoors) everyone was calling for more.

One of the Palestinians turned to the German anti-fascist, (both their names I forget), and said; “This punk music, it’s great! There’s so much energy in it – you can let out all your anger and aggression, but without hurting anybody!”

They were so chuffed, as you can imagine.

And so was I. I met some great people from all over, and there was a spontaneously internationalist feeling you rarely get at organized events like these. It wasn’t a solidarity gig for Palestinians, rather people simply sharing a good time together, after a demo against the occupation, and all coming from the same perspective: That night, we were one, and shared a moment of humanity together.

Most of us will never see each other again, though of course numbers and email addresses were swapped. But it doesn’t matter; we’ll carry on traveling our separate ways and struggling through this crazy world for a better life, knowing that our new found sisters and brothers are out there somewhere doing the same.

We shared a night of libertarian punk in occupied Palestine. I hope for all of us there’ll be more nights like these.
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