31 March 2009

The silenced orchestra

According to this BBC article, a West Bank children's orchestra was disbanded by the parents and neighbors after a performance given in an Israeli town of Holon (Not "Horon" as misprinted in the article).

So what is the crime perpetrated by the youngsters? It appears that the presence of a few Holocaust survivors in the audience was interpreted as a "political event":

Adnan Hindi, a social leader in the Jenin refugee camp, accused the group's director of "exploiting" the children for political reasons.
Well, to start with, there wasn't even a hint of politics, since:
It was part of the Good Deeds Day event set up by an Israeli billionaire. Good Deeds Day is an annual event to foster "hope and brotherhood" founded by Israeli billionaire Shari Arison.
It is quite a stretch of imagination to find politics in the life and deeds of this specific billionaire. But even if there is a smidgen of truth in the paranoid accusation of Mr Hindi, these are the kind of politics any normal person will bless without hesitation (you would think so, at least).

Then came the punitive measures. Disbanding the orchestra wasn't enough. According to the (watered down) BBC report:
The room in the house of the orchestra's director, Wafa Younis, where the teenagers practiced, has been locked and boarded up, local residents say. Parents are also said to have stopped their children from participating in the group...
According to JP/AP report, the vengeance went further: Wafa Younis has been barred from the camp (She is an Israeli Arab from the village of Ara). Also:
Sources in the camp said that the political factions in Jenin have also decided to ban an Israeli Arab woman who helped organize the event from entering the city.
The wave of paranoid outrage went even further:
Adnan al-Hinda, director of the Popular Committee for Services in the Jenin refugee camp, said that the participation of the children in the concert was a "dangerous matter" because it was directed against the cultural and national identity of the Palestinians.
And further:
He accused "suspicious elements" of being behind the Holon event, saying they were seeking to "impact the national culture of the young generation and cast doubt about the heroism and resistance of the residents of the camp during the Israeli invasion in April 2002."
But the most revealing statement belongs to a political representative of our partners in the peace process:
Ramzi Fayad, a spokesman for various political factions in the Jenin refugee camp, also condemned the participation of the teenagers in the Holocaust event, saying all the groups were strongly opposed to any form of normalization with Israel.
Yeah... if you feel the peace in the Middle East in your waters, better send your waters in for an analysis. Sad.