Category Archives: Resistance

Solidarity with Gaza and Palestine

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french protest smoke colours   French activists in Paris release smoke in Palestinian colours in solidarity with Gaza

Dear friends,

I have not had a lot of time to post on Red Butterfly Effect this month due to Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza, which has now claimed the lives of more than 1050 people – the majority of whom are civilian, including hundreds of children. As a result, my focus has primarily been on the Gaza/Palestine solidarity campaign, including regularly updating my Palestine blog, Live from Occupied Palestine. with updates about what is happening in Gaza and the rallies in support of Gaza and the Palestinian people have been taking place both in Australia and Internationally. 

If you are interested in being updated on the situation in Gaza and the Australian and international solidarity campaign, you can check out Live from Occupied Palestine by clicking here.

Here are some direct links to photo essays of the Gaza solidarity rallies in Melbourne, around Australia and internationally.

Photo Essay: Melbourne Rally Against Israel’s Brutality in Palestine – 12 July 2014

Video & Photos: From around the world – Protests for Gaza and Palestine against Israel’s aggression.

Melbourne stands with Palestine: No to Israel’s war crimes in Gaza – 19 July 2014

Photo Essay: Australian rallies for Gaza against Israel’s war crimes – 19 & 20th July 2014

Melbourne stands with Gaza: Thousands stand in solidarity with Palestine, call for the Australian govt to break ties with Apartheid Israel

I have included below just some of the tweets from journalists and Palestinians in Gaza on the situation there (click on image to enlarge). 

in solidarity, Kim

B1 saftawi 8 laragaza scape

laz5 reuters2un4un51cnnFireShot Screen Capture #330 - 'Twitter _ MMVickery_ This is #Gaza_ Plumes of smoke ___' - twitter_com_MMVickery_status_492035542264328192shajiyacnn1FireShot Screen Capture #248 - 'Twitter _ JFXM_ #Gaza medics breaking down ___' - twitter_com_JFXM_status_490996797096349696larsim2reuters3childrenp2  FireShot Screen Capture #328 - 'Twitter _ millerC4_ #c4news #Gaza A uni prof who ___' - twitter_com_millerC4_status_491522733864669184FireShot Screen Capture #433 - 'Twitter _ AFP_ Gazans dig dead from rubble ___' - twitter_com_AFP_status_493061854286323713kel1kelFireShot Screen Capture #441 - 'Twitter _ sheikhNB_ One by one, members of the ___' - twitter_com_sheikhNB_status_492961620448919552

 

  

 

Melbourne: Union and Community Protest against the Abbott/Hockey Federal Budget – 6 July 2014

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A selection of photos from the Melbourne July 6 Trade Union and Community Bust the Budget rally and march: An estimated 5,000 to 10,000  turned out to oppose Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey’s classwar budget attacking workers, students, pensioners and the poor.

All photos: Kim Bullimore  (click individual photos to view enlarged version)

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Aamer Rahman: How Racist is Australia? Pretty Damn Racist.

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Dear friends,

I am reblogging my friend and fellow activist, Aamer Rahman’s excellent article which was published recently by Crikey and which appears on his Tumblr.  Aamer is one of Australia’s best young political comedians.  For the last couple of years he has been performing with Nazeen Hussain, as part of Fear of a Brown Planet.  Aamer has also been a political activist since his university days, campaigning against racism and social injustice.

If you haven’t already checked out his Tumblr, you can do so by clicking here.  I have also included below the article, two short videos showcasing his political comedy, as well as Australian Story’s 2011 program on Fear of a Brown Planet.

in solidarity, Kim

How Racist is Australia? Pretty Damn Racist.

This is my response (originally published in Crikey) to Mark Sawyer’s article ‘How Racist Are You’ published in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald last week (http://www.smh.com.au/comment/how-racist-are-you-20140611-zs43h.html)

 

Dear Mark,
As a comedian I very much appreciated your satirical piece ‘How Racist Are You?’ published in The Age last week.  I think you captured the attitude and tone of Overly Defensive And Clueless White Man perfectly.  It’s actually  inspired me to write my own piece called “Hey Ladies, Pipe Down About Sexism.”

Of course, I’m being silly.  You didn’t write it as a parody piece. The truth is much more embarrassing. This is what you, and plenty of others, actually think: apparently racism is totes not a thing any more.

Being told by white people that racism is a figment of our imagination is nothing new.  I know well enough that when looking for some quality racism, the best place to start is with the guy screaming “I’m not racist!” You did not disappoint.

Thank you for the awkward list of times you didn’t challenge people’s casual racist comments.  As the kids say nowadays, cool story bro.  And maybe you’re right – there is nothing that justifies calling Australia uniquely racist. Not the specific genocide of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, cultures and languages, an unparalleled migration history that banned non-white immigration here until the early 70s, or our one-of-a-kind anti-asylum regime.  These are things that happened pretty much everywhere, right?  But seriously, why let history and facts get in the way of a white guy’s Feelings About Stuff.

You’re correct, far right parties like One Nation are a thing of the past. But only because their rampant xenophobia was quickly co-opted, re-branded and shared between Labor and Liberal, making Hanson totally redundant.  In an era where our Attorney General openly defends the art of bigotry, Pauline’s services are no longer required.

You ask how many people alive are truly racist.  I don’t know the exact figures, Mark. But ask yourself if the life expectancy statistics that apply to Aboriginal people – well below the national average – would be tolerated if they applied to any other group in this country .  Ask yourself if our system of militarised  border protection and detention – recognised as exceptional the world over – would be acceptable to the Australian public if it was designed to intercept, round up and indefinitely incarcerate white people.

These things cannot exist without a sizeable population of what you refer to as ‘true racists.’ The fact that, as a nation, we accept and allow such things to happen is not an accident or the result of simple misunderstandings. They are the calculated outcomes of generations of programming.  Maybe racism is less about white people making unfortunate comments and more about systemic inequalities that have become the permanent and invisible background noise of Australian culture.  To quote you, it may pay to look at the bigger picture.

It’s 2014, champ. Racism isn’t about segregated lunch counters and people refusing to shake hands any more.  Racism is about this country’s obsession with defining boundaries of inclusion and exclusion, and the pervasive and violent ways in which those boundaries are maintained.  Racism is about two major parties collaborating for years to convince a white majority, through various codes, that they are perpetually at risk of losing out to lazy Aborigines, ghettoised migrants, dishonest asylum seekers and suspicious Muslims.  Racism is a government using free speech rhetoric to facilitate racial vilification.  Racism is, in a climate of perpetual fear and hostility, The Age choosing to publish some childish nonsense about how there’s no such thing as racism.

You’re convinced things have changed. I’m pretty confident they haven’t.

Aamer Rahman is a standup comic and writer in Melbourne.  He is currently touring his solo show The Truth Hurts in the UK and does not miss Australia.

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Aamer Rahman: Refugees

Aamer Rahman: Reverse Racism

Australian Story: Fear of A Brown Planet – 7 November 2011

FIFA World Cup 2014 Protests: Money for housing, schools and health; not for stadiums, state repression and corruption

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The FIFA World Cup starts on Friday in Brazil.  In the lead up to the competition, hundreds of thousands of Brazilians have taken to the street to protest the government’s spending of billions of dollars on stadiums and venues to host the event,  while failing to spend money on health care, schooling and housing for the poor.  Protesters have also been demonstrating against the forced removal of more than 250,00 people from their homes, as well as the “hygienisation” (or forced expulsion) of the homeless and the millions spent on arming the police in order for them to attack ordinary Brazilians who protest the FIFA world cup and government.

The Brazilian government has sought to introduce new “terrorism” laws which criminalise the right to protest. Amnesty International has warned that this is little more than a crack down on free speech and freedom of expression.

Despite severe police and state repression against protests in May, protesters have vowed to continue their protests.  Worker are also planning to launch a series of strikes during the World Cup.

For more information on the protests against the World Cup, you can check out the website of the Popular Committee Against the Cup, which includes a protest manifesto and other information on why the people of Brazil are protesting.  To access the website,  please click here.

 

15 mayInternational Day Against the World Cup, May 15 (text of flyer)

Which is and will be the legacy of the 2014 soccer world cup?

  • 9 deaths during the renovation of / in the soccer arenas of the world cup and 3 deaths in arenas which follow the same standards;
  • 250.000 people forcefully removed from their homes;
  • Street vendors and independent artists who are forbidden to work;
  • Women, children and adolescents who suffer from sexual exploitation;
  • Homeless people who suffer violence and ”hygienisation” (are expelled from the downtown area);
  • Private corporations taking care of public space and streets;
  • Elitisation of the soccer stadiums;
  • Billions invested in armament of the police to use against the people;
  • Laws declaring state of emergency and criminalising demonstrations;
  • And an immense and questionable public debt the people will have to pay.

For this legacy, we hold responsible the corporations sponsoring the FIFA world cup, the construction companies, the mafias FIFA and CBF (Brazilian soccer federation), the municipal, state and federal governments, as well as the legislative and judicial branches!

What do we demand?

  • A decent home for all persons removed from their homes! Key for key!
  • End of the violence of the state and of the “hygienisation” in the downtown area!
  • Immediate revocation of FIFA’s “exclusive areas”, laid down in the “general law for the world cup” and permission for street workers to sell in these areas!
  • Creation of campaigns to fight sexual exploitation and human trafficking!
  • Non – installment of the special courts of FIFA!
  • Revocation of the law that grants general tax exemption to FIFA and its business partners!
  • Immediate stop to all bills and norms that define the crime of terrorism, that serve to criminalise social movements and increase violence against the young and black population!
  • Demilitarisation of the police and end of the repression of social movements!

We demand our “right to the city” and our right to protest!

WORLD CUP WITHOUT THE PEOPLE – WE’RE BACK ON THE STREET!

#15M – #DayAgainstWorldCup

 

May 15 international day of resistance against the World Cup in Brazil. Report by Euronews.

Teachers, civil servants, bus drivers and the homeless demands housing and medical care not stadiums. Report by Euronews.

Indigenous Brazilian protest World Cup.  Report by Euronews.

 

Protest graffiti highlighting money spent on the World Cup at the expense of the poor, homeless and indigenous population of Brazil

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A Message from the Q&A Protestors!

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Student protestors speakout as to why they protested and why you should too!

 

Students stage protest on Q&A against Abbott government attacks on education!

 

For more on the student protest, see my previous blog: This is what democracy looks like – students disrupt Q&A to protest Abbott government attacks on education.

JOIN THE MAY 21 EDUCATION RALLIES IN YOUR CITY: SAY NO TO INCREASED FEES AND THE US EDUCATION MODEL!

(see end of video for rally details in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane)

This is what democracy looks like: students disrupt Q&A to protest Abbott government attacks on education

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qanda banner

Last night on Q & A on the ABC (one of Australia’s public broadcasters) we saw some passion and democracy in action, when a group of university students in Sydney staged a very public and very noisy protest against the Abbott government’s proposed attacks on education and students.  The protest was organised by the Education Action Group at Sydney University and focused on Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, who was appearing on the panel.   The students sought to highlight the Abbott government’s attack on education and students, including deregulation of universities, cutting of funding and increasing student fees.

Bizarrely enough, Q & A cut broadcasting while the protest was on. However, the ABC News posted the full footage of the protest up on their youtube account soon after.

Even more bizarre was when the program resumed  Q & A’s host Tony Jones,  told the studio audience and viewers:

“That is not what democracy is all about and those students should understand that.” 

Clearly, however, it was Jones who did not “understand” what democracy is about.  As quite a few people on social media pointed out, protest and dissent are in fact “democracy in action”.  The ability to protest and dissent is an essential part of the democratic functioning.  To reduce “democracy” to a tightly managed and staged panel discussion, which consistently privileges elite figures, is not democracy

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Overwhelmingly on the ABC News page, the Facebook response to the protest has been positive and supportive of the students actions (Click here to read).

While many rightwingers have criticised the students, so have some on the “left” – claiming as Jones did on the show – that they were not doing their cause any favour.  This is, of course, nonsense.

With their action, the students have managed to gain widespread media coverage about the government attacks on students and education.  Every single major media outlet in the country – whether print, television or online – has reported on the protest and the education cuts and fee hikes.  Many other media sites have also reported on the protest and the government attacks.  Many media articles have also promoted the upcoming national day of action on May 21.

The student’s protest and the government attacks on education has also been trending non-stop on twitter for the last 16 hours and gone viral on Facebook.  Numerous blogs and articles have been written in support of the students and opposing the attack on education and students.

ed rally 21 may

Melbourne: 2pm State Library of Victoria

Sydney: 2.30pm UTS Tower Building.

Perth: 2.30pm Murray St Mall

Brisbane: 2pm Queens Park

Other cities details to come
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The protesting students issued a media release about their protest last night:

students qanada

University Students protest on Q&A : Tuesday 6th of May, 2014 press release

Students protested in the Q&A audience yesterday in response to the proposed attacks on higher education in the Commission of Audit. The NSW Education Action Network unfurled a banner, which said: More Brains. Not Warplanes. Fund Education. May 21 Rally @ UTS 2.30pm

The banner was dropped as Education Minister Christopher Pyne confirmed his pro-deregulation stance to the higher education sector. Activists caused the national broadcast to censor the protest, diverting cameras and ultimately shutting down the shows live feed.

Ridah Hassan, Sydney University Education Officer demanded answers from Pyne from the audience of Q&A. “They have $24 billion to spend on Joint Strike Fighters but refuse to adequately fund universities, and instead force that debt onto students already studying in poverty.”

Andy Zephyr, President of the UTS Students Association applauds fellow activists in their pro-education protests. “Two thirds of students live below the poverty line. We continue to fund welfare initiatives to assist students with basic student needs: food, textbooks, stationary, affordable housing. Student Unions have continued pick up where the Government has failed too.”

Eleanor Morley, the other Sydney University Education Officer said “Abbot and Pyne have made it clear that the higher education sector is to follow a US style model, where poor and working class students are effectively locked-out of receiving a quality education. The Commission of Audit shows the Liberal Government intends on increasing the already record-levels of student debt.”

The Education Action Network will be hosting a rally on the 21st of May at 2.30pm at the base of the UTS Tower Building 1. This is part of the National Union of Students National Day of Action against the impending budget attacks of public education.

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The National Union of Student’s Education Officer, Sarah Garnham (who is also a member of Socialist Alternative) outlined the government attacks on students in the following article which was published in Red Flag:

This time last year, the Labor government was preparing a federal budget with $2.3 billion worth of funding cuts to higher education.

This time round, as budget day approaches, the Coalition not only remains committed to the cuts but is also indicating that there will be many more attacks on students.

A recent speech by education minister Christopher Pyne, “Freeing universities to compete in a global education market”, set out precisely how the government views education.

“Education policy is, in many ways, economic policy”, he said. “There are enormous spinoff benefits for our domestic economy – in travel, housing, retail and investment … [W]e have expanded education to become our fourth-largest export industry after iron ore, coal and gold.”

For Pyne and the Liberals, there’s no real difference between students and minerals. Both are a source of profit; any red tape strangling its extraction must be removed. They want to find ways to both cut government funding and transfer costs to individual students.

Deregulating fees

The government recently commissioned a review of the “demand driven system” (the current semi-deregulated system) which found that while privatisation is increasing the profitability of education, it hasn’t gone nearly far enough.

The review – conducted by former Liberal federal education minister David Kemp and his closest adviser Andrew Norton – recommends the introduction of a 10 percent loan fee on HECS. It also recommends that HECS support be lowered in general and that HELP support for most postgraduate degrees be removed.

When HECS was first introduced 25 years ago, students repaid a flat fee of $5,400. Today, most students graduate with a debt upwards of $20,000.

This debt is a deterrent for many working class people, especially when coupled with cost of living increases and attacks on student welfare. Today two-thirds of students live below the poverty line.

There are also indications that the government will go further in deregulating and raising fees than recommended in the review.

The vice-chancellors from the richest universities, the Group of Eight (Go8), recently proposed an opt-out system that would allow universities to forego government funding for some courses and charge full fees.

Such a move would amount to the wholesale privatisation of courses and would lead to fee increases of up to 56 percent.

Entrenching a two-tier system

For the Go8 universities, full fees are an opportunity to further distance themselves from the poorer universities and their working class students.

They have the agreement of the education minister. “My view is that … several of our universities [must be] ranked among the very best in the world. The others are thriving in other ways”, said Pyne.

The “other ways” appear to be savage course cuts, staff cuts and, in the case of La Trobe University in Melbourne this year, the abolition of whole faculties. The “demand-driven system” introduced by Labor has already resulted in less competitive universities cutting costs and running down their institutions.

This trend was furthered by the announcement of the $2.3 billion in federal funding cuts and will be accelerated by the introduction of an unregulated fee system: a market mechanism to encourage poorer students to “choose” cheaper degrees at less resourced institutions.

Added to this, Pyne has enthusiastically endorsed another recommendation from the Kemp-Norton review: that private and non-university institutions be incorporated into the Commonwealth scheme. This will mean something very different for Bond University than it will for the majority of TAFEs.

In pursuit of this two-tier system, Pyne is openly drawing inspiration from the notorious US education system. Quoting Adelaide University vice chancellor Warren Bebbington, he said, “[Australia] could have the rich variety of the US university landscape where nearly half of all students … attend teaching-only undergraduate colleges offering only Bachelor degrees … Students have an unforgettable, utterly life-changing educational experience.”

This about a country with an enormous gulf between Ivy League colleges and community colleges; where hundreds of thousands of graduates from community colleges are working for the minimum wage or nothing at all; where only 61 percent of students are able to go to the college of their choice; where students are frequently turned away from study because private companies refuse to extend loans to them; and where student debt has recently surpassed US$1 trillion.

Students need to resist

While working class students will be most disadvantaged by deregulation, the reality is that raising fees and further reducing government funding will affect all students.

The main beneficiaries will be students from wealthy backgrounds and the bank balances of the large institutions.

Students from sandstone universities, 1970s brown brick universities, and corrugated iron/plastic pastiche universities and TAFEs need to work together to fight these attacks.

The government has made it clear that the axe will fall on budget day. Students need to respond immediately.

[The National Union of Students has called demonstrations in every major city for Wednesday 21 May and will be organising protest actions across campuses in the lead-up to those demonstrations. For more information contact your student union or education action group or the National Union of Students.]

Edward Said on Orienatlism & the Myth of the Clash of Civilisations

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Edward Said (1935 – 2003) was a  professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.  Said, was one of the most important intellectuals of the twentieth century.  A Palestinian American, Said, was a literary theorist, and a public intellectual who was a founding figure of the critical-theory field of Post-colonialism. Said was also active in the Palestinian struggle for political and human rights.

Said’s most famous work was Orientalism (1978), which examined the way the West “othered” non-Western cultures and peoples.  In particular, Said explained that “orientalism” describes the “subtle and persistent Eurocentric prejudice against Arabo-Islamic peoples and their culture”.   In the following video presentation made on the 20th anniversary of the publication of Orientalism, Said explains how Orientalism works and how it relates to the modern day representation of the Middle East both politically and culturally.

In the second presentation from 1996, Said critiques in detail Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilisations”

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Edward Said and Orientalism (1998)

 

Edward Said and the Myth of the Clash of Civilisations (1996)

 

Boots Riley and the Music of Dissent and Rebellion

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Over Easter weekend, more than 1100 people attended the Marxism2014 in Melbourne.  One of the highlights of the conference was the Saturday evening performance by activist and radical musician, Boots Riley, who also spoke on race and racism in the USA earlier in the day.  Riley hopes to be touring Australia later in the year with his band, The Coup and you can check out some of their tracks below, as well as an interview with Boots on building the radical movements for change in the USA.

As the Marxism 2014 website notes, Boots Riley is one of the most influential radical American musicians of the past two decades. The critical acclaim that has greeted his musical endeavours, in particular his role as front-man of legendary US hip-hop outfit The Coup, has only been matched by the vitriol with which his work has been greeted by conservatives.

Since forming in 1990, The Coup have released a total of 6 albums, with their unique combination of funky rhythms and lyrics that move from cheeky wit to the hardest of hard-hitting political critique providing inspiration (and enjoyment) for a generation of radicals around the world. Their music has been widely acclaimed, with their 1998 release ‘Steal this Album’ labeled a masterpiece by Rolling Stone magazine, and other albums regularly appearing in ‘top 10 albums of the year’ lists in Rolling Stone and other major music publications.

Boots Riley has rapped with Tupac, produced a score for an episode of The Simpsons, had a novel written based on the lyrics of one of his songs, and, perhaps most impressively of all, had his work dismissed by Fox News as “a stomach-turning example of anti-Americanism disguised as highbrow intellectual expression.”

Riley has never been shy of controversy. Following the 9-11 attacks in New York, The Coup famously put out a press release stating that “last week’s events were symptomatic of a larger backlash against U.S. corporate imperialism.” Statements such as this, as well as the lyrics of songs such as ‘5 Million Ways to Kill a CEO’, have made him a favourite target of the conservatives. His influence on radical culture and politics in the US cannot be denied. In 2003 he was even named, by Vibe Magazine, as one of the 10 most influential people of the year. Nevertheless, the fame he has achieved through his music hasn’t led him away from direct involvement with political struggles and movements on the ground.

Riley was born into a family of radicals and has never wavered from his commitment to revolutionary politics and practice. He has been involved in many campaigns for social justice in his local community in Oakland, California, recently playing a leading role in the Occupy movement in the city.

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Abby Martin interviews ‘Boots’ Riley, about his musical roots, the state of dissent in the US and the corporatisation of America.

 

Boots Riley and The Coup:

The Guillotine

My Favourite Mutiny

The Magic Clap

 

 

The Art of Resistance in Palestine

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Art is not a mirror to hold up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it, so the quote often attribute to Bertold Brecht goes.   The place in which this often can be seen most clearly is in relation to resistance art.  In Palestine, cultural resistance to settler-colonialism, imperialism, ethnic cleansing, occupation and apartheid has always been part of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and justice.   In the 1920s and 1930s, Palestinian poets and musicians wrote poetry and songs depicting the struggle in opposition to British imperialism and Zionist settler colonialism revealing that writers, musicians, poets and song writers and other cultural artists have always played a role in the national liberation struggle.

In the last 6 decades since the Palestinian Nakba, some of the best known resistance artists have include Ghassan Kanafani (writer and political activist) , Mahmoud Darwish (poet and political activist) and Naji – al- Ali (political cartoonist and writer).  However, Palestinian cultural and art resistance is everywhere in Palestine – it can be found not only in the form of traditional plays and dance (dabke) performances, but also at Israel’s checkpoints, on the apartheid wall, on the music of Palestinian youth and in the villages and towns of Palestine.  It can be found in murals, paintings, poetry, creative art displays, songs, visual art and much more.  Here is just a small sample of some of the art of resistance today by Palestinian artists and activists.

A Masterpiece of Resistance — The Artists of Palestine  by LAYLA QURAN

Art of resistance: Palestinians plant flowers in Israeli tear gas canisters by RT News

Global Street Art  – Palestine: Art in the Streets

Wall art video by PalestineIsraelLove

Palestinian art uses humour to resist – SBS News report

Palestinian hip hop group Dam with their song, Born Here – a protest song about the treatment of Palestinian citizens of Israel.