MAY 9, 2013 - An organization calling itself "Heartbeat" wants to use music to bring young Israelis and Palestinians together in peace, and use music as a tool to bring this about. They mission is to use musicians to build understanding and to transform conflicts. They talk about how "fear, violence, ignorance and a pervasive lack of trust" has led to the current political and social atmosphere between Israelis and Palestinians. They state, "Most Israelis and Palestinians have only encountered the other side through televised reports of extremist violence, soldiers at checkpoints, or politicians..." Heartbeat intends to use music as a bridge to break this divide, and bring people together. Heartbeat believes, and so does JTMP, that "Music has an amazing ability to connect people, build trust and inspire hope in the darkest of places. Modern, popular music has long been the voice of change all around the world and a powerful means for youth expression and nonviolent action. By bringing together young Jewish and Arab musicians and strengthening their voices, we are working to build a global culture of trust, compassion, and respect." Read more on the Heartbeat website here. (photo credit: Heartbeat.fm)
JAN 23, 2012 - Outspoken rapper activist Lupe Fiasco, started a controversy and debate, after his set "ended early" or he was "silenced and kicked off stage" depending on who you talk to at a recent presidential inauguration event held by Startup RockOn. At first it did seem a free speech issue, but after I looked into it deeper, it seems more that they let him have free speech for 20 to 30 minutes, but the staff saw and heard the negative reaction by the crowd to the jarring and repetitive rap, and asked him to move on to another song. It seems to me at that point Lupe got confrontational, and decided to keep on with the rant. The organizers then cut his mike and dimmed the lights, and he refused to leave the stage; forcing the organizers to physically escort him off stage. Even the organizers, Startup RockOn said in a statement, "We are staunch supporters of free speech, and free political speech. This was not about his opinions. Instead, after a bizarrely repetitive, jarring performance that left the crowd vocally dissatisfied, organizers decided to move on to the next act.” Many though are screaming his free speech rights were totally violated. Watch a video by NowThisNews.com of a few clips of his performance below and see for yourself.
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MARCH 20, 2012 – Just outside of Jerusalem is the Madaa Silwan Creative Center. “Madaa” means “horizon” in Arabic, and was founded by Jawad Siyam, who remains the center’s spirit and director. The community built the learning center so young Arabic kids could escape the daily politics and violence, and serve as a refuge for young Arabic kids. At the center they find a quiet library with thousands of books for children, and a computer room where kids who don’t have a computer at home can surf the Internet. There are always learning activities going on. Part of the center is the Silwan Village Music School, where young kids who once had no place to go and no instruments, now have pianos, guitars, violins, cellos, choir and more, depending on which day you come. In an interview for Hareetz.com Ahmad Qareen, a resident of Silwan said, “Until 2007, the children here didn’t have anything. We, some of the neighborhood residents, therefore decided to set up a cultural center. We rented this apartment, and first of all, we opened the music school. At first, 15 children sat on the floor of the small apartment without any musical instruments. Today, we already have 100 students, and there is also a drama club, a mosaics school, a creative writing class, and a summer day camp. There was also a soccer team, until the field was destroyed. And there are courses in English, math and sewing for women.”
The mission of Madaa is to promote non-violence, promote dialogue and empower the community by providing recreational activities, like music, for the youth of Silwan. Qareen added, “First of all, in the children: We can feel a change in them. They have learned to keep the place nice, to behave politely and to keep quiet; they have learned the importance of sticking to a timetable, and also that there is something called the rights of the child. We established the place for them, so they won’t go doing bad things, [like] smoking, and to keep them away from violence.” To read more check out an article on Hareetz.com, and check out the Madda Silwan Creative Center’s website here.