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Emirates Man - - FEATURE -

ne of the ways an oc­cu­pa­tion or siege achieves its goals is by break­ing down – over long pe­ri­ods of time – the spirit and the cre­ativ­ity of the peo­ple it be­sieges, re­duc­ing the men­tal state of a com­mu­nity to the bar­ren­ness of mere sur­vival. This is what Rev­o­lu­tion Mak­ers and other artists are up against in Gaza. But when peo­ple cre­ate cre­ativ­ity over numb­ness. There is a sense of mak­ing something de­spite the odds. There is an aware­ness and a de­sire to speak that goes be­yond daily strug­gle. The per­ma­nence of cul­tural prod­uct or forms of ex­pres­sion is the an­tithe­sis of what an oc­cu­pa­tion hopes to achieve.

“There are pre­cious few op­por­tu­ni­ties in Gaza to study mu­sic,” wrote El­susi in Elec­tronic In­tifada. “Of course, there are a hand­ful of cul­tural and artis­tic in­sti­tu­tions that sup­port artists, but these are more of­ten than not aligned with the main po­lit­i­cal fac­tions. They pro­mote fac­tional po­lit­i­cal agen­das and pro­duce art that is some­what, if not en­tirely, pro­pa­ganda driven.

“In­de­pen­dent artists who be­lieve that art must be a free form of ex­pres­sion, a ve­hi­cle for dis­sent and a con­duit of change, find them­selves stand­ing alone, un­sup­ported and un­funded. We des­per­ately need to es­tab­lish in­de­pen­dent in­sti­tu­tions to sup­port the arts in Gaza, in­sti­tu­tions that will reach all young peo­ple. The prob­lem is al­ways how to get there.

“Art is not a lux­ury; it helps sus­tain peo­ple’s spir­its so they can sur­vive even through the hard­est times.”

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