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.”