A Palestinian day in London

Last month, my friend Karen asked me if I would like to attend a concert with her in London at Kings Place. http://www.kingsplace.co.uk/

They were holding a world music event and on this particular evening there were a group from Senegal playing and then the great John Williams, guitarist and a Palestinian duo called Sabil.

By sheer coincidence, the same day there was a global march for Jerusalem to be held outside the Israeli Embassy so being as Karen and I were going to be in London for the day, we thought we would pop along to the march, show our faces then head off to the concert.

Both being blonde, and both being girls and both far too interested in the shops as we walked along the road, we missed the street that the Israeli embassy was on and strolled straight past. We had walked for about 20 minutes before we realized we must have been walking the wrong way. The map came out and after much ‘oohing and aahing’ and turning the map one way and another we deciphered our route. Only problem was our route had building work blocking the road we planned to turn down and was blocked off, so we had to walk the long way around.

We soon came to the top of the Palace Green and entered the gated street, marvelling at the wonderful buildings and consulates along this wide road. As we neared the other end, we looked at each other. There was no-one outside the embassy. “Bit of a poor show” I thought as we drew nearer to the hugely armed guards standing outside the embassy gates. I then looked further down the street, where the gates were closed and police stood lining the road, stopping anyone from entering the street. We actually had to ask them if we could be let out to go and join the demonstrators on the other side of the road. I did giggle. My first ever demo, and I get right outside the place when there were real stalwarts who had been stopped from getting down the street.

We join the throng pick up our placards and wait for the speakers to join us. Then along came the Jews.

rally 020rally 022rally 005I must admit, I was shocked to see them arrive in support for Palestine and am not ashamed to admit that it bought tears to my eyes. I can imagine they get a lot of stick for speaking out and being so public against the state of Israel.

There were a few speakers and people came and went. People driving past in their cars beeped their horns in support and then it was time for us to make out way across London to Kings Cross.

We all took our seats in this magnificent theatre and the show’s organiser came on stage to introduce the acts for the evening. Upon mentioning the duo who would be playing with John Williams, he mentioned about the video cameras either side of the stage. Apparently the show was to be recorded and then sold and the profits would go to fund a school in Palestine. There was an overwhelming show of support for this, which really moved me…..and then that was that, no talk of occupation, no talk of politics, that was all that was mentioned and then the show began.

The first group were brilliant and really the warm up act for the magnificent John Williams, the classical guitarist. Watching him was amazing and how he worked that instrument to make the sound that he did. I was however rather disappointed that he didn’t play Cavatina!

He then introduced the duo Sabil, Ahmad Al Khatib and Youssef Hbeisch. They took to the stage and immediately started playing the most haunting, amazing melodies. I was in awe of these two musicians who made it sound liken there was a whole orchestra up there at times.

Politics didn’t need to come into any of the concert, it was music pure and simple, yet within the music, stories of heartache were told. I will certainly look out for this duo again and will be buying the CD with pleasure.



About shakingtheshadowsfromtheolivetrees

I have a massive case of wanderlust and plan to see as much of this beautiful planet as I can before I die. I love Egypt, which gave me my first taster of Arabic culture, since then I have travelled to a few Arabic-speaking countries. My idea of a nightmare is an all inclusive 5* hotel resort. I much prefer to stay in basic accommodation in amongst the locals. Some of the best food I have eaten has been street food...and incidentally some of the worst has been in a 5*hotel. This year has given me the opportunity to visit Palestine, a place I loved to read about when I was younger in my children's bible. I am sure it isn't going to disappoint.
This entry was posted in culture, Music, Travel, Uncategorized, Video and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Palestinian day in London

  1. Pippa Austin says:

    Very moving Lisa. Pippa

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