Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A Journey In Preserving The Palestinian Identity

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Established 1979, El-Funoun Palestinian Popular Dance Troupe aimed at reviving Palestinian music and dance folklore as a part of the national identity.
They succeeded in preserving old songs and dances, such as the “dabke,” a traditional dance form popular among Arabs of the Middle East, using traditional Arab instruments like oud, nai, and tabla.

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A very interesting paragraph related to El-Funoun on This Week In Palestine caught my attention: “At the time, Israeli leaders liked to think and to publicly announce that Palestinians did not exist as a nation; and, to fulfill the prophecy, they attempted to destroy and/or confiscate the indigenous Palestinian culture, heritage, tradition, history and identity, if not explicitly then through convoluted schemes and arbitrary “laws.” Flight attendants on board Israel’s airline El Al were issued Palestinian embroidered costumes; the golden Dome of the Rock was prominently flashed on every Israeli travel brochure; hummus and falafel were served as traditional Israeli cuisine; a myriad of Arab-Palestinian slang expressions entered the Israeli idiom as native talk; and of course the colors of the Palestinian flag were not allowed to be combined in any shape or form, even on a painting. Any slight assertion of Palestinian identity was severely punished”.
I’m so happy that El-Funoun never gave up and kept fighting to protect the Palestinian Identity from fading away despite all the difficulties they faced from the occupation, which did not spare any effort in holding them back.

To counter the marginalization and alienation of Palestinian children and youth through music and dance expression, El-Funoun decided to form the Youth Troupe(Bara'em):
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25 dancers (both females and males) aged 8 – 15 are carefully selected by El-Funoun choreographers according to their artistic talent and promising devotion to learn and develop.

I must say I am so proud of El-Funoun, and I truly wish them the best of luck to continue their great mission in preserving and promoting the Palestinian Identity.

For more information about El-Funoun, their contacts, their photo gallery, their video clips, and much more, visit their -breathtaking- official website which is available in both Arabic and English.