Camden Palestine Festival – A brilliant afternoon
Please see article below by Rufus Pickle.
Article by Rufus Pickles /CamdenPalestineFestival
Crowds flocked to Calthorpe Community Garden on Sunday for a celebration of Palestinian cultural heritage.
The Camden Palestine Festival was hosted by the Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association (CADFA), a human rights charity founded in 2004 after links were formed between residents of Camden and Abu Dis, a Jerusalem suburb.
Mo’min Swaitat, a 34-year old London-based Palestinian artist, headlined the festival with an eclectic DJ set ranging from Bedouin field recordings to protest songs, psychedelia and funk.
He said: “I heard CADFA were inviting Palestinians from my hometown, Jenin, and so I thought I would come and support.
“There were a lot of amazing people who attended today who I have seen supporting the Palestinian case, and it was very important to see the Palestinian community who have lived experiences, to be here and be listened to.”
Festivities kicked off at 2pm with workshops in Palestinian makloubeh cooking, dabkeh dancing and tatriz embroidery.
Activities ran throughout the afternoon and included childrens’ arts, storytelling, plant sales and a Palestinian craft stall.
‘Tastes of Palestine’ sold ceramics from Hebron, handmade soap, dates and olive oil.
In the evening, the Unsettlers and Markizah, a keyboard, guitar and tambourine trio played refugee songs before three women, Sara from Jerusalem, Sireen from Nazareth and Amneh from Jenin gave speeches about human rights abuses they had witnessed.
Nandita Dowson, director of CADFA, said: “We work to raise awareness of the human rights situation in Palestine through very human means, helping people to meet and make friends with Palestinians.
“We organise visits to Palestine and from Palestine – this festival is in the middle of a women’s visit from Palestine.”
She added: “In Calthorpe garden, there’s an olive tree from Abu Dis, which is the place that nearly 20 years ago we set up a community level partnership”.
Carmel Elwell, a CADFA volunteer, said the festival would help to fund visits from Abu Dis and the West Bank with talks by Palestinians in “community centres, schools and universities”.
The Palestinian Women’s Voices Tour, a programme of public events CADFA has helped organise, has been taking place from July 21 – 31 in London, Hastings, Cambridge, Diss, Thetford, Hebden Bridge and Newcastle.