Over 150 people attended the Lajee Centre performance in Edinburgh on the 15th of July on their scottish tour.  Lajee, meaning refugee in Arabic, is a creative cultural space for the children of Aida camp in Bethlehem;  a training ground for IDF soldiers that is home to 3150 refugees (UNRWA).The centre's tour brings 35 talented young people from the camp to Scotland and Ireland, showcasing Palestinian music and dance as well as film and photography.
Founder, Salah shared his story of what it means to be a refugee in your own country, and the very real everyday suffering of children growing up in Aida camp.  He also spoke about the Lajee centre's decision to reject funds from the U.S government as long as they continue to provide military aid to Israel which is subsequently used against them.  
One person who has been acutely effected by that violence, is Mohammad Al Azzeh, head of the media team in Lajee and a committed journalist who regularly covers clashes in the camp.  In 2014, Mohammad almost lost an eye as a 'rubber bullet' (which is actually metal and potentially lethal) shattered the side of his face as he filmed clashes between young people from the camp and heavily armed soldiers who shot him at close range.  He was then arrested and has been forced to attend a military court on a monthly basis ever since.  Mohammad has made many short films about life in Aida camp his new film that was screened as part of the evening was very powerful as it follows the story of a young girl and how the occupation effects her life on a daily basis.
The film was followed by singer Hadeel who opened with the infamous 'Wein Ala Ramallah', accompanied by two Oud players.  The centre enables them to learn how to play traditional instruments and they are hoping to grow this side of the organisation.
The penultimate event of the evening was the Dabke dance troupe who had the audience clapping and tapping along instantaneously.  Split into two groups by age, they danced with smiling, proud faces in beautiful tatreez patterned clothes and keffiyehs which remarkably remained in place despite the vigorous nature of the dance!  We were transported to Palestine in those hours.
The evening sadly came to an end however the work does not stop with the generous donations, this is only where it begins.  
The centre runs largely via the support of individuals and the tour has been funded in the same way.  The event was free but £950 was raised.  
By Kimberley Davidson 

Events & Activities

26 - 26 Jul

Glasgow Film Series - The Struggle Against Apartheid: Part II Jul 26, 2017 - 19:00 PM - Jul 26, 2017 - 21:00 PM 180 West Regent St, Glasgow, United Kingdom

26 - 27 Jul

Edinburgh: Is Israel guilty of genocide? Jul 26, 2017 - 19:00 PM - Jul 27, 2017 - 00:30 AM 59 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh, EH3 9EZ

09 - 09 Aug

State of Terror Aug 09, 2017 - 19:00 PM - Aug 09, 2017 - 21:00 PM

10 - 10 Aug

Glasgow public meeting: 'State of Terror' Aug 10, 2017 - 19:00 PM - Aug 10, 2017 - 21:00 PM Unison Glasgow City Branch, Glasgow, United Kingdom

11 - 11 Aug

Dundee Public Meeting: "State of Terror" Aug 11, 2017 - 19:00 PM - Aug 11, 2017 - 21:00 PM Dalhousie Building Room 1G06

12 - 12 Aug

Edinburgh Public Meeting: State of Terror Aug 12, 2017 - 14:00 PM - Aug 12, 2017 - 17:00 PM Tollcross Community Centre, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

17 - 17 Aug

Glasgow public meeting: Balfour's Shadow (author David Cronin) Aug 17, 2017 - 19:00 PM - Aug 17, 2017 - 21:00 PM Unison Glasgow City Branch, Glasgow, United Kingdom

18 - 18 Aug

Dundee Public Meeting: Balfour's Shadow by author David Cronin Aug 18, 2017 - 19:00 PM - Aug 18, 2017 - 21:00 PM Dalhousie Building Room 1G06

19 - 19 Aug

Edinburgh Public Meeting: Balfour's Shadow (author David Cronin) Aug 19, 2017 - 14:00 PM - Aug 19, 2017 - 17:00 PM Tollcross Community Centre, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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Israel and Settler Society by Lorenzo Veracini

The struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is not unique -- whatever the news media may suggest. Lorenzo Veracini argues that the conflict is best understood in terms of colonialism. Like many other societies, Israel is a settler society. Looking in detail at the evolution of other colonial regimes -- apartheid South Africa, French Algeria and Australia -- Veracini presents a thoughtful interpretation of the dynamics of colonialism, offering a clear framework within which to understand the middle east crisis.