Veteran NPR/PRI journalist Sandy Tolan, the critically-acclaimed author of The Lemon Tree, brings us another true story of hope in the Palestinian-Israeli impasse. His newest book, Children of the Stone, The Power of Music in a Hard Land, chronicles a young violinist—Ramzi Hussein Aburedwan—who escapes a Palestinian refugee camp and later returns to fulfill his dream: establishing a music school for Palestinians living under military occupation. Join Tolan for a moving conversation about how a love of music transforms and empowers lives in a war-torn land. Signed and discounted books available. Café open 7:00-9:30 pm, event at 7:30 pm.
American broadcast and print journalist Maurice Jacobsen constructs a video portrait of life in Gaza after a series of devastating bombardments by Israel. His work attempts to build bridges of understanding between the Arab and Jewish and American communities.
The evening begins with a history of the Gaza Strip and video preview screening of footage he made between Israel's recent military campaigns against this small Palestinian territory. The video, WE ALL LIVE IN GAZA, is based on footage he recorded during his stay and highlights stories of ordinary citizens coping with the siege and blockade, the longest in contemporary history.
The video accompanies a series of Gazan photographic portraits that are uniquely printed on cloth fabric.
Maurice Jacobsen is a Nazareth-based photojournalist. He spent 16 months in the Gaza Strip. Jacobsen will be available to answer any and all questions concerning life in Gaza and the production of the documentary. Read his bio.
Presented by LA Jews for Peace and the Levantine Cultural Center.
By Dick Platkin and Jeff Warner *
Electronic Intifada editor and author Nora Barrows-Friedman leads a public forum with special guest Ronnie Barkan, cofounder of Boycott From Within, on "U.S. Students and the Palestinian Solidarity Movement," with particular emphasis on Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) and attempts to stifle or silence Students for Justice in Palestine. This is an open forum, all are welcome.
According to Samantha Brotman writing in Mondoweiss, "Nora Barrows-Friedman's In Our Power: U.S. Students Organize for Justice in Palestine, published by Just World Books, is a timely and powerful read, detailing the scope and substance of the Palestine solidarity movement in the United States. Barrows-Friedman situates the movement across both time and space, providing historical and contemporary context to the individual activists whose voices make up the book's primary content. As a result, In Our Power is at once practical and inspiring for anyone involved in Palestine solidarity or interested in becoming involved."
Detractors of student groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine, chapters of which are now found at hundreds of college campuses across the U.S., suggest that SJP is "anti-Semitic" or that they "invite speakers linked with terrorist groups." These two contentions are demonstrably false and are in fact desperate attempts to stifle critical thinking and public debate about Israel and the Palestinians. See related Mondoweiss article.
Can street theatre and community murals make a difference? Is this what we mean by "cultural diplomacy"?
The Levantine Cultural Center presents Art and Activism in Bil'in: from Los Angeles to Palestine, an evening of public conversation, photography and art in the context of dialogue and conflict resolution. In October 2014, a team of Los Angeles based-artists formed part of a historic effort in the West Bank village of Bil'in, Palestine, when Imaginaction director Hector Aristizabal brought together an international group of artists and creative activists for an arts residency that engaged hundreds in Bil'in and neighboring villages. Working with local and regional Palestinian cultural leaders, the group engaged community in art and theater workshops that resulted in public performances, large scale puppets and murals painted in collective fashion along roads and buildings.
The group also joined their talents to support Bil'ins emblematic weekly demonstrations. Bil'in is the West Bank village featured in Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi's award-winning documentary, 5 Broken Cameras. For over a decade the non-violent protests have become a symbol for Palestinian cultural resistance to the barrier wall that snakes through Bil'in's ancestral olive groves appropriating lands and fortifying the Israeli settlement of Modi'in Illit. During their time in Bil'in. the group witnessed celebration and harvest as well as danger and violence as they worked with the persistent and heroic people of Bil'in.
$10 suggested contribution. Seating limited, reservations strongly advised: 323.413.2001. See below for participant bios.
Calling for peace and free speech, American Arab/Muslim and Jewish comedians will share their Charlie Hebdo comedy in Hollywood on February 12, 2014 when they perform in a special edition of the <
WHAT: Je Suis Charlie/Ahmed/Yoav, Comedy/Satire Tribute to Charlie Hebdo/Hyper Cacher Victims
WHEN: Thursday, February 12, 2015, 8 pm
WHERE: 7655 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90046
DETAILS: Contact the Levantine Cultural Center, 323.413.2001 or RSVP online,
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—Calling for peace and free speech, American Arab/Muslim and Jewish comedians will share their Charlie Hebdo comedy in Hollywood on February 12, 2014 when they perform in a special edition of the Sultans of Satire: Middle East Comic Relief, the national comedy-satire show launched 10 years ago by the Levantine Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Headlined by Egyptian-American Ahmed Ahmed, of Comedy Central's Axis of Evil Comedy Tour and TBS' "Sullivan and Son," the tribute takes place at the Harmony Gold Theatre in Hollywood, 7655 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90046, and is cosponsored by the international organization, Muslims for Progressive Values, NGO at the United Nations.
By Jordan Elgrably
Following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the end of the Second World War, the map of the Middle East and North Africa has been rewritten by colonialism, war and internecine conflict.
Whether the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the 1980-1988 war between Iraq and Iran, the first and second Gulf War in Iraq, the invasions of Afghanistan, or the Lebanese Civil War, millions of people have been displaced. Millions more have seen their lives changed forever with the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria that began in 2010.
In the 21st century, it is easy for us to forget that World War I was said to be "the war to end all wars." Here I am, writing on the 100th anniversary of that brutal conflagration that killed over 15 million combatants and civilians in Europe.
The Levantine Cultural Center presents its flagship comedy show, the Sultans of Satire: Middle East Comic Relief, to celebrate peace and benefit a new cultural arts center for the Middle East/North Africa, opening in 2015. Come enjoy this long-running and inspired comedy show for a healthy dose of satire and universal humor, laugh about life and the Middle East with one of L.A's hottest comedy troupes. Hosted by the outrageous Tehran (Iran/U.S.) and headlined by Palestinian American Aron Kader (Comedy Central's Axis of Evil), this show features six of the funniest young comedians on the circuit today. With Sammy Obeid, Marie-Thérèse Abou-Daoud, Melissa Shoshahi and Sherwin Arae.
Find out why the Sultans of Satire are a riot, relieve stress, celebrate peace with fans of the Levantine Cultural Center, presenting arts and education programs on the Middle East and North Africa across Southern California since 2001. Your ticket purchases and program ad support will help re-establish the Levantine Cultural Center in a new facility opening Summer 2015. Read our Capital Campaign plan here. Download the gift form here and become a Founder of the new Center.
For tickets to the 12/13/14 comedy show, go here. More info.
In conjunction with the new exhibition War and People: Art, Exile and the Middle East, four Southern California-based poets read from two recent collections of poetry, Dear Darwish and With Our Eyes Wide Open, that explore the effects of war and exile on people in South Asia, the Middle East and the Americas.
With Our Eyes Wide Open: Poems of the New American Century, focuses on the impact of recent wars on populations around the world specially the U.S. wars in Southeast Asia (Vietnam etc.), Central America, and the Middle East. This international anthology of poetry explores the impact of the United States in wars as well as upon the "nobodies"-outcasts, immigrants, the working class: "They [the poets]...represent an emerging poetic consciousness which is helping todefine and shape the imagination and language of the 21st Century." Using a call-and-response pattern, the poems look at the impact of the United States' wars in Korea, Vietnam, Central American, and Iraq on lives. Vietnamese-American poet Teresa Mei Chuc, and Julia Stein read from their own poems. Dima Hilal, a Lebanese American will read her work. We will also read some of the Middle Eastern poets in the anthology from Turkey, Oman, Egyptian-American, Morocco, Iraq, and Chechnya.
Read reviews of With Eyes Wide Open here and in Counterpunch here.