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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 104

"Katyusha" love song to protest Israeli Checkpoints in the West Bank

By Mohammed Mar'i*

Ramallah, Occupied Palestine, 23 January, (Asiantribune.com): In the second activity of the 'Thirty Days against Checkpoints Campaign' a musical band of Palestinian children (under the age of 16 years old) will perform the popular Russian folk song 'Katyusha' at Huwwara checkpoint, south the West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday 24th January at 12 noon.

Katyusha is a Russian Soviet wartime song about a girl longing for her beloved, who is away on military service. The music was composed in 1938 by the Jew Matvei Blanter and the lyrics were written by the Russian poet Mikhail Isakovsky. It was first performed by the celebrated folk singer, Lidiya Ruslanova.

Mohammed Dwaikat, coordinator of the Palestinian Body for Dialogue, Peace, and Equality (HASM) said that "the musical group will perform (Katyusha Song) which is a Russian song such as the (Delaounh Song) in the Palestinian folklore". "This song has been used by the Jews in Europe during and after the Second World War to express their rejection of discrimination to which they were subjected in Europe, in addition to use to focus on the story of the Holocaust, and in comparison to this case, the Palestinians now are in this aspect".

It is known that Nablus is most closed city in the West Bank. Since 2002. It is surrounded by 6 Israeli checkpoints. The Israeli soldiers oblige all passengers to stand in strait and long rows. They check every one, his identity card, his books' bag, and his body by electronic equipments before he allow entering or leaving Nablus. "Each night its citizens are victims to violent military raids and their lives have not been peaceful or normal for years" Dwaikat said.

Clarifying why Nablus in particular is tightly closed by Israeli soldiers, Dwaikat said that "the people of Nablus are looked upon as terrorists and treated accordingly." Other West Bank cities are also blocked by around 400 Israeli checkpoints. Despite that the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert toured several West Bank checkpoints in the West Bank last week to see firsthand that the promises he announced on December 2006 to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about easing movement had been implemented. The Israel Occupation Forces admitted yesterday that the 44 checkpoints Olmert promised Abbass to remove "had either been removed before the political level decided on the alleviations or had been bypassed by Palestinians earlier, and a decision had been made not to rebuild them."

In its first activity to protest the Israeli checkpoints (HASM) Palestinian schoolchildren dressed in Native American costume on Sunday, 14th of January 2007, and gathered for a peaceful demonstration at Huwarra checkpoint to bring international awareness to the deteriorating conditions in Nablus including collective punishment and a lack of mobility among its citizens.(HASM) has chosen the Native American dress to "call attention to the similarities between the current process of ghettoization and closure taking place in Nablus and the plight which befell the Native Americans during the early history of the United States".

*Mohammed Mar'i is a freelance Palestinian journalist based in Ramallah, Occupied Palestine.

- Asian Tribune -

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