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SUNDAYS ARE FOR CULTURE

Palestinian techno DJ Sama' Abdulhadi detained by authorities following event near West Bank mosque (Resident Advisor)

"More than 50,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the immediate release of Abdulhadi, whose artist name is SAMA'. She was hosting and performing at an event at the Nabi Musa site as part of a series of four videos commissioned by Beatport."

The online music retailer said in a statement that it was 'coordinating with Ms. Abdulhadi's family and management team' and hopes that "Ms. Abdulhadi is released as quickly as possible."

"There is a long history of the Palestinian Authority shutting down electronic music events in the West Bank, partially because of a public perception that electronic music is 'western music' and therefore associated with Israel and the occupation. When the attorney general extended Abdulhadi's detention, part of the reason was that 'techno music is not part of Palestinian heritage.'"
 
Palestine in Pictures: December 2020 (Electronic Intifada)

A roundup of captivating images captured across Palestine in December 2020.

"More than 700 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip died from complications of COVID-19 during the month, accounting for nearly half of the 1,500 total deaths since March."

"While Israel has begun to roll out vaccinations for its citizens, Palestinians living under its military occupation are excluded, despite its obligations under international law."
United As One: A Song of Hope and Determination (UNRWA)

"Over the past two years, 23 talented Palestine refugee youth teamed up with a group of professional musicians from around the world to release a message of hope and unity for the world through a song."

"Under the leadership of Italian cultural manager Paolo Petrocelli (Founder and President of EMMA for Peace, an international NGO for the promotion of music diplomacy), 'United as One' – a song that embodies the resilience and hope of refugee youth - is released on 31 December 2020 to mark the end of an extraordinarily difficult year for Palestine refugees and to usher in a more hopeful 2021. Watch the inspiring video here."
Ten footballers from the Middle East who made their mark in 2020 (Middle East Eye)

Yasmina Allouche and Rayhan Uddin write: "Even to the most avid football connoisseur, Dia Saba was a relative unknown until this year, when he became the first Israeli footballer to join an Arab club. In September, Saba, who was born to a Palestinian family in the town of Majd al-Krum in the Galilee, signed with Al-Nasr in Dubai shortly after the UAE signed a normalisation agreement with Israel."

"The 28-year-old midfielder arrived from Chinese club Guangzhou R&F for a record €5m ($5.8m), making him one of the most expensive Israeli footballers in history. Saba played as a youth for Beitar Nes Tubruk in Israel before joining several clubs in the Israeli championship including Maccabi Tel-Aviv and Hapoel Beer Sheva."

"He has scored 87 goals in 255 appearances in all competitions and currently has 10 caps for the Israeli national team."
Mayor review – grappling with reality inside Ramallah city hall (The Guardian)

Peter Bradshaw writes: "Musa Hadid is the popular Palestinian mayor of Ramallah in the West Bank, and this thoughtful, sympathetic documentary tracks his stressful day-to-day working life – shown suddenly getting a lot more stressful in 2017 when President Trump announced his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moving the US embassy there from Tel Aviv."

"Hadid feels strongly that this move emboldened Israel’s military to be more menacing in Ramallah, with soldiers marching into stores and demanding to see security camera footage on the grounds that there could be images of terrorists – and even doing the same at city hall." Watch the trailer here.
Middle East cinema: The seven must-see films of 2020 (Middle East Eye)

Joseph Fahim writes: "Below I have listed in descending order my seven best Middle Eastern films of 2020. As imperfect as each undoubtedly is, they nevertheless stood out for their clear-headed engagement with their worlds in a way that transcends the Covid era, and which will keep their urgency and potency fresh long after the pandemic miasma fades."

"The majority of these titles were screened to limited audiences online: the real struggle now facing Middle Eastern independent film is not only funding amid the economic meltdown, but reaching an audience in an increasingly fragmented marketplace."

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