Monday, October 12, 2009

Breakfast in Tel Aviv, lunch in Ramallah and dinner in Damascus

Mira Awad the Palestinian singer and Israeli singer Noa are in preparations before singing in Arabic, Hebrew and English with the stunning paisage of San Juan of Acre. The first with a cup of coffee in her hands and second with cup of tea. Outside this small detail and their background, the two artists have much in common: they are women with strong personality, don't care about criticism of their own and others, have an amazing voice and share a stage with message of reconciliation .

This week the message was exhibited in the place where exactly a year ago were experienced violent riots between Jews and Arabs. "I've invited you to our Festival to show that we can live in peace. Noa and Mira represent what we aspire to be," says Mayor Shimon Lankri.

"Nine years ago I've searched for a Palestinian artist to do joint projects for coexistence. I have found Mira and here we are," says Noa while her partner nods.

In conversation with, Noa and Mira speak openly. They declared that they are "in love with Spanish public and life in Spain" but the israeli does not forget the boycott of the group for her recent performance in Barcelona on the occasion of National Day of Catalonia.

Question: What do you remember of that act?

Noa: It was very traumatic because the group came just to annoy me. They whistled constantly. They wanted to humiliate me and force me to stop singing. It was terrible but I am a very stubborn person and not got off the stage, I kept saying what I think in Catalan. In the third song, 'Life is Beautiful',there was silence. Unfortunately it is very easy for a vocal minority to impose on the silent majority and they become hostages of their ideas.

Q: Do you understand your boycott?

Noa: I think that this group, as as also the radical left in Europe, are looking for a fight. I've heard Pilar Rahola, a very brave woman, saying that they needed something new to replace the cap of Che Guevara and they found the Palestinian keffiya. Many times they have no idea what they are talking. They don't do favors to the Palestinian people and do not help advance the dialogue. I'm for peace and dialogue. These people are so obsessed with being against that and I still do not understand what they are in favor.

Q: They justified their protest because of your support for Israel's military offensive in Gaza ...

Noa: For my words during the war in Gaza when I criticized the group of Hamas. I do not redraw it, because I do not think that their agenda represents will of the Palestinian people, but this is my personal opinion. You can not be in favor of peace and support Hamas, which is very extreme. It's absurd. I support many Palestinians who struggle to have peace. But because I support the idea of two states for two peoples they can't demand that I support Hamas. I can not, sorry. If you have a problem with that, it is a problem with me.

Mira: And me! I have no words to describe my sorrow for what Noa lived in Barcelona. People invest so much energy and strength to shout out against a singer who for 18 years has continually criticized policies of her Government and the Army and who opposes the Israeli occupation. Instead of attacking Noa they should go to the UN, Obama, Abu Mazen, Netanyahu, Hamas ... To boycott the government but not a singer.

Q: You tend to cause much attention when traveling together?

Mira: Yes, at a performance in Italy we got a nasty surprise. At first we were with emotions to see so many Palestinians and some Israeli flags. We were so proud. We saw many Keffiyas! I usually wear the Keffiya and I'm proud of it because it is a symbol of Palestinian identity. But suddenly we saw the slogans of hatred and they were calling us 'killers'. My keffiya from always against a hate-filled one as if I were a killer. I have always rejected and condemned the killing of people, wherever religion they are.

Q: Several Palestinian artists criticized you for representing Israel at Eurovision ...

Mira:I was harshly criticized "how I could represent Israel after when that country was killing my people." They accused me of being part of Israeli propaganda. But I say that from '48, the two sides have done bad things. We must remember the history that is very bad.

Noa: Our message reached many people, we received good feedback from everyone, also from Spain. It was a very hard time because Eurovision was held just three months after the war in Gaza. It was hard to play together but we said that is the best time to claim our message.

Mira: I wonder, 'When there is no war in this area?' There are days or weeks of truce and then others of violence again.

Q: The mayor of this city says you invited to the festival following clashes last year ...

Mira: The Festival represents the coexistence between Jews and Arabs. Last year, the truce was broken and the Festival was postponed. It was important to come to say that we can live together and that there is respect between peoples and religions.

Noa: There is no natural instinct of war and violence. People can live in peace if given the chance.

Q: Honestly, do not you think that what you do is just like a grain of sand? Peace is still far away ...

Mira: If our message is captured by a single person, every effort was worthwhile and modestly I think we have reached more than one. We have opened a little window into the harsh reality that can be seen in the news.

Noa: I think that we are very close to peace ...There is progress. For example, before in Israel, few dared to speak out in support of a Palestinian state and most do that today. Now it's only about negotiating the price to reach an agreement.

Q: Finally, what is your dream?
Noa: Be present at the ceremony of peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. Perhaps let me sing (laughs).

Mira: Breakfast in Tel Aviv, lunch in Ramallah and dinner in Damascus.


  1. "Breakfast in Tel Aviv, lunch in Ramallah and dinner in Damascus."
    Mmm, a world in which it were so simple is worth dreaming for, I could not agree with her more. And she wears keffiyeh? I didn't know this! Very awesome. It is such an important symbol.

    Thank you so much for translating :)

  2. You're welcome. Thanx for commenting. I simply love her for who she is... She's one awsome, intelligent...and awsome artist.

    About keffiya...well every plaestinan and even some non palestinans by origine, but supporters have one. It's simbol as she said of their nationality...One great and important simbol. :-)

    And I love her dream :-) Wish that she realise it :-)