Monday, March 23, 2009

Peace in Our Time?

Most of my American friends are blissfully unaware of the magnificent kitsch that is the Eurovision Song Contest. I have blogged about it before, and now it is again that time. Above is a photo of the Arabi-Israeli singer Mira Awad, who is co-representing Israel this year with Achinoam Nini (aka Noa). The BBC reported:

"The story began several months ago when Achinoam Nini, known as "Noa" - a Jewish-Israeli singer - was asked to represent Israel for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow this May. Noa, a long-time peace activist, insisted that her old friend and co-performer Awad should also be involved. For Mira, it was a golden opportunity. "I believe that by representing this country I am nailing to the wall my existence here," she told me. She sees it as a way to make Israel's Arabs more visible. "I am here, I am not moving when its tough," she says."

Awad was already known to Israelis as a star of the comedy 'Arab Labour' (Avodah Aravit), and wrote the duet that was voted for by the public. However, this happened around the same time as the recent events in Gaza, and the Arab community decided that she was being used for Israeli propaganda purposes.

"Against this background of polarisation, Mira has had to defend her decision to sing under Israel's banner in Eurovision. Yet ... the articulate actress was confident and robust about what she stands for. "It's not so easy to banish me," she says. "This whole operation in Gaza was such a painful time, I am still Palestinian and I will always be Palestinian." But she says she's not representing Israel in spite of these beliefs - she's doing so because of them. "We do not have equal rights yet, but the way to get our equal rights will not be by boycotting the country that we live in," she argues."

If only there were more like this woman, from both polarities.

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