British bands play for Palestine youth

Some of the biggest names in Britain's alternative music scene are to play a benefit concert for the Palestinian people.

    The Hoping Foundation funds projects for refugee children*

    On Saturday, Primal Scream, Spiritualized, and Steve from the Beta Band are due to perform to a sell-out crowd at London's Brixton Academy, in what is probably the biggest benefit gig for Palestinians ever held in Britain.

    Aisling Byrne, project director with the Hoping Foundation, the charity organising the event, said the bands had offered to take part in the event as there was increased awareness of the Palestinian issue in Britain. 

     

    "There is a lot more support for Palestine because people understand better what is happening there, and they want to be able to do something practical to help," said Byrne.

    Byrne said the issue of Palestine was getting more coverage.

    "There are all sorts of groups getting involved. It's much wider."

    Helping refugee children

    The Hoping Foundation was founded in 2002, and aims to support projects for Palestinian children in refugee camps in the Occupied Territories, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

    Many Palestinian refugees live in

    poverty and face daily violence

    The charity is currently working with youth and cultural centres that offer space to children who live in environments beset by poverty and violence.

    "Palestinian refugee children need the simple chances and ordinary possibilities that can offer them creative solutions to their lives," the charity's website says.

    Last year, two Hoping Foundation trustees, writer Harriet Vyner and fashion designer Bella Freud, visited Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and the West Bank. They were accompanied by Hoping Foundation supporter Jemima Khan.

    Unity

    One of the charity's aims is to express solidarity with Palestinians.

    "The Palestinians are a prisoner nation, refugees and exiles treated like ghosts"

    Bobby Gillespie, Primal Scream's frontman

    "We will be showing Palestinian children that their struggle to transform their lives is encouraged and supported by people in Britain and throughout the rest of the world," their website says.

    Byrne said the charity already had plans for more fundraising concerts.

    "We have a lot of people who are offering to do other events."

    Also at Saturday's concert

    3D from Massive Attack and Andrew Wetherall will be DJing

    and there will be a special mystery guest.

    'Prisoner nation'

    Writing in the British daily The Guardian, Primal Scream's frontman Bobby Gillespie explained why he is involved:

    "The truth is that most people can see what is taking place on the ground in the Middle East. And they can see who needs our support. Everyone knows who is under the boot and who's got the mouthful of broken glass.

    "The Palestinians are a prisoner nation, refugees and exiles treated like ghosts. Now we want them to feel our solidarity," he wrote.

    Gillespie pointed to the long tradition of British musicians' involvement in political causes.

    "John Lennon used his name and money to oppose the Vietnam war and support the workers on strike. If Lennon were still on this earth, he'd be doing Palestine. In fact he'd be rocking the Brixton Academy tomorrow night."

    * Photo courtesy of the Hoping Foundation

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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