A Palestinian Song

Palestinian history is documented through music, arts, and other sorts of humanities to include dancing and singing. The song Jafra w Zareef is an old Palestinian folklore song still played in many events and festive occasions. The beautiful art behind this song is that it can come in different melodies and lyrics performed by different artists. The one I chose, performed by Mahmoud Badawiya and Manal Moussa,represents the Palestinian struggle through a music video that includes a Debke, a traditional Levantine folk dance shared across Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. The Debke has unique similaries and differences across the Levant based on the village, town, and city. The singers and dancers express their longing for homeland by using metaphoric examples such food, soil, money, and gold and how these are priceless compared to living away. The choice of words: “Whatever money being collected, and jars filled with gold, soil of the homeland will only be my eye liner”, symbolize the weight of living in exile and that even if being away from their homeland ‘was covered in honey, it will never be sweet’, meaning that nothing can compensate for the dread of living alienation and despite how comfortable or wealthy their lives may be in diaspora, it will never be as sweet as living in Palestine.

They perform this not only to express their emotions but as a form of struggle for their homeland, by representing their culture and way of life through peaceful protest to Zionist colonialism. They do it in such a way that people from across the world can understand the reason of their sadness without having to do extensive background research on the conflict dating back to the early 20th century.
The song usually has a fast beat when it is played and performed by a Debke group or a band. Although sometimes it has a slower beat and melody to it when it is played solo by a person using a flute or Oud, a short-neck lute-type that resembled an American guitar. The style of the song usually fits the scene of where the song is being played, so if the song is performed by someone sitting under an olive tree, or in their land somewhere near the countryside, the melody usually has a nostalgic feel and rhythm to it as well as the lyrics. In other ways, like the example of this music video performed by Mahmoud Badawiya and Manal Moussa, the song is also performed in events, particularly ones that involve solidarity with the Palestinian cause as a way of showing resistance and the style differs in a sense that it is more upbeat and motivating. For those like myself who are deeply invested in seeing change for the Palestinian people, this song is a reminder of what we live for.
Qaisjamal. (2015, May 02). Palestinian DABKA_PALESTINIAN folk dance and song. Retrieved April 21, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thMWT80djYcAugust 10, 2., May 17, 2., May 10, 2., December 15, 2., September 19, 2., & September 18, 2. (2012, July 10). Palestine: Art & History: Jafra. Retrieved April 21, 2021, from https://beyondcompromisedotcom.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/palestine-art-history-jafra/

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