« Home | PLO's Fatah threatens attacks on America » | KOS kids and the Irainian holocaust cartoon atrocity » | Salah Choudhury's life is in danger » | US Jewish groups are not adequately supporting Isr... » | Robert Gates is a bad choice for defense secretary » | Keith Ellison, Islam's member of Congress » | Participated in bloggers conference with Ron Dermer » | 1796: the "peace treaty" with Islam that now needs... » | Michael Steele for RNC chairman? » | Thoughts on election results for 2006 » 

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 

The Gypsies of Gaza

Did you know that there are Gypsies living in the Gaza strip? Neither did I! But as this AFP article I found shows, there really are some Gypsies who live in this area, and unfortunately, they're being persecuted:
GAZA CITY (AFP) - Seated on her doorstep in a neighborhood in Gaza City, Narem puffs discontentedly on her cigarette, then sighs: "We used to be dancers and singers. Now we are nothing."

In Europe, they are called Gypsies or Roma. In Gaza, they are called the Nawar, a people with an ancestral tradition of song and dance who have been scattered for centuries throughout the Middle East.

But here, the rise of Islamist doctrine that accompanied the start of the second Palestinian uprising six years ago has sounded the death knoll for the Nawar way of life, pushed them into begging, and rendered them second-class citizens in a society regulated more and more by rigid rules.

"Our life was among the best. We wore the most beautiful dresses, we ate the best dishes. We sang Um Kalsum, Abdel Halim Hafez during marriages and celebrations. We were free," says Narem, 35, quickly throwing a scarf to cover her dark, flowing hair whenever a car passes.

"We didn´t learn in schools, but in the home. With us, you begin to sing and dance while still a child," she says. "My mother danced, my grandmother before her, and my great-grandmother also."

For decades, the Nawar wandered from city to town in the Gaza Strip and the wider Middle East, showing off their singing and dancing.

Fatima, 49, was a singer.

"We went from city to city, to Rafah, Khan Yunis, Jabaliya. We would set up tents and would play the oud and the drums. Some of us wandered as far as Egypt, Syria and Jordan," Fatima sighs.

"Life was as sweet as honey," she whispers, raising her eyes toward the sky.
This being from the AFP, it's not surprising that a bias can be found in here:
The establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, following the Oslo peace accords between the Israelis and Palestinians, made it even sweeter.

Buoyed by the belief that they would soon get their own state, the Palestinians were in the mood for celebrating.

"With the arrival of the Palestinian Authority, clubs were constructed on the sea shore. There was the Sunset, the Baida," says Sheikh Abu Mohammed, the patriarch of Gaza´s Nawar quarter.
Is this some sort of a PLO spokesperson who's quoted here? And are they trying to lump the Gypsies in with the Muslims? That sugary talk about nightclubs is certainly exaggerated or totally false, since after the PLO first took over, poverty soon took over, much more than beforehand. I wouldn't be surprised if the AFP did take it out of context.
But the eruption of the second Palestinian uprising in September 2000 led by the Islamist Hamas movement -- changed all that.

"The extremists burned and closed all the clubs. They said it was ´haram,´ ´forbidden´ that girls dance and sing," Abu Mohammed says, dressed in his worn, faded long robe.


After the start of the second intifada, cinemas in Gaza were shut or burnt down, sale of alcohol banned, bathing suits on the beaches replaced by long-sleeved shirts and pants, and Nawar performances no longer welcomed.


Today the Nawar in Gaza live under the eye of a society that despises them at a time when violence and death have replaced celebrations.
It certainly is sad that they're living under the kind of oppression they are, and which may have gone on for much more time than the article implies.

About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
My profile



    avigreen2002@yahoo.com See also my collection of Link in Bio pages: Realtime Website Traffic

      I also contribute to

    • The Astute Bloggers
    • Infidel Bloggers Alliance
    • Which also includes (open menu)

      My other sites

    • The Four Color Media Monitor
    • The Comic Book Discrimination Dossiers
    • Hawkfan
    • The Greatest Thing on Earth!
    • The Outer Observatory
    • Earth's Mightiest Heroines
    • Puzzle Paradise
    • The Co-Stars Primer
    • Cinema Capsule Cavalcade
    • Food Diner
    • News/Opinion sites (open menu)

      Writers and special activity groups (open menu)

      Media Watchdogs (open menu)

      Columnist bloggers (open menu)

      Research on terrorism (open menu)

      Other bloggers: Israel and Asia (open menu)

      Other bloggers: Europe (open menu)

      Other bloggers: American continent (open menu)

      Museum sites (open menu)

      Bloggeries Blog Directory blog directory Blog Directory & Search engine View My Stats
    • W3 Counter stats
    • eXTReMe Tracker
      Locations of visitors to this page  
      Flag Counter

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

    make money online blogger templates

Older Posts Newer Posts

Tel-Chai Nation is powered by Blogspot and Gecko & Fly.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.
Join the Google Adsense program and learn how to make money online.