Al Kamandjati, the Violinist
The Association was created in October 2002 by Ramzi Aburedwan, a Palestinian violist (gold medal from the Conservatoire of Angers) from the Al Amari refugee camp, Ramallah. AK aims to support the education and schooling of Palestinian children by making music more accessible to them, especially those living in refugee camps and villages throughout Palestine and Lebanon. Fees are kept very low and scholarships are provided.
AK works in many refugee camps, villages and cities of the West Bank, as well as in Lebanon. It has developed many partnerships with existing cultural institutions so as to pool resources and thus improve the Palestinian situation.
Perhaps the least recognized effect of the violent Israeli occupation, on the lives of the Palestinian people, is the undermining of culture, art and leisure. When a regime wants to weaken a people, it uses psychological and cultural as well physical as means. It attempts to erase tangible evidence of that people's unique cultural heritage. The Palestinian resistance must operate on all levels.
The Intifada must be cultural as well as militant; artistic as well as political and economic. But on no account should we forget the primary reason behind the projects and activities led by Al Kamandjâti: to educate children, who suffer most from the unjust politico-economic situation.
The chance Ramzi was given must not remain isolated.
Al Kamandjâti accomplishments stem from an observation. Many activists around the world struggle to increase public awareness of the imperial aggression Palestinians have faced for more than 60 years. They refuse to let the Palestinians stand alone, for, as American civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, a threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. But concrete political achievements remain scarce. Al Kamandjâti carries out projects directly in the Palestinian Territories and surrounding countries, especially with Palestinian refugees. We cannot afford to sit back and wait for the favourable political decisions which would establish a Palestinian State. We must proactively work on galvanizing Palestinian cultural life.
We must act now!
We must give our children the opportunity to think beyond soldiers and tanks. They must think creatively, not about the destruction of their country, but about rebuilding their civilization.