9 June 2010
Poems of Palestine echoed in the packed auditorium at Al-Hussein Cultural Centre in Amman at the end of May, as Palestine musician Marwan Abado opened a series of concerts being held in support of UNRWA’s education programme.
"I wish for a day without victories. Without murders, without injuries, just a normal boring day. And this normal, boring day will be a feast for a land called Palestine," sings Abado on his new album Nard.
Abado grew up as a refugee in Beirut and immigrated in the late 1980s to Austria, where he studied musical and social sciences at Vienna University. He studied the oud under Iraqi maestro Assim Chalabi and shaped his own style, as he invigorated Arab music by integrating Western influences.
As a student in an UNRWA school in Lebanon, Abado's parents always instilled in him that education was their "major weapon as Palestinians." Education is, in his words: “the way for us to overcome our self-victimisation. As harsh as fate has been to us, we need to overcome it.”
The series of concerts in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon was a collaboration between UNRWA and the Society for Austro-Arab Relations. The concerts will help fund scholarships for refugee students in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
"Our ability to provide both life-saving and life-enhancing services is contingent upon the support we receive from the international community, host countries, such as Jordan, and the support from the general public," said Deputy Commissioner-General Margot Ellis.
Belonging to a homeland
The series, Palestine Remains My Melody, reflects the "strong sense of belonging to a homeland" that Abado grew up with and still holds, after living in Vienna for over two decades.
The funds raised in the series, Abado said, will “be ammunition for a weapon called science, this weapon that hits its target and gives us hope of a better future."
By Fabiano Jácome