14 May 2010
Mar Elias, Lebanon
He’s the one who fled his home during the Nakba and left, a kerosene lamp
The one he finds in the refugee camp is missing, a wick and fuel
His wife fares no better, with only dreams for a set of china, but then she has plenty of dreams
He’s the one, him and only him
He’s the only who built a house anew, to find bombs falling on the roof again
So then he finds himself in the tent anew, a tent that could be moved by the wind.
Marwan Abado chose to begin his press conference at the Al Kabri School in the Mar Elias Refugee Camp with this poem, by way of introducing his forthcoming concerts in Lebanon (including Beirut and Sidon). Abado’s visit to the country comes as a part of a three-leg tour of the region, which also takes in Syria and Jordan. Abado then expressed his hope that he would see the day when his poem would have little relevance to the daily lives of Palestinians.
Abado spoke also of the personal commitment he felt to this latest tour, which comes in the effort to raise funds for scholarships for Palestinian students. He reminisced about how his parents had instilled in him the idea that “education is a tool”, and spoke of his anguish that the Palestinians in Lebanon today had neglected to use that tool. Abado spoke of the need to support the educational work which UNRWA carried out in the three countries included in his visit as 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.”
Abado, who was born in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon and describes himself as “integrally Palestinian, Lebanese and Austrian”, gave meaning to the title of his tour by saying that “Palestine remains my melody throughout”. Although nostalgic for life in the camps, he emphasised the need for camps, in order to better appreciate them from the outside, and from there think of the return to Palestine. Abado expressed the hope that through his music, he was best placed to serve the greatest number of people in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.
After the press conference, Marwan Abado walked through the streets of the Mar Elias camp, which he had left once and had hoped to return to.
Together with another four Austrian musicians, Abado will play two concerts in Lebanon as part of his “Palestine Remains My Melody” tour. Dates below:
Beirut, 22 May: UNESCO Palace
Sidon, 21 May: Rafiq Hariri High School
Proceeds go to funding scholarships for Palestine refugee students in Lebanon.