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Saturday, 10 January 2009

Music School Silenced in Gaza

There was a music school in Gaza. It was just six months old. The 31 children aged seven to 11 could choose one of five instruments, including the guitar, oud (lute), and piano. Most of the 19 girls gravitated to the guitar and piano while many of the 12boys showed a preference for the oud.

The school worked out of rented premises in the Palestinian Red Crescent Society
building just across the street from the Preventive Security Forces compound in
Gaza City. The compound was targeted in the first wave of Israeli bombardments on
December 27, and twice more the next day. The five-story building was vaporized; a
flat gravel surface is all that remains.

Like other buildings in the neighborhood, the Gaza Music School was shattered;
window frames and doors were blown out, and holes were punched in the walls. The
force of the blast imploded the four ouds, just like it had the compound.

By some miracle, the children had not yet arrived for their lessons and so were
spared the fate of those in other schools in the path of Israeli bombs.

In the midst of all the death and destruction in Gaza, the school's short life rouses
particular emotion. That there was such a school at all is astonishing, not just
because of the 18 month siege that followed the decades of "de-development" of
Gaza under Israeli occupation but also because one might expect it to be contrary to
an Islamist social program. More