I received this email from Sima Khoury Odeh on behalf of the Gaza Music School (firstname.lastname@example.org) after I wrote to them about the murdered violinist, Lubna Alyan.
Dear Mr. Wilson,
On behalf of our colleagues in Gaza, I am replying to your email because they can not reply to you. Thank you for your email and for your feelings. It seems that the word "human" can be used for some people but must not be used for many who take part, approve and support the genocide on Gaza killing innocent people including babies, children and people like Lubna and Dr. Alareer who simply tried to help their community and live a "normal" life.
Our branch in Gaza - the Gaza Music School, was established in 2008 and since then it has been affecting the lives of thousands of Gazans under siege specially children and youth through music education, community outreach programs, festivals, concerts seasons and music activities. Since October 2023, we have been in contact with our teachers, students and their families as well as all musicians in Gaza. A lot of them have lost family members, friends, neighbours, homes and a lot of things they loved and cherished. Most of them are displaced now, lacking basic needs.
While we appreciate the power of the people who have been requesting the governments to pressure Israel for ceasefire with no success until now, we hope support from friends like you to influence your community showcasing the massacres and the genocide through human stories would have a stronger effect on the peoples and their governments. Check out what a previous colleague wrote about Lubna and her story with music.
The conservatory also launched a campaign in support of the music community in Gaza hoping to collect funds to support them as the needs in Gaza are immense and the support Gazans get is scarce and not enough to meet the needs. Hence, the music community needs direct support.
As the level of destruction and killing is unprecedented, people are displaced with hundreds of thousands living in tents, UNRWA schools or probably in the streets in Rafah (South), the genocide is still not stopping. It has not been easy to plan any activities while we are sure that music would definitely help traumatised children and families. If and when the situation allows, some musicians might conduct interactive music activities for children in schools and shelters. Some areas are very dangerous. Other areas allow a person to move in the vicinity of two kilometers which is not safe either.
We pray the genocide and bombardment on Gaza stops immediately. The needs will be immense but the most important is to stop the genocide and then we all need to work together with our friends and partners to try to bring back music to Gaza or what is left of it.
Together we can make a difference in the lives of young Palestinians through music specially in Gaza which needs us now more than ever.
Gaza in our minds,
Sima Khoury Odeh
If you are a musician, music teacher or just want to help the Gaza Music School in the future, please contact me at email@example.com
David Wilson, former director Pavarotti Music Centre, Mostar