This year Brighton PSC held a day of events at the
Brighthelm Church & Community Centre.
It consisted of an exhibition of children, stalls, films and two
performances of Caryl Churchill’s brilliant play Seven Jewish Children. Seven Jewish Children is only 10 minutes long
and consists of parents and relatives discussing what to tell and what not to
tell an unnamed girl relation. The 7 Jewish
children correspond to seven episodes of time starting with the Holocaust and
ending with the Gaza war. It has a
refrain ‘don’t tell her… do tell her….’ Running
throughout is the fear of the unseen enemy, from the Nazis to the Israeli military. It operates on a number of different levels,
with the Jews being the victim to those who wield the gun. Fear of the known is the hidden companion.
Unsurprisingly it has been almost universally condemned by
right-wing commentators as ‘anti-Semitic’ a ‘blood libel’ by those who
spray words like bullets. This is the
second time I’ve seen the play and it as relevant now as when I saw it when it
was first written, at the time of the attack on Gaza in 2009. For those who haven’t seen it, it is on the
After Palestinian food was served, in the evening there was a
performance of music by Ahmad Al Khatib (oud) who was born in a Palestinian refugee
camp in Jordan. He joined the Edward
Said National Conservatory of Music and taught in the Oriental Music Department. In 2002 his visas was not renewed by the Zionist
authorities and he now lives in Sweden.
Borh in 1967, Youssef Hbeisch played on percussion and
taught at the Edward Said
National Conservatory of Music. Mohamed
Najem on clarinet was born in Jerusalem to refugee parents and grew up in
Bethlehem. He was a founder member of
the Palestine National Orchestra. Manfred Leuchter on accordion came to Ramallah in 2014 to
play on Najeem’s debut CD.
Brighton PSC hopes to bring, next year, young musicians from
the Gaza Music School to perform in Brighton.
Crowdfunding has already been launched to pay for the cost of so
doing. Please visit www.chuffed.org/project/gazaconcert to