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First Impressions of Palestine from radio lajee on Vimeo.

Each year, a number of internationals visit Palestine for the first time as part of the Lajee Center’s International Summer Workcamp.

Radio Lajee spoke with some of this year’s participants to find out what surprised them most about their experiences here.

This video was produced by Radio Lajee’s Linda Azzeh, Basil Zboun, Maren Rosenberg and Daz Chandler.

For further information about the International Summer Workcamp, please email info@lajee.org

Here in Aida Camp and in fact most of the Arab world, Ramadan is a pivotal occasion which takes place for 30 days of every year. It’s the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and historically commemorates the period when the first verses of the holy Qu’ran were revealed.

A Glimpse of Ramadan from radio lajee on Vimeo.

On a surface level, Ramadan is about fasting so if you’re in good health, adult and Muslim, you should refrain from eating or drinking anything during the daylight hours. When the sun sets, Muslims break the fast generally alongside their entire family.

On a deeper level, Ramadan is a time for spiritual advancement, self-improvement, generosity, empathy and community.

Like any significant religious occasion, some people love it, while others dread it. One thing’s for sure though, Ramadan certainly means something different to everyone.

To give you a better understanding of what these 30 days are about, Radio Lajee’s Shoroq Asad prepared this slide-show. If you like it, don’t forget to leave a comment and share with others!

Recently we posted an interview with UK-based Palestinian hip-hop artist, Shadia Mansour.

What made the piece particularly interesting was its exploration of hip-hop from a Palestinian cultural perspective. There’s a really mixed reaction here to Western or American styles of music - if you missed it and you’d like to learn more, you can catch the interview here.

Since then, we met a local 18 year old who not only is a massive fan of hip hop but a burgeoning artist himself.

Athal Azza got the details.

Photo: Mohammad Qassim

Suhaib Omar Mislat is 18 years old and lives in Beit Jala. His family are Palestinian refugees from Beit Natef village. When Suhaib was just 11 years old he started listening to hip hop and writing some rhymes.

“Hip hop is a great way to express yourself, and communicate the truth about what’s happening here in Palestine.” He explained.

“I’ve always loved the music - especially from the legendary 2Pac.”

Now, just seven years later, Radio Lajee has helped Suhaib AKA Black Shot’s Band For Change to record his first track.  We think it’s pretty awesome - let us know what you think!

A big thanks to Radio Lajee’s Layan Azza, Hesham Zakai and Asmah Abdul-Hamid for translating the lyrics into English (click ’show transcript’ below to check them out for yourself.)

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We think that Knafe is easily one of the most delicious desserts in all the world so we are very proud that it is also Palestinian. When we were in Nablus, the home of Knafe, we went to Al-Bashir sweet shop on El-Hessbe street to see how it was done. Enjoy the video and sahtain o’affya!

Camera : Hiba Al-Azraq

Story: Layan Al-Azza

Editing: Layan Al-Azza, Jason Azcona

Illustrations: Manu Cordia

Food Styling: Linda Al-Azza

Music: ‘A Bakers Dozen’ by Reem Kilani

Sound recording: Layan Al Azza

In the last six months alone, 1,118 Palestinians have been arrested by Israeli soldiers. 90% of these individuals have been imprisoned.

It’s an extremely important issue that sadly affects everyone living in Palestine. If they haven’t spent time in jail themselves, their brother, sister, mother, father or cousin has. With that in mind, it won’t surprise you to know that many of the Lajee Center volunteers have also had this experience - including Radio Lajee’s Mohammad Qassim.

Although an extremely painful topic to talk about, the other night Mohammad decided to share his story. Please take the time to listen and learn.

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In 1948 the year of the Nakba, Afif Gatasha was just six months old. In this recording, he shares the very personal and moving story of his life from then until now.

Sound recording: Layan Al Azza

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Photo caption: Italian volunteer Paolo spends time with some local kids from Aida Camp.

Every summer, the Lajee Center hosts an eclectic bunch of individuals from all over the world as part of the International Summer Work Camp.

Established in 2001, the camp provides attendees with a first-hand experience of life inside Occupied Palestine as well as an introduction to Palestinian history, traditions, art and culture and of course, lots of new friends.

Over the 15 day period, the group enjoys a range of activities including Arabic language, dabke and cooking classes plus several fascinating speakers from Aida Camp, Palestine and beyond.

Throughout the next couple of weeks, Radio Lajee will be featuring excerpts from these presentations.

Shadia Mansour is a Palestinian artist who is based in the UK. Her medium is Hip Hop and she believes that it is the next crucial phase in Palestinian resistance. Here in the West Bank we have a mixed reaction to this genre of music - many people feel that it doesn’t reflect our culture.

Radio Lajee’s Hiba Al-Azraq caught up with Shadia while she was in Bethlehem on tour. She has been visiting the West Bank since she was a little girl, her family are originally from Haifa and Nazareth.

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Recently, we received an email from a listener wanting to know what we do in Occupied Palestine in our ‘down time’.

Radio Lajee’s Shoroq Asad prepared this report about one particular event that is universally popular here.

When you take a listen, you’ll be able to tell immediately that Shoroq is one huge lover of verse - her script is pure poetry!

If you like the piece or have any questions, we would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below.

Script & Voice: Shoroq Asad

Field Recordings: Mohammad Waleed and Daz Chandler

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From left: Hiba, Layan and Mousa enjoy the view at a popular Nablus look-out.

Salam everybody! Hope things are good with you.

Here, although it’s summer time and extremely hot, things are a-buzzing.

Daz Chandler is back and another round of Radio Lajee media training workshops is currently underway with Radio Lajee’s Layan Al Azzeh, Shoroq Assad, Hiba Al Azraq and Mohammad Waleed at the helm.

We’ve spent many a day over the past couple of weeks huddled inside the air-conditioned Lajee Center library, revisiting the objectives behind Radio Lajee, discussing the power of blogging and exploring new ways to make our media content more diverse, vibrant and regular. Check in with us again soon - we’ve got lots of stimulating bits and pieces on the way ; )

The other day when brainstorming some story ideas, we decided that Radio Lajee was due a field trip. So, last Saturday morning we headed to the Palestinian city of Nablus to record a story about the mouth-watering Palestinian dessert, Kanafeh.

The trip was a huge success and proved to be extremely fruitful; Layan, Hiba and Mousa produced audio, photography and video content. Stay tuned, this will all uploaded soon - we promise.

In the meantime, please continue to spread the word about Radio Lajee - the bigger an audience we have the better. And, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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