What do Intifada and Dabke, the popular folkdance of the Levant, have in common? Very little, at a first glance. However, manifestations of political and national identity are very much intertwined with pop folkloric and cultural heritage.
Intifada, which in Arabic literally means a “shaking off”, has politically (predominantly) come to mean the popular resistance of the Palestinian people against the Israeli occupation. Dabke (stomping in Arabic) is a traditional linedance which celebrates community, solidarity and often nationalism (in the case of Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Jordan). Both Dabke and Intifada rally people together: the former an expression of joy and cultural identity, the latter a political uprising against an untenable status quo.
During the evening, Electronic Intifada co-founder Arjan El Fassed (PS/NL) showed us how the revolution is (partly) digitized, and oriental dancer Nayla Chebli (LB/NL) taught us the moves and grooves of the dabke. Moreover, writer Abdelkader Benali (MA/NL) provided us with the necessary literary glue from his novel that was still in progress at the time, called Munya.
The evening was hosted by independent curator Nat Muller.