The Free Gaza Song Contest –
Music to Accompany a Courageous Boat Journey
(Mainz, August 20, 2008) While forty internationals sail with a boat from Cyprus to Gaza to take
a stand (see www.freegaza.org), there is a song playing in the background: the Free Gaza
Song. Whoever plays and submits this song can win in the Free Gaza Song Contest. All details
Background: The Gaza Strip borders the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea and is regarded
by Europe as an occupied territory, whereas Israel says that its troops have withdrawn, thus
denying responsibility for the situation. The 1.5 million inhabitants of this densely populated
coastal strip are being collectively punished for aggressions of individuals and of groups by
means of a strict siege. Most of those aggressions, in turn, often have their origins in the
dispossession of the Palestinians and in sixty years of injustice. The water quality in the Gaza
Strip is catastrophical, and more than 200 people have died due to the lack of medical supplies.
The economy has collapsed, the unemployment rate currently is the highest in the world, and
the programmed disputes between the elected Hamas and Fatah, which is supported by many
powerful countries in the world, further aggravate the situation for the civil population.
Everybody, who happens to live in Gaza, is exposed to this fate that is far away from the Human
The "Free Gaza" and the "Liberty" sail on Gazan invitation from Cyprus without entering Israeli
waters or Israeli ports. They bring with them 200 hearing-aids that are needed there, they
release balloons as a sign for freedom and want to open the way for more boats. The reactions
from Israel are contradictory: on the one hand, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recently
officially acknowledged the humanitarian character of this nonviolent action. On the other hand,
the newspapers Haaretz and Jerusalem Post publish headlines that in part are rather
threatening. It is all the same for the maritime Free Gaza group: they go to Gaza. More than 200
international organizations and personalities support them and millions are with them.
And where does the song contest come in? There is a guy who joined the web team of
FreeGaza.org a year ago, namely songwriter Anis from Germany. He knows some of the boat
participants personally, and on August 1, the Free Gaza Song occurred to him during a
badminton game. The next day it was posted on YouTube at
http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=ATLNx8k8FU0. The melody of the song is catchy and easy to
sing and play, leaving enough space for individual interpretations. Thus the Free Gaza Song
Contest came into being at the same time, for Anis says in his video message: "Maybe you have
a band or another language or something else."
Prizes are, among other things, several sets of 12 "Before their Diaspora" pictures (29,5 cm x 42
cm), see www.anis-online.de/2/artclub/beforetheirdiaspora.htm, as well as sets of postcards of
the same series, one DVD "The Sons of Eilaboun" by Hisham Zreiq and a DVD by filmmaker
Osama Qashoo who is one of the boat participants. There were some first reactions on the song
contest, among them a video response by members of the Free Gaza Movement, recorded in
Cyprus (http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=2mjwuvWHHG4), a version of the musicians Angelika
Wagener (Cello) and Ofer Golany (from Jerusalem), and a rock'n'roll punk version by Lars RO
Anis wrote two more songs for Free Gaza and meanwhile all three songs are recorded in a
studio for good quality listening. On the verse: "You say it's all about a security risk / and you
don't read no Chomsky, you don't read no Fisk / and I got Gaza on my mind and you tell me
why.", professor Noam Chomsky wrote in an email: "Very glad to see the song, and very
pleased to be linked with Fisk, particularly in an endeavor as courageous and necessary as this
All news of the Free Gaza Song Contest are published and collected at www.anisonline.
de/office/events/FreeGazaSong.htm. Deadline is December 31, 2008.
Contact is anis (@) anis-online.de