2009 Capital of Arab Culture

2009 Capital of Arab Culture

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Al-Quds Arab Capital of Culture was the name given to Arab Capital of Culture programme in 2009. The programme, organised by UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 and the Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

, is designed to promote Arab culture and encourage cooperation in the Arab world
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

. The 2009 event was the fourteenth programme since its establishment in 1996.

Al-Quds is the Arabic name
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 for Jerusalem, the proclaimed capital of the State of Palestine
State of Palestine
Palestine , officially declared as the State of Palestine , is a state that was proclaimed in exile in Algiers on 15 November 1988, when the Palestine Liberation Organization's National Council adopted the unilateral Palestinian Declaration of Independence...

, although the seat of government and de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

 capital is Ramallah
Ramallah
Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

. Many of the events were held in the Palestinian territories
Palestinian territories
The Palestinian territories comprise the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Since the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988, the region is today recognized by three-quarters of the world's countries as the State of Palestine or simply Palestine, although this status is not recognized by the...

 controlled by the Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian Authority is the administrative organization established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip...

. The opening event scheduled for January 2009 was delayed due to the Gaza War. It was held on March 21, 2009.

Launching of the events


Palestinian President
President of the Palestinian National Authority
The President of the Palestinian National Authority is the highest-ranking political position in the Palestinian National Authority ....

 Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas , also known by the kunya Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah ticket.Elected to serve until 9 January 2009, he unilaterally...

 officially launched the celebration of Jerusalem as the Capital of Arab Culture for 2009 at a ceremony in Bethlehem
Bethlehem
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

. Simultaneous ceremonies were supposed to take place in Jerusalem, Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

, Nazareth
Nazareth
Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up predominantly of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel...

, and Mar Elias Refugee Camp
Mar Elias
Mar Elias is a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, by Beirut. The camp is rare as it composed mainly of Christian Palestinians; almost all the rest of the refugee camps contain Muslim Palestinians...

 in Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

. These synchronized celebrations in five locations reflect the desire of building a cultural bridge between Palestinian people
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 and Palestinians in the diaspora. Israeli Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter
Avi Dichter
Avi Dichter is an Israeli politician who currently serves as a member of the Knesset for Kadima. He is a former Minister of Internal Security and Shin Bet director.-Biography:...

 instructed police to suppress PNA-sponsored events calling Jerusalem the 'capital of Arab culture' because they constituted a violation of the interim agreement, which includes a clause stating that the PA is prohibited from organizing events in Israeli territory.

On Dichter's orders, police shuttered eight planned events and detained twenty organizers and participants for questioning. The blocked events included a soccer match scheduled at a school on Nablus Road
Nablus Road
The Nablus Road is one of the traditional routes into Jerusalem's walled city. Starting at the Damascus Gate, it is the ancient road north.-Places of interest:* The Garden Tomb* The Dominican School of Biblical Research and Saint Stephen's Monastery...

, a conference for young women at the Al-Hiya'la Center, and marches in the Wadi al-Joz
Wadi Al-Joz
Wadi al-Joz , also Wadi Joz, , is an Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem, located at the head of the Kidron Valley, north of the Old City. The population of Wadi Joz is 13,000....

 and Sheikh Jarrah
Sheikh Jarrah
Sheikh Jarrah is a predominantly Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem on the road to Mount Scopus.-History:Sheikh Jarrah was established on the slopes of Mount Scopus, taking its name from the tomb of Sheikh Jarrah. The tomb, dated to 1201, is the burial place of Husam al-Din al-Jarrahi, an...

 neighborhoods. In addition, a group of Arab students was blocked from rallying at the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

 with PLO
Palestine Liberation Organization
The Palestine Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed...

 flags. A similar ceremony was blocked on the Haroun al-Rashid road. Events in Ras al-Amud
Ras al-Amud
Ras al-Amud is a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem, located southeast of the Old City, overlooking Silwan to the south, Abu Dis and al-Eizariya to the east, and the Temple Mount to the north...

 and al-Tur were also shut down.

Reactions to the Israeli ban

  • Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas
    Mahmoud Abbas
    Mahmoud Abbas , also known by the kunya Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah ticket.Elected to serve until 9 January 2009, he unilaterally...

     condemned the ban, emphasizing that "there will be no peace without Jerusalem."
  • Knesset
    Knesset
    The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

     member Ahmad Tibi
    Ahmad Tibi
    Ahmad Tibi is an Arab-Israeli politician and leader of Ta'al , an Arab party in Israel. He currently serves as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. He was elected on a joint ticket with the United Arab List to serve in Israel's parliament, the Knesset...

     said: "I guess the occupation feels threatened by the Palestinian culture and narrative. This is a struggle between occupying police and the songs of freedom and the song will win in the end."
  • Nazareth
    Nazareth
    Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up predominantly of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel...

     mayor Ramiz Jaraisy
    Ramiz Jaraisy
    Ramiz Jaraisy is the mayor of Nazareth.Jaraisy was born in Israel. He holds a B.Sc in mechanical engineering and an M.Sc in civil engineering , both from the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. He established two Arab-Israeli student unions, first for the Technion, and subsequently a...

     said: "I never thought they [Israeli authorities] would take it this far. After all, this is a cultural event." The mayor said Dichter was made aware of the planned festivities as early as March 11 but decided to wait nine days before issuing the order "to prevent a public outcry and legal action on our part. Dichter is trying to compete with (Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman) Avigdor Lieberman's anti-Arab trend, and anyone who holds democracy and freedom of expression dear must condemn his position," he said.
  • As a reaction on the Israeli ban, the Dutch
    Dutch people
    The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

     composer
    Composer
    A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

     Merlijn Twaalfhoven
    Merlijn Twaalfhoven
    Merlijn Twaalfhoven is a Dutch composer and theatre maker. He graduated from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam in 2003. Twaalfhoven is internationally active in creating innovative projects and writing new music for orchestras, choirs and chamber music groups...

     initiated Al Quds Underground Festival. Palestinian and international artists created around 150 small theatre and music events in living rooms across the Old City
    Old City
    -Neighborhoods :*Old City , Azerbaijan*Old City *Old City *Old City , Pakistan*Old City Multan, Pakistan*Old City , Tennessee, United States*Old City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States...

    . Access to the festival was on invitation only to avoid problems with the Israeli authorities. In 2010 the festival saw its second edition.

Al-Quds Arab Capital of Culture in Gaza



Spokesperson of the Ministry of the Interior Ihab al-Ghussein
Ihab al-Ghussein
Ihab al-Ghussein is the current de facto spokesman of the Interior Ministry of the Palestinian National Authority based in the Hamas-administrated Gaza Strip....

 said that the celebrations for Al-Quds Arab Capital of Culture in March at the headquarters of the Palestinian Legislative Council
Palestinian Legislative Council
The Palestinian Legislative Council, the legislature of the Palestinian Authority, is a unicameral body with 132 members, elected from 16 electoral districts in the West Bank and Gaza...

 in Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

. Abbas accused Hamas of blocking celebrations.

Al-Quds Arab Capital of Culture in Denmark


Events took place on September 26 and 27 in Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

. This celebration, the only one outside the Arab world
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

, included more than 40 Palestinian artists, among them the hip hop
Hip hop
Hip hop is a form of musical expression and artistic culture that originated in African-American and Latino communities during the 1970s in New York City, specifically the Bronx. DJ Afrika Bambaataa outlined the four pillars of hip hop culture: MCing, DJing, breaking and graffiti writing...

 group Ramallah Underground
Ramallah Underground
Ramallah Underground, based in Ramallah, Palestine, is a musical collective born from the desire to give voice to a generation of Palestinians and Arabs, in a situation of great economic, artistic, and political difficulty...

, the folklore dance troupe El Funoun, the Oriental Music Ensemble, visual artist Rana Bishara, and film director Larissa Sansour who presented her film A Space Exodus. They were also joint cultural productions produced with prominent Danish artists, as well as a bazaar showcasing cultural products and Palestinian cuisine
Palestinian cuisine
Palestinian cuisine consists of foods from or commonly eaten by Palestinians — which includes those living in the Palestinian territories, Israel, refugee camps in nearby countries as well as by the Palestinian Diaspora...

.

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