Coming soon: Gaza youth music video ‘Al Jeel Al Jadeed’ ~ by @docjazzmusic

Musical Intifada | 21 September 2013 | by Dr. Tariq Shadid aka Doc Jazz

Shahd Abusalama

Shahd Abusalama

Palestinian artist Doc Jazz’s new Arabic song ‘Al Jeel Al Jadeed’ (‘The New Generation’), which has not been released to the public yet, has a music video in the making that was filmed in Gaza with the participation of many youths from various backgrounds. The video marks the debut of widely known Palestinian artist and blogger Shahd Abusalama as creative director, and promises to be an inspiring work of art that expresses the aspirations of the new generation.

At the time of publication of this article, the filming has been completed, and footage is being subjected to the process of montage, so that it can be edited into a music video full of sparkle and creativity.

It’s almost unthinkable that anyone who follows the activities of young people in Palestine who give expression to their struggle against the Israeli occupation, would be unfamiliar with Shahd Abusalama. It’s impossible to get around her strongly charismatic persona and her wide range of creative talents, all of which she employs to give a powerful voice to the oppressed. Summing up the multiple talents of this 22-year old student of English literature is not an easy task, but she is mostly known for her highly expressive and skillful drawings, her sharp commentaries that she publishes on the Electronic Intifada and on her own blog ‘Palestine From My Eyes‘, and for her strong dedication to the Palestinian cause in its purest essence.

The end product will still take some time before processing and release, but it is already clear that Shahd was the golden choice for the role of creative director for this project, despite her being previously untested in this specific field of the visual arts. The reasons for this go even beyond her creative capabilities, and can’t be illustrated more clearly than by pointing out the remarkable conditions under which she took it upon herself to put her efforts into this project.

Rafah closure

As has been highlighted in several online media, Shahd is currently anxiously awaiting permission to cross the Rafah border despite the tight closure of it by the Egyptian authorities, in order to pursue her further education in Istanbul. The hard-fought scholarship she managed to obtain is at risk of being annulled if she doesn’t make it in time for registration in Turkey. The harshness of Gaza’s cruel reality under Israeli siege, worsened dramatically by the current closure from the Egyptian side, obviously wreaks havoc upon the personal lives of the Palestinians in Gaza, and Shahd is no exception.

Rescuing her scholarship and her chance to pursue her ambitious drive for education is not even the only reason that Shahd needs to cross Rafah urgently: her blog ‘Palestine from my Eyes’ has been translated into Italian, and is slated for publication as a book in Italy on September 26th. This being her first book, it needs no further explanation that Shahd is anxious to attend the release of it, which has been organized in the city of Genoa.

Can you imagine the psychological pressure that these restrictions of movement, clear and unambiguous violations of the most basic human rights, would be posing upon a young lady with such a strong drive for her ambitions and aspirations? Surely this could be a clear-cut cause for depression and mental collapse for the strongest among us, but not so for Shahd Abusalama. She exemplifies the spirit of Palestinian persistence and resistance, adopting yet another creative project right in the middle of her painstaking efforts to pursue all the necessary paperwork against all odds, and taking on the dire conditions of life in Gaza in a heads-on challenge, while aiming to defy the conditions that stand in the way of her dreams. With such an amazing spirit, combined with her great intelligence, deep wisdom far beyond her years, and limitless creativity, how could anyone be more suited for the role of being creative director for the music video of ‘Al Jeel Al Jadeed’?

The making of ‘Al Jeel Al Jadeed’

Doc Jazz

Doc Jazz

This is what Shahd herself had to say about her choice to take on the project: “The multi-talented Doc Jazz performs this song so beautifully and with such a powerful beat that you struggle not to dance. But much more than that, Al Jeel Al Jadeed’s lyrics embrace a universal dream that anyone who has experienced any kind of oppression, racism, insecurity and poverty can immediately relate to. When I heard the music for the first time, it instilled in me hope in a possible future where all of these things that keep us in chains no longer exist.

The song doesn’t only speak for Doc Jazz, it truly represents the dreams of many young people. It also embodies the spirit that I would love to touch in our new generation: The spirit of making change, to challenge all the obstacles we face, to unite and build a life where love, security and hope can overcome. These are the dreams that are the motivating power behind the use of my creative passions to fight injustice and that’s the same reason that made me enthusiastic about this song.”

Well-known PSCABI (Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel) activist Eman Sourani also took part in the filming. She commented on her motivation for participating with the following words: “Al Jeel Al Jadeed is a call for change, a unified voice and love for all humans, until always.”

Why Gaza?

Tariq Shadid, aka Doc Jazz: “When I originally wrote this song, the message I had in mind reached out to the whole Arab world, torn apart by sectarian strife, one of the greatest pains of our present day. However, when I actually recorded it, for some intangible reason my emotions of unity focused on Palestine, even though I still feel that the message is valid far beyond the borders of our homeland. When I invited the visitors of my website to get a pre-release hearing of the song, I was very curious to see how it would be received, because of its somewhat unconventional combination of Arabic lyrics with a contemporary funky beat.

Fortunately, response was highly positive, and from the reactions I received it became clear that the strongest enthusiasm for the song came from Palestine, most specifically Gaza. When I decided to launch the song with a music video, my thoughts immediately went to Shahd Abusalama. I hoped that she would embrace the project and make it her own. To my tremendous joy, she immediately agreed, and went about organizing it and making it happen. She is absolutely amazing, a precious treasure of the new Palestinian generation, the ideal person for the job.”

Shahd organized the film crew, and gathered a considerable number of youths together to participate in the filming sessions which were spread out over a number of different days, filming with different people in a variety of locations and backdrops in Gaza. She had a clear vision in her mind of the shots she wanted, and skillfully directed the filming crew (Yazan Abu Dawood and Omar Shala) and the participants in the video into the positions needed for those takes. Besides being motivated by the message of the song, the filming obviously also was a very enjoyable experience for her.

Some of the people involved in the music video

Some of the people involved in the music video

“My faith in Doc Jazz and the sincere motivations behind his creative work pushed me to cooperate with him to make the music video that I hope will help spread this song as widely as possible. To make this video happen, we needed to form a team. That was not difficult because I’m blessed to be surrounded by so many aspiring and talented youth in Gaza who are thinking on the same track as Doc Jazz and I. Amidst the stress I’ve had to deal with because of the continuing closure of the Rafah border and being trapped in Gaza, unable to leave to pursue my higher education in Turkey, the filming experience for the Al Jeel Al Jadeed music video was a source of relief, fun and entertainment. It was a really joyful experience to be part of a family team and not a work team. That sense of family could be felt most strongly when we all cooperated to paint graffiti of Al Jeel Al Jadeed on our wall.”

The New Generation

Another well-known student from Gaza, Walaa Al Ghussein, who earlier this year took part in a high-profile delegation of Palestinian students that visited Malaysia, also underlines the positive and joyful atmosphere on the film set. “Doc Jazz is awesome, and he sings very well. Ahh, the song is so good that it makes you dance. We really had so much fun doing this.” An opinion clearly shared by Omar Ghraieb, a widely known active blogger and freelance journalist, who wanted to participate in the filming but unfortunately was unable to make it to the set.

Walaa Al Ghussein on the set

Walaa Al Ghussein on the set

He sent the following comment when he first heard the song: “Intros get me, I am either turned on or off by them and your intro is amazing, then the whole song keeps getting better, contemporary yet it has this vintage rock-pop vibe! Let’s not even talk about the words! You express the thoughts, dreams, fears and all mixed feelings of the new generation! I knew it would be good but this exceeded my expectations even!”

Shahd Abusalama: “I’ve always been impressed with Doc Jazz’s creative work and dedication in support of our just Palestinian cause. We knew each other online while being involved together on electronic campaigns advocating for justice for our Palestinian hunger strikers. Working on the music video of Al Jeel Al Jadeed was a great opportunity to get to know this amazing person and artist more closely. I couldn’t be more impressed not only by his striking talent and commitment, but by his entire persona that is such a great model for so many young Palestinians within Palestine and throughout the Diaspora.”

Let Gaza breathe!

Words of praise that go far beyond doing justice to the efforts of the Musical Intifada, but that also express the tremendous proverbial Palestinian energy that went into the project. Shahd Abusalama, at the time of this publication still anxiously awaiting whether she will be able to cross the Rafah border, certainly deserves everyone’s support and prayers for making this happen. Hundreds of students like her are suffering from a similar predicament. We call upon all those who value equality, justice and human rights to raise their voices in opposition to the closure of Gaza, for the sake of the thousands who have even more pressing reasons to cross into Egypt as their only way out of this besieged Palestinian enclave, especially those whose health conditions require urgent medical treatment outside of Gaza’s artificial borders.

Keep an eye out for the release of this unique music video, which is expected to come out on Youtube in the coming weeks. In order to be among the first to hear the song and see the beautiful and wonderful youths of Gaza putting their hands together in its video clip as they call out to the world, be sure to follow the Musical Intifada on Twitter, subscribe to the channel on Youtube or to the Musical Intifada Newswire, or like the Doc Jazz page on Facebook. In short: get ready for the New Generation, Al Jeel Al Jadeed!

Here below, you can watch more photos that were taken after the last video shoot, showing some of the participants in the music video, the film crew, and the lovely grafitti that was painted on the wall for this occasion. Endless thanks to all the lovely people who participated in this project with their positive energy! Click on the photos to see an enlarged version.

Yazan Abu Dawood and Shahd Abusalama

Yazan Abu Dawood and Shahd Abusalama

Shahd AbusalamaShahd Abusalama

Shahd painting on the wall

Shahd painting on the wall

Focused on their work, the crew making grafitti

Focused on their work, the crew making grafitti

Group photo of the lovely crew on the set after filming

Group photo of the lovely crew on the set after filming

Team spirit!

Team spirit!




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Click to go to the report and link to full PDF for download

Click to go to the report and link to full PDF for download





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