Friday, May 17, 2013

Nakba Day commemoration

Today I went to a Nakba Day event at the Arabic Cultural Center. There was music, poetry, discussion, snacks....

It was nice to hear Arabic again. I was happy to understand a lot of it.

I heard a lot of personal testimonies. One person's family was from Jeruasalem (Sheikh Jerrah) and his family lived next to abusive settlers and his father had to leave Palestine and re-apply for a visa every three months for the last five years. Such is the life of a Palestinian in Jerusalem. What's more, the family found out their descendents were Jewish, and had converted to Islam around 1200. What an oversight...this family embodies Judaism more than the scores of fanatical settlers who show up on Shabbat to harass the non-Jewish residents into leaving. What a shit-show.

One song was called Al Rozana. Several people in the room were singing along, which was really heart-warming, especially hearing the low murmuring male voices. They were supporting the female singer, she was the center of attention.

After the event I went to get coffee with some of my new friends, and we wondered what the song meant. I found this description on-line at

The song "Al Rozana (ع الروزانا)" is a folk song native to the region of the Levant or بلاد الشام, ie Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. The story behind it is that at the height of the intense wheat famine that the region experienced at the beginning of the 20th century, and Italian ship called "The Rosanna" was said to have been sent carrying food to the starving population of the Levant. Everybody was waiting in anticipation for the ship's arrival, but when it finally landed as the story goes in the song, it was carrying nothing but apples and grapes, on of the foods that the region was actually overflowing with at that time. The people cursed the ship for this reason.

Here are the lyrics.

Oh the Rosanna, the Rosanna, everything good is inside her
What has the Rosanna done?
God punish her!
Oh the Rosanna the Rosanna, all happiness is inside her
What has the Rosanna done?
God punish her

Hey you who are going to Aleppo, my love went with you
Hey you who are carrying grapes and on top of that apples
Everyone is with their beloved and my beloved has gone
Oh lord, may the breeze bring my lover back to me

عالروزانا عالروزانا كل الحلى فيها
شو عملت الروزانا ألله يجازيها
عالروزانا عالروزانا كل الهنا فيها
شو عملت الروزانا الله يجازيها
يا رايحين ل حلب حبي معاكم راح
يا محملين العنب فوق العنب تفاح
كل من حبيبه معه وأنا حبيبي راح
يا ربي نسمة هوى ترد الولف ليا