As a musician in his sixties, Khader Al-Bayed, has witnessed numerous stages of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands, but he’s also seen how music has been used as instrument of resistance.
“I discovered my musical talent when I was young,” he tells MEMO. “I struggled to find someone who could teach me and improve my talent in light of the marginalisation of interest in art in Gaza.”
Now, one of the rooms in his house has been transformed into a music room, filled with lutes, violins, flutes, drums and other instruments.
It hasn’t been easy being a musicial while living under occupation, he explains, as “part of the occupier’s policy is to eradict Palestinian art and culture.”
“We used to play at weddings and turn them into national festivals which attendees would use to raise their spirits and their steadfastness against the occupation.”
“In fact, in one case, one of the writers of revolutionary Palestinian songs was detained [by the occupation], so he would smuggle lyrics out to us from his cell and we’d make revolutionary songs out of them to raise people’s morale and increase their love of their nation,” Khader recalls.
He has since turned his music room into an education centre for the future generation of musicians in Gaza.