Cafe Palestine

Café Palestine Sixteen with Professor Nihaya Daoud from the Public Health Association in the Arab Society in Israel

“Health inequity and discrimination before and during Covid-19: the case of 48 Palestinians”

Nihaya Daoud is Professor of Public Health. She specialises in health policies, health inequalities and discrimination. She has researched minority and womens health and the effects of violence against women. She spoke about the impact of Covid 19 on deepening health inequalities and the specific effects on the Palestinian population in Israel in the context of prolonged institutional discrimination.

For papers by Prof. Nihaya Daoud, please see:

The Cafe started music from the Bethlehem branch of the Edward Said National Conservatory for Music. As always we are grateful for the assistance of PalMusic UK in arranging this event. The music featured three performances featuring a solo violin, a qunitet of qanun players, and a solo flautist

Café Palestine Fifteen with the Hands Up theatre company via zoom
young people from Palestine
making drama out of a crisis

The Hands up Project is a UK registered charity, providing English language development for young people in Palestine, through online storytelling, drama and intercultural link ups. The Hands Up project runs an annual remote theatre competition and thousands of young people in Palestine have submitted plays for this. The plays are also published in book format and available to buy here.

In Cafe Palestine we saw three live zoom performances:

‘I couldn’t say goodbye’, which is made by children in Gaza, tells the story of a bereaved mother saying her final words to her son. Created and performed by Iman Ridwan and Marwa Husam from Rimal Prep Girls school B, with support from their teacher Amal Mukhairez.

‘An exile inside the home country’ tells the story of the long term impact on the well being of a teenage boy whose father is imprisoned in an Israeli jail. Created and performed by Raw’aa Azem Abu Arra (15), Ola Muhammad Abu Arra(15), Sarah Amjad Abu Arra (13) from the Japanese Primary School for Girls, Tubas, Palestine with support from their teacher Shorouq Daraghmeh

‘Oh my home’ is made by children from Gaza and is the universal tragic story of being a refugee, told from the point of view of the sea. Created and performed by Nour Ziada 14, Haya Orouq 14, Rana Al-Basha 14, Farah Abu Obaid 12 and Doaa Abu Sharar 13 from Asmaa Prep School “B” UNRWA school for girls with support from their teacher Haneen Jadalla.

Nick Bilbrough from the Hands Up project introduced the plays and led an online discussion about the pieces and the work of the project after the performances.

The Cafe started music from the main branch of the Edward Said National Conservatory for Music in Ramallah. As always we are grateful for the assistance of PalMusic UK in arranging this event. The music featured three performances featuring:

  • Ramallah Violin Quintet with Mahmoud Karazon , Dana Sbaih, Layan Olayan, Celina Tannous, & Kareem Barakat playing Akher Ayyam Tango which is a traditional Fairouz piece. It is a mix between Akher Ayyam Sayfeh fairouz and a small tango of Mahmoud
  • Fares Nael Karam playing the qanoon. The piece is Escapes Eyes by Khalid Mohammad Ali.
  • Qussay AlQasem playing Prelude N3, Heitor Villa-Lobos for guitar

The full concert programme is available here: Online Concert 31_10_2020.


Café Palestine Fourteen with Dr Sami Owaida
speaking about the
Gaza Community Mental Health Programme

Dr Sami Owaida works in the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) as a child  and adolescent  psychiatrist. He is the director of the Gaza Community Centre.

Dr Owaida qualified in medicine in 1996 and joined the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) in 1997. In 2007, he took up a residency in Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital where he became a specialist child and adolescent psychiatrist in 2011. As well as being a specialist clinician, Dr Owaida is a university lecturer and clinical supervisor, and a Mental Health Consultant for the WHO.

The Cafe started with music from three students at the Edward Said National Conservatory for Music in Bethlehem.


Café Palestine Thirteen with Muna Khalidi from Lebanon

“Mental health in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon”


Muna Khalidi Ph.D. is the VP of the Board of Beit Atfal as-Somoud where she oversees the mental health program.  She discussed difficulties faced by Palestinians in Lebanese refugee camps and the impact on their mental health.

To visit the website of The National Institution of Social Care and Vocational training (NISCVT) known as Beit Atfal Assumoud (BAS), including an option to donate, click here

Experts from a video that Muna was involved in producing were played during the Cafe. A link to the full video “We cannot go ther now, my Dear” plus a second video are available here.

We cannot go there now, my Dear: on the Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria to Lebanon
Password: My dear_A/E
Stitching Palestine: Palestinian women on dispossession and identity
Password: StitchingPalestine2018

The Cafe started with music from two students at the Edward Said National Conservatory for Music in Gaza. Kareem played trumpet and Rima playing the ney, a flute-like instrument. Unfortunately, the sound quality of the link with Gaza was not good. Here is a link to a better recording of Kareem playing the same piece:


Café Palestine Twelve direct from Palestine Trauma Centre in Gaza

“Bleeding from all directions”

The café came direct from Palestine Trauma Centre in Gaza. The therapy team there produced some videos films and set the agenda for what they wanted to say. The presentation looked at the way therapeutic methods have constantly adapted to unstable conditions. Life is fragmented. Each part struggles with a different threat to survival. In the therapy and in our meeting the team hope to bring some cohterence and manageability to the struggle.

You can donate to the work of the Palestine Trauma Centre here

The cafe started with live music from Gaza featuring students from the National Conservatory for Music: Ezzedine Khalifeh playing oud and singing, and Dana Al-Jaraf who played Oblivion by Piazzolla on the cello.

Café Palestine Eleven from Amman with Jehan Bseiso

“Reimagining our Resilience: Observations through poetry and from the diaspora”

Jehan Bseiso is a poet, researcher and aid worker. She discussed the theme of  “Reimagining our Resilience: Observations through poetry and from the diaspora” which led to a rich interaction with the mental health practitioners and others present at the Cafe.

Jehan’s poetry has been published in several online platforms. Her co-authored book I Remember My Name is the Palestine Book Awards winner in the creative category (2016). She is the co-editor of Making Mirrors: Writing/Righting by and for Refugees (2019). Jehan has been working with Médecins sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders since 2008

Conversation with Jehan:

Discussion following Jehan’s presentation:

This is a link to the poems that Jehan read during the Cafe

Cafe Palestine started with music from Jerusalem with Loab Hammoud playing oud.


Café Palestine Ten from Nazareth with Dr Mustafa Qossoqsi, Nazareth Hospital

“Notes on an intimate disaster: Nakbah in the Clinic and Beyond”

In his presentation, Mustafa spoke about his understanding of the meaning of Nakbah and its profound impact on the political, social and psychological lives of Palestinians over the generations.He described the intimately connected ways in which the Nakbah enters into individual consciousness and relationships, some of the dilemmas this creates and he provided examples from his clinical practice.
The Chair’s introduction is poor quality in the zoom call. This is a summary of what she said:
“Welcome to Cafe Palestine Number Ten. Arriving at this milestone gives us pause to reflect on what a storehouse of rich, informative, enlightening and challenging presentations we have accumulated since Cafe Palestine first opened its doors in April. As well as providing a context in which Palestinian clinicians, researchers, social activists and academics can demonstrate their work, it is crucially a way for practitioners outside Palestine to inform ourselves and thus develop more confidence in our advocacy. The more informed we are, the more we can dig down into ( to borrow Mustafa’s phrase) the series of ongoing,’intimate disasters’ that are the consequence of settler colonial oppression. Thus the more bold and unafraid we can be in speaking out – in our professional organisations, in trade unions, in all the contexts in which we want to – and indeed are ethically bound to – express solidarity; not just through empathy but through action.”

An Arabic summary of the discussion is available here (a summary of the presentation will be added when it is available)

Mustafa read a poem “Modifying Some Settings of the Smart Phone’s Camera” in Arabic. The Arabic and English versions of this poem, please a second poem “The Drowned Report” are available here:

Modifying Some Settings on the Smart Phone Camera arabic

Modifying Some Settings on the Smart Phone Camera english

The Drowned Report arabic

The Drowned Report english

Cafe Palestine Ten started with music from the Edward Said National Conservatory for Music in Bethlehem organised in association with PalMusic UK


Cafe Palestine Nine from Arabeh in Galilee with Hussam Kana’na from the Palestinian Counseling Center

Hussam discussed his research on the psychological impact of the practice by Israeli authorities of delaying the return to their families of bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces.

Hussam read his paper and then there was a discussion. The paper is available:

English: Hussam Kanana English

Arabic: Hussam Kanana Arabic

Hussam replied in Arabic to questions in the discussion section. An informal, on-the-fly summary of what he said was provided during the Cafe and is available in the recording. A complete translation of Hussam’s replies was produced after the event with timestamps for each question. This includes more detail than the summary and is available here:

Translation of discussion: CP9 Discussion

Cafe Palestine Nine started with music from Gaza featuring Dr. Ismael Daoud, Teacher of Oud and professor in music theory, followed by Natalie Tarazi on piano and Juliana Redwan on violin.

The PalMusic UK Facebook page provides further information about the current threat facing cultural institutions in Jerusalem and the text of a statement from Suhail Khoury, General Director, National Conservatory of Music:

Cafe Palestine Eight from Ramallah with Dr Samah Jabr
“The individual and collective impact of incarceration and torture: the Palestinian experience”

An Arabic summary of Cafe Palestine 8 is available here

Cafe Palestine Eight started with music from Ramallah and Nablus performed by ESNCM students: Reem Malki (Mezzo-Soprano, Oud Student), and Maya Abu El-Arayess (Soprano- Piano Student), accompanied on the guitar by ESNCM Music teacher George Ghattas who has known Maya and Reem since their childhood and taught them singing classes.
George Ghattas plays the Buzuk and the Guitar. He teaches music since 1997 at numerous music schools and conservatories in Palestine. He formed and led several children’s choirs and he is specialised in teaching singing and music performance to children.

Introduction to the musicians followed by the songs

The final song is called “Oh, Lovers of the Land”.

The final song is called Oh, Lovers of The Land, Arise! The song was written (music and lyrics) by Ahmad Kaabour (1955-present), Lebanese singer, songwriter, composer and actor.
This song is dedicated to I’tiraf El-Rimawi, music director of Ramallah Conservatory. He is 44 years old, and is held in administrative detention since 23 September 2019. He is married and is a father of five young children. His youngest was five days old when he was detained. He suffered 57 days of harsh interrogation and torture. His trial was postponed more than ten times! He remains in administrative detention.

Oh, Lovers of the Land, Arise!
I hear your anguish
Calling from afar
And see it encompass
Thousands of

And your hands write on the walls of our city
Words adorning the walls of our city
So the songs embrace the winds
To say: you are awaiting
The morning light
Oh, lovers of the land, Arise!
Oh, lovers of the land, Arise!
Guard our songs
Construct our wishes

Your wounds flower
And fructify our bodies
And become
Songs sung at festivities
And your faces shine
Through the walls of our city
Lights that shatter
The ghosts from our city
So our songs embrace the winds
To say: you are awaiting
The morning light

Oh, lovers of the land, arise!
Oh, lovers of the land, arise!
Guard our songs
Construct our wishes.

Translation By Heba Zaphiriou-Zarifi

Cafe Palestine Seven from Nazareth with Nabila Espanioly
“Violence against Palestinian Women: an intersectional struggle”

Nabila Espanioly spoke about the multiple challenges facing Palestinian women, within a patriarchal society, under occupation, and with the additional pressures created by the pandemic.
Cafe Palestine Seven music

The Cafe opened with live music from from Gaza organised with PalMusic UK featuring a father and daughter duo, Mohammed and Reema Al-Habbash playing oud and qanun.

Here is the translation of the Fairuz song sung by Reema and a link to the original version:

My mother retired early to sleep.
My father locked the gate.
But I sneaked out of the window
And attended the singles’ party.
My window is still open and the curtain flutters,
My window is still open and the curtain flutters.
If my parents find out my absence
Oh my! W will happen to me?
What will happen to me, Oh my!
If my parents find out my absence?
Oh, tall rosebush, only worrying about yourself
Your thorns have caught my dress.
Now what shall I tell my mother?
What shall I tell my mother
Now that your thorns
Have caught my dress?
(Translation: Heba Zaphiriou-Zarifi)

Cafe Palestine Six from Hebron, Jerusalem and Bethlehem with Riad Arrar, Rand Shar and Raed Amira
“Social work in Palestine with a focus on responding to the Covid-19 emergency”

Raed Amira, Riad Arar and Rand Shaar,  spoke about social work in Palestine with a focus on responding to the Covid-19 emergency.

Raed Amira who is employed as a social worker by Community Center For Training And Development, and he is working with Palestinian refugees talked about social work with refugees during the pandemic.

Riad and Rand, both from Defence of the Child International (DCI), talked about how they have involved children in this response.

Riad Arar (Hebron) is Director of Protection & Social Mobilisation Programme at DCI in Hebron, and co-ordinator of the Palestine-UK Social Work Network in Palestine. With fellow leading members of the Palestinian Union of Social Workers and Psychologists (PUSWP), Issa Rabadi (Jerusalem) and Raed Amira (Bethlehem), Riad was instrumental in developing the Palestine-UK Social Work Network in Palestine.

Cafe Palestine started with music from Marc Kawwas, a young Palestinian Pianist. He has performed numerous recitals and concerts across Palestine and won many music competitions. He has also performed a recital in the United Kingdom. Marc dreams to become a great Palestinian Pianist, conductor and composer.

Here is a link to Mark’s biography: Marc Kawwas Biography

Marc’s performance was facilitated by PalMusic UK

The Edward Said National Conservatory of  Music is a special fund-raising appeal due to the Covid-19 crisis:

Cafe Palestine Five from Jerusalem with Rana Nashashibi
“The Palestine Global Mental Health Network”

The Cafe opened with music from Mahmoud Abuwarda’s. Here is Mamoud’s story:  “In 2010 I decided to start learning the guitar by chance. My first guitar was a child’s toy, and I was looking for a college or teacher to help me learn, but here in my city, Gaza, there is no music college and there are no guitar teachers. Because of that, I decided to start alone. At this time, I bought some online books and I began teaching myself. After one year I met my first teacher on skype and he was shocked when he heard me play, at how far I had advanced. He was teaching at ESNCM Jerusalem branch. After this the general manager, Suhail Khoury, decided to give me a scholarship to study at ESNCM. However, I could not go because there was no permit to leave Gaza for the West Bank, so we decided to start lessons online via skype. At this time they gave me the chance to work at ESNCM as a guitar teacher. I graduated from the institute after only 4 years (instead of 9) with an excellent grade. I had won many scholarships during my study at ESNCM.”


The music was following by a conversation with Rana Nashashibi. Rana’s talk starts at 14:10 in the video. She is probably best known overseas as the Director of the Palestine Counselling Centre. She is speaking to us as a founder member of the Palestine Global Mental Health Network. However, her role as clinician, writer, lecturer (at Birzeit University for over twenty years), as a leader in the women’s movement and as community activist, is too rich and varied to summarise here.
For further information:

Café Palestine 4 from West Bank with Yoa’d Ghanadry-Hakim
“Reflections on trauma, the usefulness of PTSD as a clinical concept, and the complexities of working with imported, Western, terminology in the Palestinian context”

The speaker at Cafe Palestine 4 was Yoa’d Ghanadry-Hakim, who shared her reflections on trauma, the usefulness of PTSD as a clinical concept, and the complexities of working with imported, Western, terminology in the Palestinian context. Yoa’d Ghanadry-Hakim, a clinical psychologist and certified supervisor, is the head therapist at the Palestine Counseling Centre in Beit Hanina and head of the Arab Union of Psychologists. She is also a psychosocial and human rights activist.

Due to a technical problem, we were not able to share the speaker’s Powerpoint presentation during the meeting. We are grateful that Yoa’d was able to proceed without this at short notice. The presentation that should have accompanied the meeting is here:

Cafe Palestine presentation

pcc onion logo

Logo of the Palestine Counseling Centre


Cafe Palestine 4 started with live music from Gaza

The music was performed by Seraj Alsersawi on Oud and Feras Alshrafi on Qanoun playing music of Marcel Khalife. Both musicians are associated with the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music and gratefully acknowledge the support of PalMusic UK


Café Palestine Three from West Bank with Weeam Hammoudeh
“Acute and Chronic Uncertainties in the Palestinian Context: Implications for Mental Health and Wellbeing”

Weeam Hammoudeh is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Community and Public Health, where she is also the coordinator for the mental health unit. She holds a PhD and MA in Sociology from Brown University, and an Masters in Public Health from Birzeit University. She has an academic interest in understanding how political and social transformations impact health, psychosocial wellbeing, and population processes, particularly in conflict areas; as well as how health systems and social institutions develop and shift in relation to political, economic, and structural factors.

The Mission of the Institute of Community and Public Health at Birzeit is as follows:

The Institute of Community and Public Health contributes to the protection and improvement of Palestinians’ health in Palestine and the diaspora through research, education, capacity strengthening and support for evidence-based policy formulation. Addressing the political, social, biological, and environmental determinants of health, the Institute ‘contributes to the development of effective strategies for health promotion, disease prevention and health services development based on community   participation, intersectoral collaboration, equity, and justice.

The Institute has built up a reputation for contextualizing its research into the determinants of public health, including the subjective and psychological aspects of health, countering the individualizing and de-historicizing nature of Western psychological and medical models. Access to papers produced by the Institute’s staff can be found here:

The recording starts after the 5th slide

Café Palestine Two from Gaza with Dr Yasser Abu Jamei
“Insight into life in Gaza under the combined pressures of the blockade, and the coronavirus pandemic”

This is the recording of the conversation with psychiatrist Dr Yasser Abu Jamei, Director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme. Yasser offering a mental health professional’s insight into life in Gaza under the combined pressures of the blockade, and the coronavirus pandemic.

If you can, please donate to the work of GCMHP. The pandemic is impacting on the resourcing of Palestinian NGOs.

Cafe Palestine One from Jerusalem with Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian
“Jerusalem under siege: surviving corona under Occupation”

We are pleased to share with you a recording of Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian at the debut opening of ‘Café Palestine’ – the virtual meeting place, where Palestinians and internationals from across Palestine and the rest of the world can come together. As Nadera says, ‘social distancing’ is the wrong term – the pandemic is imposing physical distancing, and it is our responsibility to ensure that this does not also involve social isolation. Listen to Nadera describing ‘how isolation became a new tool of dispossession’, here: