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#LIFEFORGAZA: In Naples Arts Take A Stand For Palestine

Naples, 25 February: The southern Italian city hosted the first concert in support of Palestine, demanding not only a ceasefire but the end of the genocide. It’s the first cultural event in Italy dedicated to Palestinians, whose proceeds will be donated to MSF and Palestinian Medical Relief Society. The concert was held at the Palapartenope Theatre and was sold out in a couple of days, with more than 6000 people in attendance. The event was organised in collaboration with the Palestinian community in Naples, which has been active in the southern region of Campania for several years.

National and internationally recognised singers like Fiorella Mannoia and Eugenio Bennato were among the guests of the evening, as well as historical figures from the Neapolitan cultural scene, like the group 99Posse, which has been politically engaged for over 30 years. Lots of performances with hundreds of artists including musicians, bands, singers, graphic and comic artists, theatre actors like Laura Morante, who recited poetry by the Palestinian author Mahmood Darwish, and local political actors such as the ex-mayor of Naples Luigi de Magistris were performed. De Magistris, who received Palestinian honorary citizenship ten years ago, used the stage of the Palapartenope to appeal to the Italian government to stop supporting Israel, recalling that Italy is the third-largest exporter of weapons.

With a huge variety of stakeholders, it was the first all-encompassing cultural response against the genocide on the national level.

Among the guests there was Omar Suleiman, representative of the Palestinian community and ex representative of PLO, who called for support for the Palestinian issue and for peace against all forms of violence and hate. He said that "while Jews are our brothers, we oppose and fight Zionism" and he also made a direct appeal to Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, stating “You are not a representative of us”. In January 2024, Suleiman led another protest in which he chained himself in front of the Municipality of Naples.

The stage of the Palapartenope hosted a demonstration of dissent that is not limited to the expression of support for the Palestinian cause but speaks directly to the Italian government and the police. All the artists on stage drew attention to the violent police repression of demonstrations in support of Palestine.

The latest episode of violence occurred in Pisa, where students were blocked in a street by riot police who beat them violently with truncheons, injuring some underage students. The issue provoked a letter of response from the professors of the Russoli Art High School, where the violence took place, who reported having witnessed the intolerable violence against their defenceless students. President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella spoke out against police violence after the event of Pisa: 'The authority of the forces of order is not measured with truncheons'.

There is still no response from the majority parties and Prime Minister Meloni, except for a rhetoric that humiliates the protesters, labelling them violent and dangerous: a rhetoric that is very difficult to match with the group of high school students who were demonstrating peacefully and unarmed. The case of Pisa joins those of other Italian cities such as Bologna, Turin and Naples itself, where tensions arose between police and demonstrators during protests on 13 February.

At a cost of 10 euros for around 6000 people attending the concert, an estimated 60,000 euros will be donated to MSF and the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, in the hope of making a contribution to the improvement of health and urgent medical care supply in a catastrophic situation where hospitals are collapsing and being destroyed.

Photo Source: Facebook

Edited by: Jaya Jha

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