The Palestinian youth folkloric group Shoruq, which means “sunrise in Arabic,” performed in Oakland last weekend, part of a 10-city tour of the United States.
Dancing to original music and a traditional Palestinian dance called dabke, along with a girls’ hip hop group, the young people, ages 13 to 16 old, performed Sunday afternoon in the Oakland Technical High School Auditorium, which was hosted by the Middle East Children’s Alliance.
The young people live in a refugee camp in Bethlehem called Dheisheh, which is under Israel occupation. About 13,000 refugees live crowded together in the camp in a space that is less than one square kilometer.
The Shoruq organization is led by Palestinian refugees to support their community, providing free legal aide and psychosocial support for refugee children.
“We use visual and performing arts to protect and develop our cultural heritage; and advocate for the Palestinian refugees who are deprived of their basic rights by the Israeli military occupation, poverty and severe overcrowding,” according to a press release.
The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) a Berkeley-based nonprofit that has been working for the rights of children in the Middle East for nearly 30 years. For more information, go to www.mecaforpeace.org