Belfast (SaebPress) —The Palestinian Lajee Center Dubka Troupe’s tour arrived in the north of  Ireland on Friday 28th  June 13, from their center in Aida Refugee Camp, their performance captured their audience  attention in Derry City, Ballycastel , in the The Giant’s Causeway  center,  Ballintoy where an Irish dance group joined forces with Lajee Center Dubka Troupe.

 On The next day they preformed in West Belfast’s Gort Na Mona Gac club. The tour included traditional dubka dance, stories, and photo exhibitions all created by the youth of Aida Refugee Camp. ‘The performance was scintillating to say the least’, as one of the Palestine activists puts it to SaebPress.

The Aida Refugee Camp’s Lajee Center.

Aida Refugee Camp was established in 1950 to accommodate Palestinian refugees from the War of 1948. The camp was designed to be a temporary residence for the refugees, many of whom still had their keys to their houses in their original villages. However, over 60 years later, Aida Camp still exists in the same physical space it inhabited in 1950, although its population has expanded. Over 4,700 people live in Aida Refugee Camp. The buildings are tall which create narrow alleyways that children play in. The one green space that used to provide therapy for the residents is an olive grove that runs alongside the camp. Yet in 2004 the ‘Israeli’ occupation  Military built the separation wall pressing up against the camp, separating the refugees from their green space.

 Lajee Dubka's Troupe
Lajee Dubka’s Troupe

The wall and the cramped streets are not the only challenges the camp faces. Israeli military raids are frequent. Night or day the military may enter the camp. Tear gas, rubber coated steel bullets, live ammunition, and sound bombs accompany them, creating fear and uncertainty for many of the children that live in Aida. No child or youth has been immune to these raids and many have witnessed their brothers or fathers being dragged off in the middle of the night.

Dubka Troupe & Ballintoy's Irish dance Group.
Dubka Troupe & Ballintoy’s Irish dance Group.

It is in this context that the Lajee Center Dubka Troupe dances not only provide stress release but also hope for the residents of the camp. The  Dubka Troupe dance has also become a method to tell the story of the Palestinian and their love of life and resistance  to the world, as awareness-raising gateway, their dance  show us how they work, struggle, and work toward a hopeful future of freedom.

 

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