‘Gaza:’ An uplifting study of a land in turmoil

The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Tuesday. (Image Supplied)
Updated 31 January 2019

‘Gaza:’ An uplifting study of a land in turmoil

CHENNAI: There can be few things more heartrending than the plight of people living without jobs, clean drinking water, and crammed into a narrow stretch of land blockaded on all sides.
But this is the reality of Gaza, where 2 million Palestinians live as virtual prisoners. Once described by former British Prime Minister David Cameron as an “open-air prison,” Gaza is hemmed in by Egypt, Israel and the Mediterranean Sea. The borders are nearly always closed.

It is this tiny strip of land – 25 miles long and 7 miles wide – which is the subject of the documentary “Gaza,” directed by Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in the US on Tuesday.
What is remarkably elevating about Gaza is the resilience of the people who live there. The documentary contrasts their daily sufferings with the simple joys of their lives. Despite grinding poverty, some push themselves to play sport, dance and sing, and celebrate weddings and other ceremonies with seemingly not a care in the world.
The music is occasionally punctuated by the wails of mothers who have lost their children to Israeli shelling, which is answered by angry crowds of stone-throwing Palestinians. 
This film is an enriching portrait of a territory facing perpetual conflict. There have been three wars there. Israel moved out of Gaza in 2005, destroying its settlements and imposing a debilitating blockade in the process. The militant Islamic group Hamas came to power in 2006.
There is a telling scene of 19-year-old Kamal standing by the sea and longing for the freedom to travel. With the unemployment rate at 50 percent and electricity available for only four hours a day, the UN predicts the Gaza Strip will no longer be fit for habitation by 2020. 
Yet life there goes on: We see a teacher, barber and student going about their affairs, and a man enjoying a coffee by the beach and exchanging pleasantries with passersby.
Despite all the gloom and sorrow, the humanity, color and joy of this documentary still manages to leave the viewer feeling uplifted.

Lil Wayne, Tyga to hit the stage at Diriyah Season concert

US rap star Lil Wayne will take to the stage at the Diriyah Circuit. (AFP)
Updated 20 November 2019

Lil Wayne, Tyga to hit the stage at Diriyah Season concert

  • Lil Wayne has sold more than 120 million records worldwide
  • He will hit the stage along with fellow rapper Tyga and record producer Future

DUBAI: On Nov. 30, US rap star Lil Wayne will take to the stage at the Diriyah Circuit, along with fellow rapper Tyga and record producer Future.

Lil Wayne has sold more than 120 million records worldwide, including more than 15 million albums and 37 million digital tracks in the US, and he will bring some of that flavor to Saudi Arabia, where he is sure to perform tracks from his mixtapes and albums.

Meanwhile, Tyga will entertain the crowd with his hits “About You” and “Taste,” before Future takes to the stage with his mega-hits “Jumpman” and “Low Life.”

The Diriyah Music Festival is a series of concerts running alongside the sporting events of the Diriyah Season.

News that Imagine Dragons will kick off the festival by performing after day one of the Diriyah E-Prix on Nov. 22 was welcomed by music fans in Saudi Arabia. They will be supported by DJ Alan Walker and British dance band Clean Bandit.

On Nov. 23, Latin American music giant Maluma and regional sensation, Lebanese Canadian R&B/pop singer Massari, will follow day two of the Formula E racing.

Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal Al-Saud, Chairman of the General Sports Authority, said: “The Diriyah Music Festival is a key part of bringing people together for Diriyah Season and it promises to be the biggest celebration of music in the Kingdom’s history.”

The Diriyah Season is a month-long celebration of sport, kicking off with Formula E, followed by the world heavyweight title clash between world champion Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua in the “Clash On The Dunes”, The Diriyah Tennis Cup and the elite Diriyah Equestrian Festival.

As well as the Diriyah Music Festival, the season features cultural festivities, food and retail experiences, and the stunning ‘Diriyah Oasis’, a giant entertainment and art hub with fun for all the family.