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LONDON CREATIVES IN SUPPORT OF PALESTINE

London creatives in support of Palestine
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LONDON CREATIVES IN SUPPORT OF PALESTINE



Written by Don't Panic
Photos and illustrations by HYPEPEACE, Nana Nishitani, Adnan Yagoubi, What The Fattoush
10 Tuesday 10th April 2018

 

2017 saw the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, in which the British government announced their support for the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine. When Balfour conveyed this promise, he in effect sealed the fate of Palestine to live in perpetual war and turmoil. In his essay in the Al-Ahram Weekly, entitled "Truth and Reconciliation", the late Professor Edward Said wrote: "Neither the Balfour Declaration nor the Mandate ever specifically concede that Palestinians had political, as opposed to civil and religious, rights in Palestine. The idea of inequality between Jews and Arabs was, therefore, built into British - and, subsequently, Israeli and US - policy from the start’ .

 

The British government is yet to take any measure of moral responsibility, however symbolic, for what it has done to the Palestinians. This year has seen further atrocities during this never-ending conflict, including the unlawful murder of Yasser Murtaja. In what is now becoming a war on truth as well as indigenous peoples, awareness is more important than ever.

 

Luckily an undercurrent of creative activism is kicking off on the streets of London working to get Palestine on your plate, in your wardrobe, under your feet and ultimately at the forefront of your conscience. We catch up with What the Fattoush? (a Palestinian street food pop-up), HYPEPEACE (a bootleg fashion brand making street wear political) and SkatePal, (an NGO supporting young people in Palestine through skateboarding) and ask the question, why Palestine?

 

 

What the Fattoush?

A street food pop-up run by friends Jess and Meg, bringing Londoners vegan Palestinian kibbeh every Saturday at Deptford Bites. 10% profits go to charities supporting Palestinian human rights.

 

 

Why is Palestine your cause of choice?

 

Jess: “That's an easy one. Attacks against Palestinians in occupied territories are up 50% in 2018, teenage Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi has just been sentenced to eight months behind bars in what is being described as a forced plea bargain and Trump continues to swing his proverbial dick around the Middle East slashing any hopes of a peace treaty. I mean it’s not exactly inspiring. We started What the Fattoush? hoping to give access into under reported Palestinian culture, to celebrate it’s people and it’s amazing cuisine, get people talking about Palestinian struggles and keep the conversation going.  

 

Meg: “We were taught to cook Middle Eastern food by camp residents when volunteering at refugee camps across Europe and Palestine. What the Fattoush? started out as a supper club fund raiser and got a pretty overwhelming response so it kind of grew from there. It's a way for us to do what we love doing and support the causes we believe in.

 

 

Why did you go from supper clubs to street food?

 

Meg: Supper clubs are fun but nothing compares to the buzz of trading at street food markets. We’ve got a sick crew we drag about to help us and when the sun’s shining, tunes are blaring, there’s nothing better. Markets are so interactive, we love chatting to customers about the food, Palestine, the charities we support and hearing about what people are up to too!

 

Jess: “Having a pop-up in a street food market gives us the opportunity to get in front of people that don’t necessarily know about Middle Eastern food, veganism, Palestine etc. There’s a lot less commitment involved when buying a tray of kibbeh from the pop-up than buying a ticket to a supper club. We want to reach as many people as possible spreading kibbeh induced joy!”

 

Meg: “Palestinian food is all about markets too. The best food we've eaten in Palestine is from street food traders.”

 

 

What’s your signature dish?

 

Jess: “Kibbeh for sure! It’s popular all over the Arab world and has lots of variations. They’re basically little potato pockets filled with pine nuts, parsley, sultanas and spices. They come served with herby tabbouleh, Middle Eastern pink pickled turnips, mint cashew cream, black sesame seeds and chilli…we’re proper chilli pushers.”

 

Meg: “Everything is made by our sweet hands, we use Palestinian products wherever possible, oh and it’s 100% vegan.”

 

You don't come across Palestinian food too often let alone vegan Palestinian

 

Jess: Middle Eastern food seems to be having a bit of a revival at the moment so we're making sure vegans get a look in too.

 

Meg: “It’s massively important to us to represent Palestinian food in London. It sounds cliché but food is an amazing way to access a culture. Palestinian food has its own unique identity and we’re stoked to be able to share our take on it.”

 

Where do you like eating out?

 

Jess: “Any of the Middle Eastern restaurants on Green Lanes, Harringay.”

Meg: “Yep, we find ourselves in Mildred’s a lot too don’t we.

Jess: “Yeah, Temple of Seitan is always a winner”

Meg: “Cook Daily”

Jess: “The sofa with a f**k off massive packet of crisps and dips!”

 

 

Get down to Deptford Bites to sample the goods. Later this year Jess and Meg are embarking on a region-by-region food journey across Palestine, taking traditional dishes and recreating them vegan-style!

 

 

SkatePal

SkatePal is a charity made up of skaters and documentary film makers responsible for bringing skateboarding to Palestine, building skateparks and teaching young people to skate. We speak with founder and executive director Charlie Davies to get the low down.

 

How did SkatePal begin?

I first went out to Palestine to volunteer as an English teacher at a youth centre in Jenin. I took my board out with me and used to skate around the town after I had finished classes. I was amazed to see how many kids gathered around to watch and have a go! It was the first time any of them had seen a skateboard and were amazed to see me do an ollie. From that initial trip I knew that skateboarding would be very popular in Palestine if the kids had access to boards so I began planning SkatePal.

 

Why Palestine?

When I saw the lack of sporting opportunities available for young people I knew it would be great to get some kids into skating, mainly to give them something fun to do. Palestine has a very young population and the ongoing political situation and the occupation has become part of their daily lives.

 

What barriers do you face in terms of the continuation/development of SkatePal?

The aim of SkatePal in Palestine is to not exist as a foreign entity. As a charity, we want to develop to the point where the skate scene in Palestine continues to flourish and enhance the lives of young people there without being reliant on help from outside. The more kids who get into skating, and the more they have access to facilities and equipment, the better and sooner we’ll able to achieve this goal.

We want to create a sustainable way to get boards, tools and accessories into Palestine, which is the main barrier we face. Deliveries have to pass through both Israeli and Palestinian customs and there is a lot of red tape. It is not always 100% guaranteed that it will ever arrive.


Why is it important for young Palestinians to have a place to skate/hangout?

It is important for many of the same reasons as anywhere else in the world. Young people need a safe place to have fun and play, something which is often overlooked when there are other major problems facing them. Children grow up all to quickly when living in a volatile situation and under military occupation, and we want to offer a way for them to express themselves creatively and positively through something which helps relieve stress and strengthen self esteem.

 

Do you have many girls wanting to give skating a go?

We do have a lot of girls skating at the parks! Because skateboarding didn’t arrive with any cultural baggage most people placed it between a hobby and a sport which was great as it meant that it has become one of the only activities which girls and boys do together.

 

How can Don’t Panic readers help/get involved?

SkatePal can only do what it does because we have an amazing support network of skaters who volunteer with us or fundraise for us. But there’s also a lot more people now who don’t skate, but who understand the positive impact it can have in places like Palestine. It doesn’t matter what your background or skill-set is, you can still get involved. What The Fattoush? is a brilliant example of that - two people who figured out a way to combine their love of middle eastern food, with supporting what we do.  So if you’re reading this and want to get involved just give us a shout at info@skatepal.co.uk!

 

Director of SkatePal Theo Krish produced  Epicly Palestine'd – a deeply moving film documenting the emerging Palestinian skate scene and how this exists within the daily conflict. The first official SkatePal magazine is out now. Buy your copy here and help support SkatePal!

 

 

 

 

HYPEPEACE

Hype Peace is the bootleg brand making street wear political, created by designers known as J&M. Street wear fashion’s elite lost their shit when the original tri-ferg design dropped – worn by the likes of Novelist – and the brand has since surfaced in pop-ups in London, Paris and Dubai. 60% profit from the Palestine tee goes to Sharek Youth Forum.

 

 

How/why did HYPEPEACE come about?

It evolved in it's own right, quite unexpectedly. We hadn't planned on starting a brand but when the Palestine collection was released everyone was asking who was the brand, what the movement or message is etc and so we had to create one. At the time these were questions we were also asking ourselves and still are evolving. It's really only now we are putting some kind of plan and direction towards HYPEPEACE and only recently that it's become our full-time project. But for sure HYPEPEACE has evolved in a way that merges our personal and professional interests and beliefs into one. Using a well know cult brand logo and attaching a well-known / controversial political issue brings a whole different meaning and approach to discussing both subjects.

 

Streetwear brands have an almost cult-like following. Why do you think this is?

That's fairly difficult to answer without looking at it in a psychological way. As a society we like to belong to tribes, and streetwear has become similar to sports or religion, you feel closer to a particular kind rather than the other, and obviously you become more loyal towards your tribe because it speaks your beliefs or style. It's the sense of belonging we all like to attain. But in todays streetwear culture it has grown quite narcissistic, where the ultimate aim is to be associated with certain brands to get a sense of higher social status. But most worryingly is some go above and beyond their capabilities to gain that status. Let's not forget that streetwear is from the streets!!  

 

 

Tell us abut your latest design?

The IMMIGRANT collection is a homage to immigration and the current debates we're faced with on this topic. We're proud immigrants ourselves and we'd like to support the fact that immigration brings so many advantages in our society but in light of recent political agendas, immigration has become a negative topic. Our release is just to counteract that negativity, we should talk more about the positives. We'll soon be putting out the I'Mmigrant campaign to highlight the important roles people of immigrant background play.

 

Why is it important you stay anonymous?

We're scared of death threats! Hahaa not really, we still received some even though we're anonymous. We're trying out the idea of building the brand collectively. And anyway there's too much focus on individuals these days so no need to be another one. If people wants to know us its quite easy to find out, we just choose not to be in your face.

 

 

Do you have any pop-ups events coming up?

Nothing planned, we've just done Dubai as we were invited by the amazing folks from Groove on the Grass to set up at their festival. We met some amazing people there! 

We're now thinking more on stocking our pieces in stores but we love doing pop-ups more because we can curate our own space, be able to put together other projects and collaborate with others. We also get to meet interesting, talented and beautiful individuals.

 

What does HYPEPEACE mean to you?

Mainly we hope to raise questions about our society, our roles, question the efforts we put in, and for us we choose to do it through the consumeristic world of fashion. We're not quite there yet, we have many flaws and we're learning a lot as we progress but if we can do our part alongside others; to contribute more positively, to act and think differently, then if this does create some changes we can say our efforts have been worth while.

 

You can get your hands on the Palestine tee and IMMIGRANT tee here. Keep your eyes peeled for HYPEPEACE collaboration coming soon.

Don't Panic attempt to credit photographers and content owners wherever possible, however due to the sheer size and nature of the internet this is sometimes impractical or impossible. If you see any images on our site which you believe belong to yourself or another and we have incorrectly used it please let us know at panic@dontpaniconline.com and we will respond asap.



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