On Thursday evening commuters at Wembley Central station were greeted with some lively songs in support of justice for Palestine. Raised Voices choir couldn’t have chosen a better day to gather at the station entrance to highlight the Palestinian cause. For simultaneously, out there in the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinians themselves were raising three days of rage and rampage in response to Donald Trump’s controversial announcement that he would move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.
Raised Voices LINK choir had obtained permission under Transport for London’s charities scheme to sing in this busy station for their pre-Christmas busking event to raise funds for the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians LINK. MAP is an energetic organization founded more than thirty years ago, with offices in Ramallah, Gaza and Lebanon as well as Islington, north London. It reaches out to the most vulnerable Palestinian communities with the aim of achieving the highest attainable standard of healthcare in those hostile circumstances. ‘Health and dignity for Palestinians’ is their motto.
Maternal and child health is a strong focus for MAP, including advice, support and training for neo-natal doctors and nurses, and treatment for malnourished youngsters. In the West Bank, MAP run a mobile clinic serving 31 Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley with primary health care, including ante- and post-natal services. In East Jerusalem the charity is supporting psychosocial activities for children mentally damaged by the tensions of that contested city.
To the Gaza Strip MAP send teams of orthopaedic and plastic surgeons to operate on individuals with the most serious and complex injuries, deliver essential equipment and train specialist Palestinian surgeons who are prevented from obtaining advanced training overseas. MAP procured and delivered a stunning half a million pounds-worth of surgical equipment for limb reconstruction surgery after Israel’s attacks on Gaza in 2014.
For their part, Raised Voices singers are a member of a lively UK-wide movement of ‘campaigning choirs’, that come together annually in a ‘street choirs festival’. They meet every Thursday evening at the Doreen Bazell Community Centre in Chenies Street, St.Pancras, to develop and practise an impressive repertoire of songs that range across a number of urgent themes including opposition to militarism, war and the arms trade; welcome to refugees; and responsibility for the environment.
Raised Voices are actively seeking new members, so if your New Year’s Resolution this time around is ‘getting active for change’ and if you love to sing but draw the line at Christmas carols, here’s your chance: roll up at the Doreen Bazell Centre at 7.30 one Thursday evening and give it a try.
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