This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)
The Gaza Freestyle Festival (CSOA Lambretta) is proud to present the first festival in Milan featuring music, sports, theatre, culture and art for Gaza, that will take place on June 14th and 15th.
In cooperation with Assopace Palestina , Assopace Palestina Milano , Vento di Terra ONG ,Centro Italiano Di Scambio Culturale-VIK , Associazione Oltre il Mare and many others that are joining for this event.
Last January, we finished building the first skatepark in Gaza City, with 15 days of hard work; thanks to the solidarity of many people we have raised more than 100 skateboards and c.ca 800 euros through crowdfunding. With these funds we have widened what used to be a small freestyle area by adding a rudimentary ramp, where today thousands of youths meet to skate together. Gaza Parkour Friends فريق سكيت غزة / Gaza Skate , Gaza Freedom Skaters Gaza Parkour And Free Running Free Run Gaza & Parkour Gaza Parkour And Free Running
Moreover, with the money raised we organized a number of workshops with five associations and about 300 women, dedicated to affectivity and sexual education, cultural exchange and political debate. We looked for gloomy prison’s walls or bombed areas and painted them with animals, women with long air, fishermen from Gaza City that sail fearless of being killed by the Israeli navy within the harbour.
Everything was documented with videos and photos of the various projects; we also produced a musical video together with the students of Gaza’s music academy.
We came back to Italy with the idea of going back to Gaza as soon as possible, because, despite we have been working in the Strip for 5 years, our exchange project has just started.
We would like to begin the construction of a new park to broaden the skating culture, bringing other skates and stuff for the youths that in between Gaza and Rafah are training everyday reaching levels of excellence.
We would like to continue debating with the women over issues such as the female body under a political perspective and feminism and would like to keep on spreading beauty through graffiti, sided by the youth of the Strip.
A strip of land devoted by bombing and worn-out by the isolation that has been experiencing for years, the biggest open-air prison with a an enormous pollution rate, both for what concerns the land and the sea, where the risk of being killed by Israeli forces is extremely high. There is no way out from the Strip, as the border is patrolled by snipers that do not allow Gazawi people to even get close to the barrier; the sense of frustration and sadness is diffused. There is a lack of job opportunities, no working hospitals, schools shut down when Israel attacks, thus making it very hard to imagine a future.
In this situation we have asked ourselves how to intervene in order to bring hope and solidarity with these women and men that resist and keep on fighting no matter what. The answer is what we try to explain when we are invited to share our experience: but we know that our words are not enough.
Which better way of speaking loud than brining to Milan, the city where the project was born, what for years we have been doing in Gaza? We will talk about Palestine, by organizing a a two-days event of discussions, photo exhibitions, theatre shows, dinners and documentaries.
We will increase people’s awareness on what we mean by using freestyle as a tool for resistance by organizing a skate jam and people are warmly invited to donate a skate that we will bring with us into next trip to Gaza.
There will also be a moment to remember our friends that, as we do, tried to change this world full of oppressed. The festival is dedicated to Orso Tekoser, a comrade that lost his life in the fight against IS in Rojava, to Hafiz, who lost his life that he devoted to Palestine, and to Vittorio Arrigone, who inspired our first trip. In this respect, we would like to thank the VIK centre that has been working with us since 2014. Moreover, the the festival will also be dedicated to Silvia Romano, who was kidnapped in Keny in November and forgotten my Italian media and authority, wishing that she will be freed soon.
To do all these, we need your help! Until June 15th, the crowdfunding will be open to whoever would like to help us with a donation to support the next trip to Gaza that will take place next winter. You can get in touch if you are interested in joining our meetings, for any question, or if you prefer making a donation in kind (skateboards, rollerblades, notebooks, markers and paint)
See you on June 14th, don’t miss out.
Freestyle is freedom.