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  • Chicago | Phnom Penh | Osaka

Hadeel (2012)

2012 / HD Video / 3 min 08 sec / Spoken Word

“The state of Palestine is the worst public relations disaster I’ve ever seen. They are the only people I know whose innocent ones get killed regularly by a military might and we seem strongly discouraged from feeling any sympathy for them. Palestinian kids are the original “collateral damages”. Hadeel is a poem that reminds us of who they are.” — Masahiro Sugano, Filmmaker / Studio Revolt

Hadeel is named for a young girl whose family died in an Israeli air strike in Gaza. This spoken word video features the powerful storytelling skills of poet Rafeef Ziadah, a third-generation Palestinian refugee, artist, and activist. Her poetry exposes the world’s normalization of Palestinian suffering by telling ordinary stories of resistance and a refusal by people who will not accept anything less than justice, freedom, and equality. Filmed as a live performance in London, filmmaker Masahiro Sugano masterfully plays with minimalist imagery, adding another layer of beauty and cinematic magic to the art of spoken word poetry.

Written and Performed by Rafeef Ziadah
Filmed, Edited and Animated by Masahiro Sugano

Performance from Poetry Parnassus 2012, Southbank Centre, London

This is the prologue for this performance:


About Rafeef Ziadah

“We are encouraged to think that poetry shouldn’t make sense and shouldn’t move people to action, it’s simply self-expression for the sake of art itself. Not to say that artists shouldn’t be true to themselves, but when I’m on stage I am not providing a product for consumption, rather a story and a way to connect that story to the audience. It’s finding that balance between what’s inside you and what message you want to put out and putting it in a way people can relate to and understand.” — Rafeef Ziadah (Women’s Views on News interview May 14, 2012)

Rafeef Ziadah is a Palestinian spoken-word artist and activist. She received an Ontario Arts Council Grant from the ‘Word of Mouth’ program to create her debut album Hadeel. Rafeef started performing poetry in Toronto in 2004 with the spoken word collective Pueblo Unido and is the winner of the 2007 Mayworks Festival Poetry Face-Off. Rafeef’s poetry speaks to the struggle of immigrants to “make it to/in Canada” and the politics of exile. Being Palestinian she reflects on the realities of her homeland today, to which is not allowed to return.

Rafeef’s debut album Hadeel is dedicated to Palestinian youth, who still fly kites in the face of F16 bombers, who still remember the names of their villages in Palestine and still hear the sound of Hadeel over Gaza. For more information, visit: www.rafeefziadah.ca