World Music Central: Under the banner “We Refuse to be Enemies,” several hundred Jews, Arabs, and
community members gathered on a rainy, snowy evening in December to eat, talk,
sing, and dance together. Sponsored by the Eugene Middle East Peace Group, the
event featured several speakers representing the Jewish and Muslim faiths. The
evening fell mid-way between Channukah and Eid el-Fitr, the Jewish and Muslim
holy days, respectively (Eid el-Fitr is the last night of Ramadan).
Music was provided by the Eugene Peace Choir and by
Americanistan, a band which plays
music inspired by cultures of the Middle East. MCs Jonathan Seidel and Maha
Hamide worked with the band to create two new peace songs in three
languages–English, Hebrew, and Arabic–which were sung by the entire gathering.
Israeli dances and Arabic debke (folk dance) to the music of Americanistan
completed the evening’s entertainment.