Last night this woman changed the way I see art.
Rafeef Ziadah is "an Arab woman of color" who's poetry puts Keats to shame. Yesterday at rehearsal the cast began bantering back and forth about different political issues, mainly about political videos. Basically we're all incredibly opinionated about the way Canada is run and all happen to regularly research global happenings, so when I-man brought out her lap top and offered to show us a short video she thought was interesting, nothing was out of the ordinary. However, when we had finished watching Rafeef Ziadah pour out her heart and brandish her anger like an Arabian curved sword, it was possible to hear a pin drop in the rehearsal space.
It's nearly impossible to fully understand the conflict between Israel and Palestine, but listening to her for a moment sure makes you want to protest. Poetry is an emotionally charged medium to get a message across without wasting a single word, making it an incredibly effective way to get a message across. Rafeef is a Palestinian Refugee who harnesses her anger through poetry, an admirable feat considering English is not her first language. As she admits herself during a performance in Toronto, "When we Palestinians get really tired we pronounce our "P"s like our "B"s, and we become Balestinians". Her accent does not hinder the power of her words though, as she also speaks in Arabic on Hadeel, her debut poetry album.
Refeef's passion was what really hit me. As we sat in silence awestruck by this stranger on the computer screen, all I could think of was "that's what art is suppose to do, that's why we have art".
This angry poet's performances can be found on YouTube, but I highly encourage you to by her album.
In the words of Refeef, "We Teach Life, Sir" through art.