12 Aug, BYRON BAY: BDS Conference 2012 – ‘Why Palestine Matters’ June 28, 2012

Byron Bay BDS Conference 2012 – ‘Why Palestine Matters’

WHEN:   Sunday 12 August 2012, 7pm

WHERE:   Ewingsdale Hall

Presented by Byron Friends of Palestine

The inaugural Byron Bay BDS Conference is timed to coincide with the anniversary of the formal adoption of the Geneva conventions on Sunday 12th August 2012.
This conference is a not for profit event aimed at promoting awareness of the moral justification for Palestinian civil society’s call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel due to her government’s continued breach of international law, covenants and UN resolutions. The BDS movement is gaining momentum worldwide with ongoing support from significant public figures such as archbishop Desmond Tutu and prominent artists such as Roger Waters of Pink Floyd

All profits from the event will be donated to Olive Kids, an Australian not for profit organisation that provides relief to Palestinian orphans, and all participants are unpaid volunteers. A donation of $10 is requested of attendees who are encouraged to register for this event and submit a question for the Q&A panel. Registration for conference attendees is very straightforward: Please use the Contact page to send us your name and question for the panel. Submitted questions will be given priority.

Byron Friends of Palestine has been established with a view to informing intelligent, peaceful but progressive discussion and determined action on the issue of Palestinian human, civil, sovereign and political rights. We are pleased to welcome Samah Sabawi as our guest speaker for this event. This conference is a rare opportunity to hear an authoritative Palestinian voice speaking on the issue of international law and the quest for equality and justice in Palestine. Byron Friends of Palestine can be accessed via Facebook: Byron Friends of Palestine
Keynote Address by Samah Sabawi.

Samah Sabawi is a Palestinian writer, political analyst, commentator, author and playwright.. She is a policy advisor to the Palestinian policy network AlShabaka and former public advocate for Australians for Palestine. Her past work experience include holding the position of Executive Director and Media Spokesperson for the National Council on Canada Arab Relations (NCCAR) and working as Subject Matter Expert (SME) on various countries in the Middle East’s cultural and political landscape.for the Canadian Foreign Service Institute’s Center for Intercultural Learning.  She is co-author of the book Journey to Peace in Palestine and writer and producer of the plays Cries from the Land and Three Wishes. Sabawi is currently in the process of producing her third play Tales of a city by the sea – a love story set against the backdrop of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in 2008-2009.





In addition to Samah Sabawi’s presentation the audience will have the opportunity to listen to a video presentation by one of the founders of the BDS movement, Omar Barghouti. Barghouti makes a convincing case for the moral and legal justification for the boycott of Israel.



This conference is intended also to provide a platform for members of our local community to engage in a question and answer session which will include Tom Tabart as a representative of the Greens. The Australian political climate, its relationship to Palestinian aspirations and Australian government policy regarding Palestinian sovereignty are all subjects that can be explored and discussed. It is hoped that much of the truth about this conflict and the potential of the non-violent methods chosen to end it will become more apparent by the end of this session.
Despite a carefully contrived atmosphere of Islamophobia in the mainstream media we must pause to consider the cultural and scientific gifts to the West from the Arab world: Music, poetry, mathematics, astronomy, sacred geometry, ceramics, weaving and architecture and not least the preservation and revival of ancient Greek philosophy suppressed in the West for centuries.

With that cultural element in mind, the conference will come to a close with a spoken word poetry reading by Samah Sabawi followed by a solo set of music by world renowned Palestinian/australian musician Phil Monsour who recently returned from a tour of Europe and the UK.

Phil Monsour is an “Australian troubadour who sings songs of hope, humanity, invasion and occupations”. (Limelight Magazine Jan 2009). He is a committed independent singer/songwriter with a history of producing music that travels beyond the mainstream to explore complex issues of identity, solidarity and politics. Phil’s songs speak with honesty and insight about people’s lives and personal experiences. He is an accomplished musician on both acoustic and electric guitar and has a strong and passionate voice. Phil’s performance style is both energetic and moving.(download as PDF)
Based in Brisbane Phil Monsour has extensive performing and recording experience as a solo performer and with his bands, the Phil Monsour Band, the Cutters and Popproperly. Recent releases include Ghosts of Deir Yassin (2012), the Empire’s New Clothes (2008), Live at Ahimsa House (2010), Lies and Silence (2009), and the Smart Bombs EP (2001).  With the band Popproperly, Phil released two albums: Popproperly (1999)and Faint Blue Glow (1998), as well as a number of EPs and singles. Renowned for their high energy folk rock performances, Popproperly toured extensively throughout Europe.

video link: Ghosts of Deir Yassin

Ghosts of Deir Yassin 2012
Phil Monsour Ghosts of Deir Yassin was recorded at Wavelength Recording in Brisbane with the full band which features Jon Lloyd on Drums, Ian Kimber on Bass and Vocals, Graham Jackson on Guitar and vocals and Phil Monsour on Guitar and Lead Vocals. The music that emerged over a period of several months is an upbeat and dynamic vehicle for Phil’s unique lyrical concerns.
In 2010, Phil Monsour travelled to Lebanon and visited the Burj el Barajneh refugee camp. He also travelled to the West Bank in the Occupied Palestine Territories and attempted unsuccessfully to enter the Gaza Strip. Most of the songs on this CD were written during and shortly after this trip. Inspired by a number of actual experiences, the lyrics are serious but have an accessibility grounded in real experiences and the stories of real people.

In early January 2012 Phil returned overseas to film a video clip for the title song of the CD and spent 5 days filming on location in a number of refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon. The video was released in May 2012 and coincided with tour dates in Scotland, Ireland and England.

20% of the money from Phil’s CD sales are donated to the Australian Council of Trade Unions overseas development agency for projects in the Middle East.
In 2008, with his new band Phil Monsour recorded and released a 13- song CD, The Empire’s New Clothes. The result described by Noel Mengel in the Brisbane Courier mail is “ the most passionate album of his career…..The Empire’s New Clothes shows traces of his interest in folk and world music but also rocks with amp-rattling intensity on songs like the blazing One Step and the anthemic Sing Your Song”. The album is a bleak and insightful statement, a unique mix of personal and related narratives about ordinary people whose stories and circumstance are ignored or pushed to the edges.

Musically, The Empire’s New Clothes builds on Phil’s acoustic rock style and creates a contemporary and complex musical landscape. For the project, Phil worked with a range of musicians from a wide variety of musical backgrounds to develop arrangements and instruments that best supported the power and passion behind the songs. Musicians included Jon Lloyd on drums, Graham Jackson on guitar and vocals, Lachlan Hurse on bass, Lorne Gerlack on keyboards, Bryan Pearson on piano and organ, and the ever versatile Simon Monsour (Phil’s cousin) as producer engineer and occasional musician.

Phil Monsour continues to perform regularly locally and internationally.


Australians for Palestine
Australian Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Campaign for Palestine
BDSmovement.net | Palestinian BDS National Committee
Kim Bullimore on the boycott, divestment and sanction of Israel
Israel’s Weapons a Crime on Humanity | Occupied Palestine | فلسطين
Boycott Israel News: Researcher Says Israel Responsible for at least 97.8 Percent of Serious Human Rights Abuses in Conflict
From Balfour to Obama: Colonial Thinking on Palestine   :  Information Clearing House
An Ethical Critique of the United States-Israel Alliance | Journal of Religion, Conflict, and Peace

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