Malak Behrouznami – Palestine News Network 17 June 2010
Legendary songwriter, performer and peace activist, Tommy Sands scheduled performance at the "Festival Bloomsday Concert " Sunday June 20 has been cancelled.
Ireland’s legendary County Down Celtic performer
Tommy Sands and his children, accomplished
musicians Moya and Fionán Sands
The appearance was canceled after Sands refused to be censored during his performance. Sands was asked by the organizers of the events, the Israeli Ireland Friendship League in association with the Municipality of Ramat Hasharon , to not perform "Peace on the Shores of Gaza," the song he had written as the anthem for the MV Rachel Corrie that set sail from Ireland to Gaza.
Oddly enough, the came shortly after Ireland's recent decision to expel an Israeli Diplomat after an investigation over the assassination of Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai earlier this year, proved that the 8 Irish passports used by the suspects in the assassination, an operation supposedly under Israeli intelligence, had been forged.
Despite the recent increase of artists boycotting Israel by cancelling their performances, Sands has taken an alternative approach to the boycott, by performing in Israel, Palestine and Gaza during his tour. Sands recalls friends and colleagues in Ireland urging him not to come after the Floatilla event, fearing for his safety as a peace activist.
However, Sands thought it was important to come, "I realized that even though Ireland was seeing Israel in a dehumanizing way, I realized that there are many activists here who may need solidarity from the outside." During his performance last week at the Yellow Submarine in Jerusalem, Tommy received an invitation to play at the weekly Sheikh Jerrah demonstration in East Jerusalem this Friday. Sands accepted the invitation despite the fact that it was not a planned venue for the tour.
Sands is known for his involvement by actively speaking out about the conflict between Northern and Southern Ireland through his music. When asked about his role as a peace activist musician he responded, "Trust me, it would be a lot easier to stay home and make records, but we have a duty to contribute to the betterment of society."
Israel prevented the aid ship
MV Rachel Corrie from reaching Gaza,
and they censored its anthem
'Peace on the Shores of Gaza'
Peace on the Shores of Gaza
We are sailing away with hope in our soul
We are sailing to say You are not alone
Sailing today Salaam Shalom
For Peace on the shores of Gaza
We bear no weaponry of war, no gun nor mortar
We bear no hatred in our hearts
for any living creature
But when this human family pains
no matter where the nation
Can we not give some comfort then
and keep communication
Memories of bitter days gone by,
pain too sad to mention
And as the wire rises higher
the more good neighbours question
Who is gaining from this war in dark deliberation
And watch poor people live in fear
or die in desperation
We come with nothing much to give
but words of caring
We come knowing when we leave
it's we who are learning
From a spirit that survives
the tides of cruel devastation
Can rise again
and sow the seeds of peace and celebration
Irish folk legend Tommy Sands joins the Sheikh Jarrah Protest
Mario Savio, Pulse Media 19 June 2010
Irish folk legend Tommy Sands performed in front of a crowd of hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians who came to the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem for the weekly Friday demonstration to protest against house evictions of Palestinians by Israeli courts and settlers.
After the performance, the demonstrators marched in the streets of the neighbourhood. Israeli police tried to prevent them from marching, but was unable to stop them due to the large numbers of demonstrators.
"Everywhere we went (in Gaza) the same question was on every body's lips - 'You are here but where are the Arabs?' One little girl said to me 'where is this Arab world that they teach us about in school? Where is this Ummah that they talk to us about on Fridays? Why did they leave us alone?'. That's what she said to me, with tears in her eyes 'why did they leave us alone?' I had to turn my face away from her when she said it, and I'm not an Arab, I had to turn away.. I couldn't face her in the face of such a question.."