Sama’ Abdulhadi was featured in The New York Times this past week in a piece that highlights what it’s like to be Palestine’s most famous DJ while still unrecognizable by some Palestinians. Jerusalem bureau chief, Patrick Kingsley, paints a picture for readers that captures the atmosphere of occupation, as culture is being redefined for and by Palestinians.
Below is an excerpt from the beginning of the article:
By Patrick Kingsley | The New York Times | March 5, 2021
RAMALLAH, West Bank — Until the showdown beside the mosque, Sama’ Abdulhadi believed she was a flag bearer for contemporary Palestinian culture.
A 30-year-old D.J. from Ramallah, Ms. Abdulhadi is a rising star of global electronic music. She helped build the electronic music scene in Ramallah, the administrative hub of the occupied West Bank. And through the streaming of her performances in Ramallah and her appearances at major international festivals, she had turned this small mountainous city — often associated with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — into an occasional destination for hardcore European clubbers and international music journalists.
But then, late last December, came the mosque incident.
For her newest video project, Palestinian officials permitted Ms. Abdulhadi to film a performance at Nabi Musa, a remote cultural complex attached to a mosque in a desert area east of Jerusalem that some believe was built where Moses was buried. Several hours into the filming her set was stormed by religious Palestinians, furious at what they saw as an attack on Islam.
They distributed footage of the event, raising a media storm. Palestinian leaders condemned Ms. Abdulhadi and the police detained her for more than a week. She was released on bail but remains under investigation and cannot travel. And this pride of Palestine has become a villain to many amid a public debate about what it is to be Palestinian.