Dear Kate – Open letter to Australian Eurovision Contestant Kate Miller-Heidke
by on May 14, 2019 in Featured News

Dear Kate

This is a letter from no one.

I am asking you to reconsider your upcoming performance at Eurovision in Tel Aviv in Apartheid Israel.

I am not a famous musician, but I have performed and recorded music for years and played to many people, usually concerned about the Palestinian struggle here in Brisbane (our hometown) and all around the world.

I know Roger Waters has asked you not to perform. I know that activists in Australia have asked you not to go, and for SBS not to broadcast the event. And I know you will ignore us.

I write to say you are breaking the Palestinian boycott, you are crossing the picket line, and your performance is a betrayal.  The cleverness and sophistication of your music will become for millions of us, the hollow sound of the sky breaking.

As a teenager barely able to play the guitar or sing (probably still can’t) I wrote my first songs after Israel’s first bloody invasion and occupation of Lebanon. My family was from there. A big part of my family is still there. Music was an expression of anger and despair, but also a breath of hope and determination. Inspired by survival and continued resistance I tried to contribute my own songs and searched for music that was a chorus of peoples all around the world who refuse to be treated like dust. People who know we are human despite of the colour of our skin, where we are from or our religion – First Nations people, refugees locked in prison Island camps and anyone fighting to be free, or treated equally.

I watched as the first Palestinian intifada unfolded with Israel fighting hard to (literally) “break the bones” of the uprising, and to co-opt it.  I visited my family in Lebanon for the first time and saw the landscape and a people scared by war and invasion. There were more songs in 2006 when the Israeli air force again destroyed much of Lebanon. In Palestine, Israel armed and supported by Governments around the world including Australia, built walls and illegal settlements, confiscated land, caged millions in the Gaza Strip and continued to fight each day to erase the existence of millions of Palestinian refugee families. But Palestinians continued to resist and still they survive.

Of my songs about Palestine, I am most proud of this song written after I was able to visit Palestine for the first time. The video was filmed in the refugee camps that surround the modern state of Israel. Ghosts of Deir Yassin features the words of a Palestinian poet Fadwa Tuqan spoken by the contemporary Palestinian Poet Rafeef Ziadah with whom I regularly perform: “I hope one day to return to my beloved homeland, to the flowers and roses. I no longer fear their power – I will return”

Imprisoned, defenseless and abandoned, the Palestinian people have asked us to do one simple thing. To support a Boycott of the apartheid state until they gain their freedom, equal treatment and long awaited justice.

To stand with them is surely worth more than 15 minutes of fame.

As my youngest daughter says when I go on tour. “Come home now!”

Phil Monsour

Baqa’a refugee camp Jordan