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Islamic Restrictions Hinder Artists, Singers in Gaza

Unlike their counterparts in the West Bank, Palestinian artists in Gaza are unable to use their talents because of restrictions imposed by Hamas, writes Hazem Balousha.
A Palestinian artist paints a mural in Gaza City in support of Palestinian prisoners on a hunger strike in Israeli jails May 14, 2012. One in three of the 4,800 Palestinians serving time in Israeli jails began refusing food on April 17 in protest against detention without trial and to demand better conditions like an increase in family visits and ending solitary confinement. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR321GT
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Instead of listening to the radio, which often doesn’t work in Gaza’s taxis, the passengers listen to the driver sing traditional Palestinian songs or the songs of famous singers.

About six months ago, Palestinian singer Yousef Hajjaj, 38, was forced to work as a taxi driver for lack of singing opportunities. For years, there has been dwindling work opportunities for singers at concerts as well as at local, Arab and international festivals.

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