In Palestine, A Child Of Violence Becomes A Music Educator

NPR “Weekend Edition”
July 12, 2015

Sandy Tolan and Ramzi Aburedwan in conversation with “Weekend Edition” NPR host Lynn Neary on Children of the Stone.

When the first Palestinian uprising began in the late 1980s, the images from the intifada showed exploding tear gas canisters launched by Israelis, answered by Palestinian youngsters shooting slingshots and hurling rocks.

A photographer snapped a photo of a boy with tears in his eyes, an 8-year-old named Ramzi Aburedwan.

The image came to represent the rage and frustration of life in the refugee camps. But although his face was famously stuck in time, Ramzi’s life changed dramatically when he was introduced to music at age 16. He began playing viola, received a scholarship to study at a conservatory in France and became a teacher. In 2005, he started Al Kamandjâti, schools to bring music to Palestinian children.

Today, Ramzi is touring America, playing an Arabic instrument called the bouzouk, along with other Middle Eastern players from the Dal’Ouna Ensemble. Sandy Tolan, a radio producer and author, has been following Ramzi’s story told in his new book, Children of the Stone.

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