Al Jazeera World

Songs for the Love of Palestine

Stories of four songs that reflect the Palestinian diaspora’s heritage and desire to return to a homeland left in 1948.

This film tells the stories of four songs that date back to early and mid-20th century Palestine and Jordan.

They reflect Palestinian cultural heritage and the diaspora’s strong desire to return to a homeland they were forced out of in 1948. They all contain snapshots of the time and place in which they were written – from the British Mandate to 1950s Jordan to Palestinians living abroad today.

The song To Ramallah was written and produced for Jordan Radio in the 1950s and has evolved to become a favourite among Palestinians abroad who are yearning to return to the city.

To My Mother was a poem written by Mahmoud Darwish while he was incarcerated in prison in Ramla. Sometimes seen as a metaphor for the Palestinian predicament, the words were later put to music by the Lebanese composer Marcel Khalife.

Tall Handsome Man is the oldest of the four songs and dates back to the British Mandate in Palestine. The story goes that when villages suffered attacks from local intruders, a tall handsome carpenter used his wages to buy rifles to protect his village.

Finally, the song Ghoubaishy is set in British-ruled eastern Jordan in the early 1940s and tells the story of the daring Ghoubaishy, who elopes with Hassna to the disapproval of her family. Ghoubaishy defends his love in a song of bravery and true romance.