'We Teach Life, Sir'

Speak out by Rafeef Ziadah, London.
Introduction by Debra Ellis

One of Toronto's most captivating spoken word artists is Rafeef Ziadah, a third-generation Palestinian refugee and community organizer.

Rafeef Ziadah received an Ontario Arts Council Grant from the ‘Word of Mouth’ program to create her debut album, Hadeel, featuring music from other notable Toronto musicians such as LAL and Reena Katz. Rafeef started performing poetry in Toronto in 2004 with the spoken word collective, Pueblo Unido, and is the winner of the 2007 Mayworks Festival Poetry Face-Off.

Rafeef’s poetry speaks to the struggle of immigrants to “make it to/in Canada” and the politics of exile. Being Palestinian she reflects on the realities of her homeland today, to which she is not allowed to return.

Socio-political themes such as immigration, war and the return to Palestine, drive her work.

Rafeef’s debut ablum, Hadeel, is dedicated to Palestinian youth, "who still fly kites in the face of F16 bombers, who still remember the names of their villages in Palestine and still hear the sound of Hadeel over Gaza."

Photo by Debra Ellis