By Chloe Richardson
A group of local Galway DJs, are attempting to provide relief, to citizens in Gaza suffering directly from the Israel-Hamas war, through night life events.
Israeli military retaliation to the attacks, perpetrated by Hamas on 7 October, has resulted in the reported death of over 3,600 Palestinian children, and over 2,000 women, according to the UN.
Gaza City as well as northern Gaza have been largely cut off from the rest of the strip, according to reports from the UN. About 1.5 million people have been displaced, at least 45% of housing units are destroyed or damaged, and an average of 92% less water consumption.
President Michael D. Higgins has described the loss of life amid this conflict as ‘horrific’. He has called for an immediate ceasefire and release of hostages. The president also stated that “Violence by non-State and State actors must be described for what it is – breaches of international law.”
Locals are organising gig nights and fundraisers to provide relief to citizens suffering in Gaza. ‘Stand for Palestine’ which took place in Cooke’s Thatch Bar on 3 November saw the collaboration of 15 Galway DJs playing throughout the night to raise money for Palestinian aid.
“It all started a month ago when we saw what was happening in the Gaza Strip,” said Santiago Amozurrutia, an organiser of ‘Stand for Palestine’. “Gabrielle [the other organiser] and myself talked about it and decided to invite all of our DJ friends to play for charity. We were going to do it anyway. It was just a matter of bringing the community together to reach as many people as possible.”
Galway DJ Evan O’Flatharta, was among those who took part in the fundraiser. When asked what encouraged him to be involved he said; “I suppose it was when I was looking at everything going on in Gaza, and a lot of people were at a loss for how they could help or do their part. When Santiago got in touch with me about this night I said absolutely.”
The night raised almost €1,500 for Medical Aid for Palestine, an organisation aligned with the Gaza Emergency Appeal. The Gaza Emergency Appeal is a charity currently working to distribute remaining medical supplies in Gaza. The organisation is also distributing essential supplies like mattresses, blankets, and hygiene kits directly to citizens.
Rob Rua is another Galway-based DJ in attendance, playing a back-to-back set, late in the evening with Hannah Hession. Together, along with fellow organisers Robin Clancy and Alannah Dunford, they’ve put together an additional fundraiser through Ar Ais Arís, an underground electronic music night.
Taking place on 17 November, the night aims to raise awareness as well as money for Medical Aid for Palestine. Rob said, “It’s somewhat born from a sense of helplessness, but also the feeling of ‘we have to do something’. What we can do as promoters, artists and DJs is try and raise awareness by putting on events, but also raise some funding. I don’t think we can take that support in our society for granted.”
Rob continues to speak on the role being played by artists and creatives in Galway at the moment: “We’re not trying to lead the discussion, I think everyone is looking around at the moment and feeling quite helpless, and wanting to do something. And this is what we can do, come together and have a party and try to raise some money.”
“It’s an ongoing discussion in the public sphere, and it’s very complicated,” said Rob. “There’s different viewpoints and different sides, but I think the need for a cease-fire and aid to get into Palestine for people who need it, seems to be something that needs to be agreed [upon] urgently.”