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Watch Brian Eno, Fontaines D.C.’s Carlos O’Connell, Michael Stipe and Bastille’s Dan Smith read ‘Voices For Gaza’ letters of Palestinian’s war experience 

Brian Eno, as well as members of Fontaines D.C., R.E.M, Bastille and more have read out letters from Palestinians suffering in Gaza as part of a ‘Voices For Gaza’ initiative.

The clips have been shared on the Instagram page for Voices For Gaza, and sees famous faces from across the entertainment industry read letters from those in Palestine aloud, recalling the graphic details of the war.

It aims to help raise funds for the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians and bring awareness to the ongoing crisis happening in the country.

At time of writing, the conflict has led to the deaths of over 34,600 Palestinians. The attacks by Hamas on October 7 last year killed over 1,200 people.

Among those who have taken part in the charity initiative is Brian Eno, who reads out a letter from a civilian in Gaza, written in February 2024. It recalls the firsthand perspective of the person finding their childhood home bombed, seeing his father forced to queue for hours to access clean water, and how many of those in Gaza are being subjected to seeing the bodies of their relatives decomposing in the street.

Fontaines D.C.’s Carlos O’Connell also read a moving letter out loud for Voices For Gaza. Written by a civilian called Walaa Barbakh in January, the letter recalled how the grave of their late daughter had been desecrated, “bodies [were] thrown everywhere”, and they had to ask to retrieve her body.

R.E.M’s Michael Stipe also took part, reading a letter from a civilian who documented how he lost multiple siblings in the bombings, and is seeing more and more children being killed due to the conflict.

Others who have joined the initiative include Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello, System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian, Succession’s Brian Cox, Susan Sarandon and Game of Thrones actors Carice van Houten and Liam Cunningham.

For the latter, the participation in Voices For Gaza comes after he hit out at people in Hollywood who are comfortable “ignoring” the ongoing war in Gaza.

The Irish actor, who played Davos Seaworth on the HBO show, said: “The people who didn’t talk – it is not going to be forgotten. It’s livestreamed this genocide – and the option to say you didn’t know is not an option. You did know and you did nothing, you stayed quiet. I need to be able to look in the mirror and that’s why I speak.”

As well as the push from Voices For Gaza, the support for Palestinians has been gaining momentum across the UK, and at the start of the month it was reported that university students had embarked on a fresh wave of demonstrations in light of the “horrifying” arrests of those protesting in the US.

As well as their various protests, there have also been calls for their universities to sever ties with firms that supply arms to Israel and withdraw links to universities in Israel.

Elsewhere, The Weeknd pledged $2million (£1.6million) from his XO Humanitarian Fund to help feed families in war-torn Gaza. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), the donation provided over 1,500 metric tons of fortified wheat flour, which will be used to make roughly 18 million loaves of bread that can help feed more than 157,000 Palestinians for a month.

This came after the artist, who is a United Nations World Food Programme Goodwill Ambassador, had previously donated $2.5million (£1.9million) at the end of 2023 which provided 820 metric tons of food parcels to feed more than 173,000 Palestinians for two weeks.

Palestinian solidarity also surrounded last week’s Eurovision Song Contest, with many artists previously signing petitions to have Israel removed from the competition, while there was also pressure on UK representative Olly Alexander to boycott the event.

The singer previously signed a letter calling Israel an “apartheid state” and accused it of “genocide”, though he still took part in Eurovision as boycotting “wouldn’t bring us any closer to our shared goal”.

Brian Eno, who took part in Voices For Gaza, had shown his support for Palestine before, and previously joined forces with Nadine Shah and Maxine Peake to perform at a special benefit event in support of Palestine at London’s Union Chapel last month.

A similar event is happening for Fontaines D.C. too, who have teamed up with Massive Attack and Young Fathers for a limited edition 12” single to support the charity Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

100 per cent of the profits from the single will be donated to the charity to help their emergency operations in Gaza and the West Bank. In a statement, the artists have also called for an immediate ceasefire in the region, “in solidarity with the Palestinian people living under a brutal military operation”

The festival scene has been impacted by the increasing support for Palestine too, with many artists refusing to play at SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas in March because of the event’s connections to the US Army and weapons companies. These included Gruff Rhys, Kneecap, Sprints, Lambrini Girls, Gel, Rachel Chinouriri, Cardinals and NewDad.

It is a similar situation for the upcoming 2024 edition of the Great Escape Festival, with a report emerging earlier today that over 100 acts have now dropped out of the event in solidarity with Gaza.

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