Palestinian rappers create a unique form of resistance within the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Historic divisions evidenced by gigantic walls, occupation by foreign military forces, and poverty stand in contrast to young Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank expressing their views through their music. Slingshot Hip Hop humanizes the conflict I’ve only experienced vaguely through news reports throughout my life.

I must admit to a distinct sense of ignorance to the various sources of conflict that have created a seemingly impossible situation in the Middle East. What I witnessed in this film, and meeting the filmmaker and rappers afterward, is a strong sense of humanity and dignity and frustration with the decades-old state of affairs. I witnessed revolutionary music that takes me back to my own youth when music provided the soundtrack to revolution in the U.S. in opposition to the war in Viet Nam. These inspiring young people are intent on breaking down barriers with their voices.

After the film and Q&A I spoke with Abeer, a female singer who has faced strong resistance from her own family to her musical ambitions. I told her I can’t imagine living the life she has lived and continues to live.

She held my hand firmly and said, “We are the same.”