Get to know Kofia, a Swedish indie band that is pro-Palestine and anti-Zionism

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Resistance to Israeli colonialism in Palestine is not only carried out through war. There are also those who fight through the art of music. Many musical works of art with the theme of Palestinian liberation were not born in the land of the prophets. A number of songs with themes of support for Palestine also appeared in Europe. The current hit, for example, is Kofia from Sweden. 

Kofia is a music group that was founded in 1972. The music group was founded by George Totari, a Christian born in Nazareth in 1946. He was born two years before the Nakba, the Israeli colonial event and the expulsion of thousands of Palestinians. Reporting from , Totari and his family fled from Palestine to Sweden after Israel occupied much of Palestine in 1967.  

When he arrived in Sweden at the age of 21, Totari did not forget his homeland of Palestine. As a member of the Palestinian diaspora in Europe, he also condemned Zionism which colonized his homeland. This can be clearly seen in his works between 1972 and 1987. In that period, Totari formed a band with Palestinian immigrants and Swedish left-wing groups. He named the band Kofia , the Swedish dialect for kefiyyeh , a typical Palestinian head scarf. 

Quoted from , Kofia’s songs are full of strong nuances of resistance and anti-imperialism. Each album tells a story about the struggle and independence of Palestinians from Zionist colonialism.

The band, which at that time consisted of Hassan Bakri, George Totari, Wille Sidén, Magnus Törnblad, Bengt Carlsson, Lars Carlsson, Thomas Andersson, Anna-Lena Näsström, Carina Olsson, and Imo Olsson, worked independently without the support of a major label. 

The band based in Göteborg, Västra Götalands län, Sweden has become famous again recently. Their songs entitled ‘Leve Palestine’ or Long Live Palestine and Demonstrationssången / Tahiyya Falastin have become the backdrop for many short videos or pro-Palestinian demonstrations in various countries.   

The song contains many strong lyrics such as:

Leve Palestine och krossa Sionismen (Long live Palestine and destroy Zionism)

Och vi har kastat stenar p å (And we have thrown stones)

Soldarte och policemen (to soldiers and police) 

Och vi har skjutit raketer (and we have fired rockets)

Mot våra fiender (against our enemies)

Och hela världen känner var kamp (and the whole world knows our mission) 

The song also contains a message of anti-imperialism and support for socialism, as can be seen from the following lyrics:  

Och vi ska befria v årt land (And we will free our country)

Från im perialisme (from imperialism)

Och vi ska bygga up vårt (and we will build our country)

Till socialismen (for socialism)

Och hela värden kommer att bevittna (and the whole world will testify) 

Quoted from , Kofia started his album with a militant and courageous message to oppose the Israeli regime. This album is entitled Palestine My Land and was released in 1976. Not only that, the second song “long live the people’s revolution!” in this album, it is addressed directly to the Zionist military leader Moshe Dayan, which is sung based on the story of a woman whose husband joined the guerrillas. The album ends with Baladi My homeland , a traditional song with lyrics that focus on the right to return to Deir Yassin, Galilee and Yafa. 

Titled Earth of My Homeland , Kofia’s second album tells the story of the fertility of the land, Palestinian cities and villages, as well as the strength of Palestinian female refugees. This album, which was released in 1978, also called on Palestinian youth to rebel against invaders, oppressors and self-seekers, offending Sadat, who at that time signed an agreement with Israel and the US.

Earth of My Homeland ends with Kofia’s now most famous song, namely ‘Leve Palestine’ or Long Live Palestine  and entitled Demonstrationssången / Tahiyya Falastin . With its catchy repeating chorus, the song’s composition is a manifesto of liberation and the right of return, connection to the homeland, and a call for solidarity

Their third album, entitled Mawwal to My Family and Loved Ones, was created to commemorate the fire in Beirut and the massacre of Sabra and Shatila by Israel. In this album, Kofia also contains stories that uphold the resilience of the Palestinian people.

Their last album was entitled Long Live Palestine and was released in 1988. Long Live Palestine was recorded in the midst of the turbulent resistance or intifada movement in 1988. Most recently, the band released the short film Kofia: A Revolution Through Music which tells how Palestinians face exile and criticism. tough on Zionism , imperialism, and Palestinian politicians who are considered to be Israel’s puppets.

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