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Mustafa and Bella Hadid Team Up For Short Film and Single, “Gaza is Calling”

The rising singer bravely wields his poetic artistry to show up for Palestine and oppressed peoples around the world. 

by Ozioma Nwabuikwu

Photo by Joseph Marshall

On “Gaza is Calling,” Sudanese singer, Mustafa pens a heartfelt letter to his childhood friend, Ali, a boy from Gaza who escaped to Canada with his family, only to be haunted by guilt and memories of war-torn land. The bloodshed bleeds into life in Toronto as Ali and Mustafa, both survivors of war, are pulled into more conflict while living in the Regent Park neighbourhood. 

The short film, directed by Hiam Abbass, stars Palestinian model, Bella Hadid, and Palestinian rapper MC Abdul as siblings moving through grief and guilt after escaping Gaza. They may not be in Gaza but the lyrics reveal that there’s no true escape as trauma colours their existence and stains every memory. We’re also shown a corresponding reflection of life in a refugee camp in the West Bank through siblings, Israa and Younes, who are still there to this day. The children try and sometimes fail to hold onto joy and companionship amidst the death and destruction they face daily.

Mustafa wrote “Gaza is Calling” in 2020 and reached out to Hadid two years later. Much of the footage was shot early last year, but some was shot in the West Bank as early as last week. The Arabian string samples and oud instrument fill the song with tender yearning and regret while honouring the Arab roots of Ali and Mustafa. This record is not only a tribute to Ali from Gaza, it is for every child, past and present, living under occupation around the world. 

All proceeds from the song and video will be donated to the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund.