Making new friends; young...
This summer, our hearts and minds have been focused on Gaza. For over a month, Israel bombarded Gaza from land, sea and air. More than 1900 Palestinians have lost their lives, including over 450 children, many thousands have been injured and more than 100 000 people have had their homes destroyed. Hospitals, schools, UN shelters and ambulances have been targeted. Compared to previous assaults on Gaza, the number and intensity of attacks have been unusually high, and massive bombardments of civilian locations were the rule rather than the exception. The damage caused to the population of Gaza is uncomprehensible.
In mid-July, The Freedom Theatre along with the other main cultural organisations in occupied Palestine issued a statement in solidarity with Gaza. We called upon fellow artists and cultural organisations to condemn Israel's aggression and stand with our companions who continue to work in Gaza, using music, theatre and drama to comprehend, process, educate and mobilize. On our website we also listed a number of actions to take to support Gaza.
Given the circumstances, it is difficult to look ahead. But all of us at The Freedom Theatre recognise that in the midst of our outrage and despair, we as cultural workers have a special role to play. Quoting our Managing Director, Jonatan Stanczak: "The most powerful weapon we have is our ability to play and dream, to be able to discover alternatives and pursue them. The oppressive forces fear this weapon the most because as long as we are able to imagine another kind of world, we have the power to fight for our dreams. If you can find within yourself the slightest playfulness and the dream of a better life, a better society, then you have not been defeated and you are resisting. If we nurture that positive spirit we will one day discover that we are together a well-equipped army, willing and able to fight the Israeli occupation, apartheid and colonialism as well as the occupation from within. I strongly feel that we are not far from being able to do exactly this."
Our Freedom Bus project is perhaps more needed than ever. At the heart of all Freedom Bus activities is the belief that active solidarity, community engagement and creative expression are vital in the journey towards a just, peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict. Through our Freedom Rides and Solidarity Stays, people who are otherwise separated come together to share experiences and build alliances.
We hope that you will be able to join this movement. Tentative dates for the 2015 Freedom Ride are March 15-30. The ride will include building and reconstruction work, protective presence activity, guided walks, interactive workshops and cultural events. Through Playback Theatre, community members will share personal accounts about the realities of life and struggle under colonialism, occupation and apartheid. Read more and sign up here.
... and old, but young at heart.
Tea time during community visit
Morning circle warm-up
Playback Theatre event