Canadian/Palestinian play to tour Occupied Palestine
September7th, 2012 – Jerusalem – Set in the West Bank,Facts, by Canadian playwright, Arthur Milner, will visit several cities in Occupied Palestine.Factswill tour with the support of both Canadian and Palestinian artistic leaders who believe in the play’s powerful and entertaining dialogue. The production will be performed in Arabic with an all-star Palestinian cast, with English translation in some performances.
Inspired by a true story,Factsis a profound murder mystery that adeptly navigates social and political territory as two detectives, a Palestinian and an Israeli, work together to solve an intricate case. Their only remaining suspect, an Israeli settler, proves to be highly elusive: he’s guilty of something, but of what?
About the Palestine Tour
The tour in Occupied Palestine is a co-production between theAlrowwad Cultural & Theatre Society,located inBethlehem’sAida Refugee Camp, andtheNew Theatre of Ottawa. The Canadian team include PlaywrightArthur Milner, DirectorSamer Al-Saber,DesignerMartin Conboyand Associate ProducerDan Daley. The Palestinian cast includesAbdelfattah Abusrour,Amer KhalilandKamel Elbasha, who is also the translator. Some performances will include English surtitles.
Performances ofFactswill take place inBethlehem, Jerusalem, Jenin, Jericho, Hebron, Nazareth,Jaffa, Haifaand theGolan Heights.
Alrowwad, initiator of the “Beautiful Non-Violent Resistance,” is an independent, dynamic, community-based, cultural and artistic organization that strives to empower children, youth and women by targeting behavior, knowledge, concepts and practices through beautiful and non-violent means.
About New Theatre of Ottawa
New Theatre of Ottawa has operated as NTO since 1992 but was founded as The Actors’ Co-op Theatre 1986. NTO is committed to professional artists and standards, produces new work by Ottawa playwrights, and employs local actors, directors and designers.
Alrowwad Cultural and Theatre Society / Aida camp Invites you to share events and activities for the children And participating in screening Arab films participation in Amal International Festival in Spain Partnership with Spain cooperation agency
Play bus has carried on activities from 1st of May to 30th of June in 26 locations in the cities of: (Bethlehem, Jenin, Nablus, Qalqilya, Salfeet, and Hebron) and served a total of 2020 children from age 5 to age 15. Activities were done in 11 kindergartens, 7 schools, 4 children centers and 4 open spaces activities.
15 games were the products by our work through the previous two months. It was a great achievement to visit places where most of people’s lands were confiscated by the Israeli apartheid system to build the wall. Alrowwad playbus carried for the first time during also its activities in (Al-ma'sara). We involved children in the activities to work as (young educators) of the play bus. We dedicated our efforts to build games having the Palestinian identity. Despite these achievements; it was difficult to do activities in the North during summer time. We were forced to wait along time on checkpoints before doing activities in open spaces.
" Homeland Via Internet " a play written and directed by Issa Abusrour, the theater trainer in Alrowwad Cultural and Theater Society, and performed by Abir, Tamara, Farah, Iman, Aysha, Manar, Shayma‘, Isra‘ and Shatha.
You are all invited to the first show on Thursday the 21st of June 2012, at 6:00 P.m. in Alrowwad in Bethlehem Aida Camp.
Breaking Walls is a joint project between Alrowwad Cultural and Theatre Society in Aida refugees’ camp-Bethlehem and FranTarr productions in the USA. This project was created to produce documentary films that give voice to teens underrepresented in the media. The first completed documentary is Bethlehem to Brooklyn: breaking the surface (2009) the inspiring tale of two young men, Mohammad Abu-Srour in Bethlehem and Ryan Smith in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn who, facing daily chaos and fear, choose writing to illustrate that they and their peers are our best route to ending misconceptions and bringing lasting security to everyone. fran tarr productions second documentary Brooklyn bridges- to Bethlehem &back (2011) brought Ryan Smith and two of his Brooklyn peers to Bethlehem to work directly with Mohammad Abu-Srour and his peers (Mahmoud, Issa, Sofia, Fida’ and Rowa’) in a writing workshop while getting a bird‘s eye view of life in Aida Refugee Camp and Bethlehem. Brooklyn bridges-to Bethlehem & back is now on the international film festival circuit as well as the basis for an emerging non-profit program breaking walls. Breaking walls is an ongoing and viable global arts activism program pairing kids struggling in chaos and conflict, offering them a new outlet for validation and peace through the arts and face-to-face dialogue. With the support of educational and cultural partnerships, volunteers and friends, the program bears witness to the transformation of breaking walls participants as they grow from the students of today to the leaders of tomorrow.
Mohammad,Sofia, Mahmoud, Rowa’ and Fida’ were the Palestinian students from Alrowwad involved in creating b2b and bb. Their contribution to demonstrating that young men and women across the world are more similar than different has empowered audiences from New York City to Los Angeles to Berlin and Nuremberg. Their dedication to using the arts for social change shows in their choice to continue with breaking walls.
On the 5th of July and till the 14th of July 2012, Alrowwad participants Mohammad Abu-Srour, Mahmoud Abu-Srour, Rowa’ Abu-Srour, Lina Abuakkar, Abdelrahim Abu-Srour, Manal Sarhan, Canan Abu-Srour to collaborate on our first breaking walls writing-performing workshop in Berlin, Germany. The third collaborating partner in Berlin is the Nelson Mandela International High School. Our breaking walls workshop will be taking place at the Wolfgang-Scheunemann-Haus,in Moabit. A total of 12 German youth will participate in this breaking walls collaboration.
The purpose o f Mohammad, Mahmoud, Rowa, Lina, Abdelrahim, Manal and Canan’s trip to Berlin is to write and perform their original writing for a live audience. In addition to writing, rehearsing and performing, these young Palestinians will join Ryan and students from Brooklyn’s ACORN Community High School and the Berlin youth in exploring German culture. The entire experience will be filmed as a documentary film.
For more information please check http://breakingwalls.orghttp://breakingwalls.org
Dr. Abusrour, Founder and director of Alrowwad Cultural and Theatre Training Society, will be travelling between April 19th to May 25th to the USA to present the philosophy of Beautiful Resistance and Palestinian Popular Resistance actions. He will also connects with interested people to build partnerships and exchange programs, recruit new board members for Alrowwad USA, and fundraising.
Dr. Abusrour was rewarded as first Ashoka Fellow-Social Entrepreneur in Palestine. He is actually Synergos fellow and President of the Palestinian Theatre League.
Saturday October 8th of 2011, representatives of six Norwegian schools visited Alrowwad Center. This third annual visit is part of the strong partnership between the center and an accolade of Norwegian schools. The Center's director, staff, and students welcomed the delegation in Aida Camp at the Center's offices where a full day program was scheduled for the delegation.
The delegation's 50 students, teachers, and administrators were introduced, first hand, to many of the Center's activity: theater, cultural, and musical. In addition, several sessions were held to discuss the living, political, and cultural issues facing the people of Aida Camp and other camps. The day started off with a speech from Dr. AbdelFattah Abu Srour, the Director of Alrowwad Center, which emphasized the center's "beautiful resistance" mission and philosophy. Sameer Ata Aoudeh, as a representative of the Aida Camp people, followed with a speech describing the Palestinian's state through the first and second Intifadah. A discussion about the movement of peaceful resistant was then led by Mazin Qumsia. The delegation, also, seized the opportunity to walk through the streets of Aida Camp, led by Dr. AbdelFattah.
In the afternoon, the center's musical, theater, and dabke (Palestinian culture dance) groups, in an effort to best represent the Palestinian culture and history, performed in-front of the delegation.
The scheduled was concluded when Dr. AbdelFattah gifted the school's representatives commemorative plaques as a token of appreciation to the partnership and looking forward to a long-lasting partnership. On the other hand, the delegation expressed their deep gratitude for the visit as well as their respect to the Palestinian people and their cause. One of the delegation representatives concluded the day saying, "We believe that what we gain from this partnership, and particularly this one day visit is, frankly, priceless."
Sur scène, le petit garçon se tient debout, les mains croisées, dans le dos. Jamais il ne se tournera vers le public, sauf à la fin, pour le saluer, radieux. Les autres membres de la troupe - sept adultes - ont la mine plutôt grave. Ce qui vient de se jouer n‘est pas qu‘une pièce de théâtre mais un acte de résistance pour montrer une autre Palestine.
Abdelfattah Abusrour, fondateur du centre culturel Al-Rowwad, situé dans le camp de réfugiés palestiniens Aïda, proche de Bethléem, est arrivé sur le sol français avec sa troupe, mardi 14 juin. La tournée a commencé le 16 au soir, à Juvisy-sur-Orge (Essonne). Jusqu‘au 12 juillet, les comédiens enchaînent une quinzaine de dates en France et au Luxembourg, avec deux haltes parisiennes : le 29 juin, dans la salle Jean-Dame (2e arrondissement), le 12 juillet, au Studio de l‘Ermitage (20earrondissement). Les prochaines étapes sont, le 19 juin, à Cruas (Ardèche), le 20 à Nîmes (Gard), le 22 à Lodève (Hérault), etc.
Depuis le camp Aïda jusqu‘à la Jordanie, où ils ont pris l‘avion, les comédiens ont fait un long périple, raconte M. Abusrour. Ils ont fait un détour par "la Vallée de feu et sa route qui serpente", afin de contourner Jérusalem, qui leur fut interdite d‘accès.
Ils ont patienté des heures aux check-points. Passera ou pas ? "Les Israéliens nous ont mis dans l‘incertitude. L‘incertitude qui tue", raconte le metteur en scène, à l‘issue de la représentation du 16, à Juvisy. Quelque 110 places ont été vendues. Beaucoup de militants sont là, dont Jean-Claude Ponsin, de l‘association parisienne Les amis d‘Al-Rowwad, qui vend, dans sa boutique de la rue Custine, près de la Goutte-d‘Or, de l‘artisanat palestinien, des livres et des films sur la situation politique, etc.
Ecrite et mise en scène par Abdelfattah Abusrour, la pièce Handala est inspirée du travail du dessinateur et caricaturiste palestinien Naji Al-Ali, assassiné à Londres en 1987 à l‘âge de 51 ans. L‘artiste avait créé un petit bonhomme qui symbolisait la résistance à l‘occupant israélien. Cheveux hérissés, il tourne le dos : il ne montrera son visage que le jour où le peuple palestinien aura un Etat.
"Avec ou sans argent..."
Sur scène, le personnage est incarné par le fils aîné du metteur en scène, Canaan Abusrour. Les autres acteurs ne sont pas des professionnels : certains sont étudiants, d‘autres ont un emploi salarié. La seule femme de la troupe, Hala Yamani, enseigne la dramaturgie à la faculté de Bethléem.
La vie du centre culturel Al-Rowwad - qui signifie "les pionniers" - relève presque du miracle. Abdelfattah Abusrour, 47 ans, né dans le camp Aïda, l‘a fondé en 1998. Il a vécu en France de 1985 à 1994, durant ses études de biologie. C‘est là, dit-il, qu‘il a découvert le théâtre. De retour dans le camp, le déclic s‘est produit : les arts de la scène sont devenus, à ses yeux, le symbole d‘une "belle résistance".
En 2005, il arrête de donner des cours de biologie à l‘université de Bethléem pour se consacrer au centre culturel. "Je touche un salaire, ou pas. Mais, avec, ou sans argent, on travaille", sourit-il. A l‘écouter, Al-Rowwad est devenu une ruche que rien ne semble pouvoir arrêter. Avec la deuxième Intifada, en 2000, le centre culturel a pu se transformer en "clinique d‘urgence ou en école", mais les activités artistiques ont toujours repris le dessus. M. Abusrour les énumère : en plus du théâtre, l‘équipe a développé des ateliers de photo et de vidéo, un festival de cinéma en plein air, avec projections "sur le mur de séparation érigé par Israël". Les "pionniers" sont aussi à l‘origine du "premier programme de sport pour les femmes", et d‘une"ludothèque mobile" à l‘attention des enfants.
Le camp Aïda, précise-t-il, compte 5 000 habitants, dont les deux tiers ont moins de 18 ans. Le chômage touche 77 % des adultes. "Les médias nous désignent comme des terroristes. Avec Al-Rowwad, nous voulons montrer que nous sommes des êtres humains."
Clarisse FabreArticle paru dans l‘édition du 19.06.11
La nouvelle tournée de théâtre Al Rowwad se déroulera du 14 juin 2011 au 15 juillet 2011. Elle verra la troupe des jeunes adultes du centre présenter leur nouvelle création "Handhala".
Voici un premier plan de route,ENCORE PROVISOIRE : Arrivée à Paris le 14 juin Juvisy : 16/06 Nevers : 17/06 Cruas : 19/06 Nîmes : 20/06 Lodève : 22/06 Montpellier : 24/06 (A confirmer) Laval : 26/06 Chateaubriant : 27/06 Angers : 28/06 Paris 2è : 29/06 Nogent sur Oise : 1/07 Villers St Paul : 2/07 Quetigny (Dijon) : 4/07 Strasbourg : 5/07 Luxembourg : 7/07 Paris 20è : 12/07 Départ de Paris le 15/07
When theatre become an act of resistance to breakstereotypes, and show this other image of Palestine… when we are clear aboutwhat we want and what we try to achieve, and when we work to create a change onthe ground and within the community that we can be proud of… that is where Ifind myself with Juliano…
It is this spirit of social entrepreneurship… thiscreativity and clarity, and renovation.. working with children and youth tobuild a generation of change makers, who believe in what they do, and who havea spirit of belonging to their country and their cause, and who believe thatthey are practicing this Beautiful Resistance against the ugliness ofoccupation and its violence, and against ignorance, hypocrisy and complicitywith injustice, and against those who believe that the only way to change anythingis to use weapons and kill others… this is where I find myself with Juliano…
Juliano is a freedom fighter… as a Palestinian who believesthat freedom is in the freedom theatre, in Jenin refugee camp where his mothercreated the first theatre…
In 2006, Juliano visited me in Alrowwad, in Aida refugeecamp… we discussed my vision and philosophy of Beautiful Resistance… wediscussed how important art and specifically theatre as means ofself-expression to build the peace within before talking about the peace withothers… we discussed the heritage of his mother, and the tragedy of heractors.. we discussed how we can change the world by working with children andbeing on stage…
We performed in the Freedom theatre in Jenin… and in July,we will have a theatre tour in Europe in the same period, and we will share aconference about Palestinian Cultural Resistance in Paris… Julian will not bepresent in body, but his spirit was never a prisoner of his body… he will bethere, somewhere, mocking at me maybe… and saying: “are you next?
As President of the Palestinian Theatre League
As founder of Alrowwad cultural and theatre training center
As an artist and as a human being
As a Palestinian
I retain my anger and rage
After the assassination of an artist of Courage
When the wind blows, and we turn our heads
And we hear this little noise
Of coward‘s steps on the side walk
To spit their hatred and lick it as they walk
These dwarfs of history think they can
Erase a culture in killing a man
We are creators of miracles
Listening to the cries of the miserable
We have fire in our chests
And when we open our hands
They flourish with anemones and nightingales
A thought will never die
As freedom is already in the hearts
And we hear the walks and footsteps
Of new artists who shake the ground
The stage is in full light
The clowns make you laugh
And the show continues
With a little tear on the cheek
En tant que Président de la Ligue du Théâtre Palestinien,
En tant que Fondateur et Directeur de Centre Culturel et de Formation théâtrale Alrowwad
En tant qu‘artiste, et en tant qu‘un homme
En tant que Palestinien
Je me retiens de souffler ma colère et mon rage
Après l‘assassinat d‘un artiste de courage
Lorsque le vent souffle, on tourne la tête
Et on entend un petit bruit
Des lâches que trottent le trottoir
Pour cracher leur haine et la boire
Que ces petits minuscules ne savent point
Qu‘on n‘efface pas la culture en tuant l‘homme
Nous sommes les créateurs de miracles
Les cris de la rue et des gens misérables
Nous tenons le feu dans nos mains
Et lorsque nous la libèrerons
Il fleurit en épiages de blé, et en rossignols
Et il devient des Handhalas qui fleurissent la terre
International day of action in support of global democracy and against colonization and authoritarian rule. Palestinians will have demonstrations this Saturday 5th at 2 pm IN Al-Quds: Bab El Amoud -Damascus Gate, Ramallah: Al-Manara Square, Bethlehem: Nativity Square. Sponsored by civil society organizations and individual activists.
Please only bring Egypt, Tunisia, and Palestine flags. No factional signs
Friday 10/12/2010 - Alrowwad Cultural and Theater Society had made a trip to the "Environmental Education Center - Talitha Kumi "-Bethlehem for 30 students from the children whom cooperate with the activities of Alrowwad society to know how to prevent the environment in Palestine and the animals in it.
Alrowwad Cultural and Theater Society in cooperation with Health Department in Bethlehem have done a lecture about breast cancer for the ladies in the camp and whom have activities in Alrowwad Cultural and Theater Society from fitness and sewing courses and other traditional works.
December 16th, 2010 at 4 p.m. - Alrowwad Cultural and Theater Society in partnership with Albab group carried out an artistic and cultural event started with a Palestinian folkloric dance show and a short theater performance by Alrowwad troop, followed by a cultural discussion of the play (Life and Death) by the author Jamal Banoura, in Alrowwad Society in Aida refugee camp-Bethlehem.
Thursday the 16th of December at 11am - Alrowwad Cultural and Theater Society hosted the launching of the Co-funded project “Places & Spaces” , which was organized by EducAid where they introduced to the public the Eco-Playbus; an eco-friendly, solar/cycling vehicle used to transport toys to the Palestinian children. The event took place at the Alrowwad in Aida Camp (Bethlehem Gov.) and then moved to the Open Theater (beside the wall) to join 250 children from four UNRWA schools and from the Aida Camp and play with them with the activities prepared by the Playbus teams.
Alrowwad Cultural and Theater Society in partnership with Albab group are honored to invite you to the cultural discussion of the play (Life and Death) by the author Jamal Banoura, in Alrowwad Society in Aida refugee camp-Bethlehem on December 16th, 2010 at 4 p.m. The discussion will be followed by a Palestinian folkloric dance show and a short theater performance by Alrowwad troop
Alrowwad Cultural and Theater Society in cooperation with the UNRWA have done a medical day for dental care, for the mothers and children in Kherbet Al Nabi Zakareya Village, a Palestinian Land imprisoned in the middle of Gosh Etzion Israeli colony which is located on the road between Bethlehem- Hebron, where a team of dentists from UNRWA, Dr. Ihab Ayasa, in addition to two volunteer dentists; Dr. Mustafa Abu Ahour and Dr. Sahar Subeih, have given a lecture about taking care of the teeth and cleaning them, after that Alrowwad in cooperation with UNRWA have distributed tooth pastes and tooth brushes to the participants from children and mothers. This activity comes within a series of activities undertaken by Alrowwad in a sense of social entrepreneurship and a response to the needs of the marginalized Palestinian areas besieged or imprisoned by illegal Israeli colonies and illegal wall of separation in that region and other similar regions. These activities include cultural and artistic entertainment activities tailored according to a Palestinian national agenda and in response to the needs on the ground, as a way to build bridges within the Palestinian community in opposition to policies of segregation forced by Israeli occupation and international political hypocrisy.
Alrowwad in partnership with Ministry of Culture-Bethlehem is hosting on Saturday 27/11/2010 at 4 p.m. Haj Mousa Sleiman Takatka, to talk about Palestinian Resistance in 1948 and his involvement in Beni Noeem Battle.
Alrowwad Cultural and Theater Society (ACTS) is honored to invite you to the celebration of the International Day of Child on Saturday November 20th, 2010 at 5 p.m. at Alrowwad Center Hope to have the pleasure to see you all among us
Gaza monologues, biggest event for reading monologues written by young people
and children from Gaza, simultaneously in about 40 countries initiated by Ashtar Theater and performed by Alrowwad theater company in Alrowwad center on Sunday
17/10/2010 at 7 pm.
A group of children of Alrowwad Cultural and Theatre Society “ACTS” (Change Makers-Future Makers) accompanied by The founder and general director, Dr. Abdelfattah Abusrour and some staff members have visited the children in the cancer and tumor treatment unit as well as general surgery section who were hospitalized in Beit Jala Hospital, and offer them gifts to paint the smile on their faces and wish them a rapid recovery.
This initiative by the children in Alrowwad program (Change Makers – Future Makers) to encourage children to participate in volunteerism and create initiatives that can make a change within their community. The children have each contributed financially, and ACTS matched the
amount they managed to raise, and the children bought the gifts and organized the visit to the hospitalized children. The visit tool place on Sunday September 5th, and gifts were donated to about 25 children from different localities in Palestine. The visiting delegation have wished all the hospitalized children and adults a very repaid recovery and return to their homes to celebrate Eid with their families.
In addition, ACTS delegation visited Basma Society who work to support children with cancer and discussed future collaboration between the two societies.
This initiative comes in line with Ramadan activities in ACTS who started the 5th Outdoor film festival between August 30th till September 5th with International and Palestinian films screenings, in addition to distribution of 6O school bags for needy pupils.
A beautiful initiative within our Beautiful Resistance , to build our peace within…. And a way to say “Smile for the others- Smile and make the good”.
La Société Alrowwad pour la Culture et le Théâtre (ACTS) au camp de réfugiés Aida offre des cadeaux aux enfants hospitalizés à l’Hôptal de Beit Jala à l’occasion d’Eid El-Fitr
A groupe des enfants membres d’Alrowwad accompagné de fondateur et directeur général d’ACTS, Dr. Abdelfattah Abusrour et un groupe de l’équipe d’Alrowwad ont rendu visite aux enfants hospitalisés dans les départements de traitement de cancer et tumeur, ainsi que les autres enfants hospitalisés dans les différentes sections de l’hôpital, et leur ont offert des cadeaux à l’occasion d’Eid Al-Fitr, pour peindre un sourire sur leurs visages et leur souhaiter un bon rétablissement rapide.
Cet initiative par les enfants dans le programme (Acteurs de Changement-Acteurs pour le futur) pour encourager les enfants à participer dans les action de bénévolat et la création des initiatives qui peut créer un changement dans leur communauté.
Les enfants ont participé financièrement et ACTS a mis l’équivalent de fond qu’ils ont réussi à lever. Les enfants ont acheté les cadeaux et ont organisé la visite à l’hôpital le dimanche 5 Septembre, et ont offerts 25 cadeaux à 25 enfants hospitalisés. La délégation d’Alrowwad a souhaité un bon rétablissement pour les enfants malades et un retour rapide pour célébrer le Eid dans leurs familles.
Par la suite, la délégation d’Alrowwad s’est rendu à la Société Basma pour le soutiens des enfants atteint de cancer, et ont discuter les possibilités des collaborations futures entre les deux sociétés. Cet initiative vient en parallèle avec les différentes activités de ramadan à Alrowwad, qui a commencé les 5ème festival de film à l’extérieurs avec des projections des films Palestiniens et internationaux entre le 30 Août et le 5 Septembre ainsi que la distribution des sacs pour les élèves des familles nécessiteuses aux écoles de camp Aida.
Cette belle initiative est en ligne avec notre Belle Résistance, pour construire la paix en nous, et un moyen pour dire « Sourit aux autre, sourit pour le bien »
Alrowwad Cultural and Theater Society \ Aida Camp, is embracing and hosting the technological summer camp in its computer lab, which takes place from the 15th of June 2010 until the 15th of July 2010, under the supervision of the National Committee for Summer Camps Palestine, implemented by Birziet University. This camp aims to build the capacity of children in the fields of informatics, profile and awareness and training on free open source software, how to design websites and programing electronic games … ext. There will be a ceremony honoring the participant children of the 11 groups from all the Governorates in the west bank competing on the first, second and third places.
As I travel in the West Bank and see the ravages of the Israeli occupation and the disintegration of much of Palestinian hope as well as a functional political process, a question keeps haunting me. In the US, people who know only about suicide bombers and militant resistance, who only see Hamas violence on CNN and hear Israeli anxiety about the inexplicable rage of "those people," often ask me, "Why don‘t the Palestinians have a Gandhi? A Martin Luther King? A Mandela? Some civilized leadership committed to nonviolence?" But on the ground, I see a totally different picture that is much more from the grassroots and deeply woven into people‘s consciousness. At the Al Rowwad Children‘s Theater in the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, the founder Abed Abusrour, talks determinedly of "beautiful resistance," of fighting hopelessness and violence with children’s theater and dance, women‘s sewing and embroidery groups, classes in aerobics and yoga, computer labs, a study hall and library. The center sits a few blocks from the grotesque separation wall with garbage piled high, skinny cats darting in and out. One entry to the camp is framed by an enormous key with the words in Arabic and English, "NOT FOR SALE." Of the 4000 inhabitants, all descendants from the 1948 expulsion from Palestine, over half are children. There are no playgrounds or green spaces, the UNRWA school is poorly funded with often 40-50 children in a class, a lack of books and supplies, many of the men are unemployed. There are bumpy winding open streets and narrow alleyways, newer housing in pink/orange carved stone with wrought iron gates and graceful balconies, and more austere apartments desperately in need of repair with multiple families and generations living in close quarters. Bullet holes and fractured solar panels attest to earlier Israeli incursions. Al Rowwad has built an open air theater adjacent to the wall. At the base of the platform someone has spray painted a welcome sign to the Pope who recently came to see the children‘s performance. The Israelis insisted the actual stage be located slightly distant from the wall, as if turning one‘s head could possibly hide its ugliness and implications. Abed refers to himself as "a social entrepreneur," working 7 days a week, his desk piled with reports, several computer screens, and cups of tea. When we visit, he is meeting with accountants and bankers trying to plot the upcoming annual budget at a time when funding is scarce and an Ashoka grant has just ended. His business plan feels part hope, part luck, and mostly sheer perseverance. When he speaks, his vision of beautiful resistance is passionate and solid, but the desperation in the camp, his fear of losing another generation of children, and the crisis in funding are clearly weighing on his mind. Abed‘s wife, Nahil, a science teacher with an East Jerusalem ID and a second family home in East Jerusalem, is upstairs working with a group of women to create a display of the camp‘s exquisite traditional embroidery: bags, jackets, small zippered cases with delicate stitchery in reds and blacks, deep blues, greens and yellows, patterns reflecting the Star of Bethlehem. There is a warm camaraderie amongst the women. They are clearly proud of their work. My daughter and I stay with the Abusrours in their newly built home about 1 1/2 miles from the camp, which is overcrowded with no room for growing families. Abed refers to the cluster of families in this new neighborhood as "the extraterrestrials, no one wants us." The house was started 8 years ago and is not quite done; a full apartment on each floor, a modern kitchen with attractive cherry cabinets Nahil picked out of a US catalogue and then had built locally. There is heavy, dark upholstered Palestinian furniture and embroidered pillows. The house echoes with the sounds of five boisterous children, 1 1/2 to 9 years old, drawing, laughing, watching TV (Their favorite movie is "Shall We Dance?") fighting, jumping on beds, and taking care of each other. The bathroom has a cup with 5 little toothbrushes and animal stickers on the mirror. The 1 1/2 year old toddles around pointing and chirping, wearing her coat most of the time, which seems to be her security blanket. We are presented with a collection of drawings: butterflies, neat houses with rows of flowers and a bright yellow sun, a boat in the sea surrounded by fish. I note that the children have never actually seen much of these scenes. This is the globalization of TV imagery, the Disneyfication of the childhood imagination, but as the parent’s remark, better than the drawings a few years ago, of guns and tanks. Nahil maintains an incredible serenity in this organized chaos, chopping various greens, preparing traditionally spiced chicken and rice with toasted almonds and the ubiquitous olive oil, setting herbs to dry, throwing in yet another load of laundry. She sits for a moment to strategize how we could help to find catalogues to order experimental kits to start a science club at school, "bugs and things, no explosions." Earlier in the day she tried a Flamenco class led by a Japanese volunteer, but she admits she really preferred the yoga class my daughter taught later. "More relaxing, less difficult." I am unprepared for how healthy and normal this family feels. They have an additional layer of stress beyond their refugee status. Due to Israeli family reunification laws, Abed was unable to obtain a permit to legally live with his wife and growing family in East Jerusalem for six years. His wife and children do not want to lose their precious Jerusalem IDs because it gives them access to better health care, schools, work, and extended family. Abed describes years of harrowing attempts to sneak into the city, beatings, and an occasional arrest. Now the family splits its time between East Jerusalem and Bethlehem but Abed has to travel separately through the Bethlehem Terminal while his wife can take the children through in her car with the yellow Israeli plates. At this point the children still think this is normal. I can never fully walk in the shoes of the Palestinians who share their stories with me, but it seems obvious that Abed and Nahil, and the invisible people living in the Aida camp must make a powerful commitment to nonviolent resistance every day of their lives under incredibly challenging and harsh conditions. CNN, when will this make headlines?
I am really happy to be here on many levels. This is my first time in Spain, and being here among all of you, seeing my Palestinians colleagues here coming from Gaza who after being deprived from circulating freely, and seeing Omar who has been allowed to leave the country for the first time after 33 years of interdiction by Israelis. So, thank you dear friends of Anna Lindh for working hard to make this happen and bringing them here. My name is Abdelfattah Abdelkarim Hasan Ibrahim Mohammad Ahmad Mustafa Ibrahim Srour Abusrour. And I am telling these names to say that I am the only one who was born in a refugee camp, and still after 61 years of illegal and unjust occupation living in a refugee camp. I hear a lot of beautiful things and beautiful expressions said here, but do we believe in them really and are they the basis upon which we build our relations and partnerships. Talking about the values that make of us human beings like freedom, justice, democracy, human rights, equality, fraternity, peace, love… these are values that we share as human beings, whether we are Muslims or Christians or Jews or Buddhists or Hindus or Atheist or whatever we are. We are all human beings and equal partners in making a change in this world, but a change that we can be proud of, a change where these values are the same for everybody and not that some people are more equal than others. These values are the same and are not elastic to change based upon new realities on the ground that are forced by this or that where we find those who pretend defending these values are the same ones who are violating them. We are fed up with empty speeches and talks that are devoid of truth and humanity and passion, but full of politics, complicity, hypocrisy and diplomacy. We are change makers and nobody has the right to say I can’t do anything, or it‘s hopeless or complicated. We do not have the luxury of despair but the steadfast hope that we can make a change that every single one of us can be proud of in front of our children and the generations to come, where these values and rights are respected equally. Who am I? Who are you? What is our role in this world? You know, my worst nightmare is if one day, my children or your children, or whoever children come and look us in the eyes and ask: What did you do to make a change and I have nothing to answer, or present excuses that it is too complicated or hopeless. We want to leave them a heritage that they can be proud of and we can be proud of. And here where the vocabulary and terminology are important and the values remain the same and don’t change depending on who dictates what. Here we talk about human rights and values that make of us human beings… Yet, I come here and on one side it is easier for me to reach Spain than to reach Gaza or Jerusalem. I come here, to this place, and enter in an exhibition presented here and entitled “Neighbours”, where it is put the Holy Sepulture in Jerusalem- Israel, while this Holy place is in the occupied old city, in occupied East Jerusalem, in Occupied Palestine and not in Israel. And here again we talk about peace, love, co-existence? This is not right, this is not just, this is illegal, and this is not a heritage that me or anyone of you want to leave to his children or the generations to come. We are all equal human beings and equal partners in creating a change in this world that we can be proud of, and not a heritage of hypocrisy and complicity with injustice and new realities on the ground. We are not obliged to accept these new realities too simply because they are there, even if they are illegal or unjust. And this is why we continue to do our Beautiful Resistance against the ugliness of occupation and its violence, because we reclaim our humanity and we defend it, and we do not want our children to be just numbers on lists of martyrs or handicapped for the rest of their lives or perish in Israeli prisons. We want them to grow up and build for the future and create partnerships that bring happier days for themselves and the generations to come based upon the values that make of us equal human beings. It is difficult also to hear people and the international community talk about Palestine and transform the political cause into a humanitarian case. We are not a humanitarian case, and we do not need charity or pity which is, sometimes, more humiliating than the occupation itself. We need a support and solidarity that help us keep our dignity and our humanity where we create jobs and create infrastructures and help our people to be able to produce and not to be transformed into beggars and assisted people completely dependent on humanitarian aid. So, if you want help Palestinians, help in a respectful and dignified way. We are human beings, we reclaim and we defend this humanity in us. And we are equal partners in making a change based on the values that we share as human beings. We want a world where we see our children grow up, fall in love, and make children, to create a world full of joy, openness, fraternity and partnerships. We want a world where we build and find the peace within us to start with, before talking about the peace with the others. In Palestine, we are more afraid when people talk about peace than when they talk about war. We want a world where we grow up, and our children bury us when we die and not to bury our children. Again I want to say that I am really happy to see my colleagues from Gaza, and see Omar here among us, and deepest thanks for this wonderful work Anna Lindh.
Second part of speech after the tour of speeches Annal Lindh is an amazing treasure of data bases that can help create partnerships in the Euro-Mediterranean region. Since last year, a new blood have been circulating in the network after a deep sleeping, that made us lose faith to a certain extent, but this new energy rebuild trust. It is clear that what this network can bring is possibilities to meet and build bridges of exchange. These need to be supported in a way that we are not only networking for not-working, but networking to really work together. Building programs with 4 partners from 4 countries is a really extremely difficult issues, and the complexity of grant proposal writing and reporting are not helping in building bridges but cutting them of. We need things to be facilitated somehow. I believe that organization who work in such a spirit of social entrepreneurship who are eager to make a change on the ground and do not have the luxury of time to run behind funding but need to invest in creativity are deprived from such support because of the complexity of this process. But regardless of this, such a network is a great treasure for those who know how to hunt treasures
I would like also to recommend the translation of the play of Edmond Rostand, Cyrano De Bergerac. It resumes a spirit that I adopt and I guess to a certain extent, animate many civil society organization who do work with this entrepreneurship spirit, specially this passage:
Et que faudrait-il faire ? Chercher un protecteur puissant, prendre un patron, Et comme un lierre obscur qui circonvient un tronc Et s‘en fait un tuteur en lui léchant l‘écorce, Grimper par ruse au lieu de s‘élever par force ? Non, merci. Dédier, comme tous ils le font, Des vers aux financiers ? se changer en bouffon Dans l‘espoir vil de voir, aux lèvres d‘un ministre, Naître un sourire, enfin, qui ne soit pas sinistre ? Non, merci. Déjeuner, chaque jour, d‘un crapaud ? Avoir un ventre usé par la marche ? une peau Qui plus vite, à l‘endroit des genoux, devient sale ? Exécuter des tours de souplesse dorsale ?... Non, merci. …… …………… non, merci ! non, merci ! Mais... chanter, Rêver, rire, passer, être seul, être libre, Avoir l‘oeil qui regarde bien, la voix qui vibre, Mettre, quand il vous plaît, son feutre de travers, Pour un oui, pour un non, se battre, -ou faire un vers ! …… Lors même qu‘on n‘est pas le chêne ou le tilleul, Ne pas monter bien haut, peut-être, mais tout seul !
Mais avec vous, cela sera meiux
Written by Dr.Abdelfattah Abusrour, Founder and director Alrowwad Cultural and Theatre Training center Aida refugee camp-Bethlehem-Palestine
Alrowwad Cultural and Theater Society- Aida Camp Bethlehem The Committee for a Just Peace in the Middle East and the Lycees des Arts et Metiers- Luxembourg Albustan Neighborhood Committee- Silwan
Invites you for the openings of the photo exhibition:
Young Photographers without Borders LUXEMBOURG-PALESTINE The Way to School
Bethlehem Peace Center: Opening, Thursday 29 April, 5pm Starting day 29 April - Ending 5 May 2010
Silwan Community Tent: Opening, Saturday May 8th, 5pm
What happened from the moment when you wake up until you reach the school? Three groups of young people- from Aida refugee camp, from Silwan in East Jerusalem, and from Luxembourg had worked on this common question for months on the two sides of the Mediterranean. The exhibition is the fruit of this shared experience.
On Thursday 17th April 2010, ALROWWAD society with cooperation with Bella Vita for Teeth organized a teeth examination in the society building in the presence of 40 person from Aida refugee camp and surrounding areas.
The examination includes remarks from the dentist how to take care of teeth, and each beneficiary had been given a card for later visits, with a reduction of 25% for the patients coming through Alrowwad Society for future treatments.
Camp Aida - Société culturelle et Théâtrale d’Alrowwad
Le jeudi 17 avril 2010, la société Alrowwad, en coopération avec Bella Vita pour les soins dentaires a organisé un examen des dents a la société d’Alrowwad, et 40 personnes du camp de réfugiés d‘Aida et les régions avoisinantes ont été examiné..
Pendant l‘examen, les dentistes ont donnés des conseils au niveau de l’hygiène et les soins des dents. Chaque bénéficiaire a reçu une carte de soin, avec une réduction de 25% pour les patients venant de la part de la société Alrowwad sur les soins futures.
Monday 12th April 2010, ALROWWAD society organized recreational activities on the occasion of the Palestinian Child Day, for children in the society building in the presence of 550 children from Aida refugee camp and surrounding areas. A variety of artistic and entertainment activities had won the admiration of children and their families. In the end of the ceremony, we gave the participated children symbolic gifts. Another step on our Beautiful Resistance to paint the smile on the faces of our children.
Camp Aida - Société culturelle Alrowwad et Théâtre
Le lundi 12 avril 2010, la société Alrowwad a organisé des activités récréatives pour les enfants à l’occasion de la journée de l’enfance Palestinienne en présence de 550 enfants du camp de réfugiés d‘Aida et les régions avoisinantes.
Une variété d‘activités de divertissement artistique qui avait gagné l‘admiration des enfants et de leurs familles. À la fin de la cérémonie, l’équipe de la Société Alrowwad a distribué des petits cadeaux aux enfants qui ont participé aux activités. Un autre pas avec la Belle Résistance pour peindre la sourire sur les visages de nos enfants.
"We have been always in front of the cameras, and others narrated our history and told our stories. It is time for us to be behind the cameras, to tell our stories and narrate our history from our own point of view, and show the images we want to show of our beloved Palestine, our people and our beautiful heritage"
Founder, Abdelfattah Abusrour
Alrowwad started a first photography and video training program in a Palestinian refugee camp in Palestine in 2000. One of the main goals of this program is to prepare skilled trainers in photography and video who can train children and youth, in other refugee camps, villages, schools and any others interested people in in such beautiful means of self-expressions and narrating stories.
We hope that we will be able to follow up with creating a visual arts training and training of trainers academy.
This program host local and international volunteers in the different visual arts fields.
This program will be followed with other training programs, in documentary, fiction, animation movies, in addition to technical training in visual arts when interested partners and donors are joining us.