Here we go! Gaza under Covid

Hossam Madhoun’s message from Gaza December 2020

With Jamal Al Rozzi, Hossam is co-director of Theatre for Everybody in Gaza

Let’s look back at how Gaza was before Covid. As if life didn’t suck enough (forgive my language!), but let’s think it over!

Here we go:

2 million human beings trapped in a very tiny piece of land, called Gaza, treated as a hostile entity by all surrounding it; by the Israelis who find it very fortunate that Gaza is ruled by Hamas so they can bomb it whenever they want without being questioned; by the Egyptians who blame it for all their troubles in Sinai; by a sea polluted with shit and sewage!

With half of its population without jobs or any source of income, with a very poor health system, with water scarcity, with power outages most of the time, with hundreds of children begging in the streets, with suicides or attempts at suicide by hundreds of youth, and even children, every year, with a patriarchal society that believes that women are created to be servants for men in the kitchen and in bed, with a radical group controlling Gaza that believes that God chose them to have the sole truth and the ultimate righteousness to torture anyone who questions their rule, with a world that turns its back on our misery. 

Covid 19 arrives. Welcome! Who cares? Another crisis hits Gaza. So what? We’re used to it! Really? How can you get used to crisis? Not because we went through devastating wars on us in 2008, in 2012, in 2014, not to mention some small wars from time to time, just for the Israelis to make sure that we don’t run out of fun.  

Well.

We’re used to having curfews in Gaza, imposed by the Israeli army during first Intifada in 1987 – 1994, during all the wars: 2008 – 2012 – 2014. But today Covid 19 needs its share, so since 24th August we are in night-time curfew, and two weeks ago we (I mean the local authorities) added a curfew on Fridays and Saturdays, hoping to decrease the numbers of infections, yet the numbers do not decease. 

And while infected people are increasing, jobs are decreasing, with cafés, restaurants, cafeterias and many other small workshops shut down, so thousands of people have lost their income. 

But the local authorities are clever, they decrease the number of infected people by decreasing the numbers of daily tests! Isn’t it clever??!! But, they cannot decrease the number of daily deaths. 

But you know, not everything is dark, the Friday to Saturday curfew increases socialisation with my neighbours. We meet in the basement of our building every night, we chat, drink coffee, some smoke Shisha (water pipe). It is fun but it does not last long as sadly one of our old neighbours who suffers from Alzheimer’s started to join us and kept telling his lonely story 50 times in 50 minutes. 

Life is beautiful

With love from Gaza  


THE EMIGRANT in GAZA – Appeal for Support

Support our new production project in Gaza.  Please send it on to your contacts.  

THE EMIGRANTS

an adaptation of Stanislaw Mrozek’s play by Theatre for Everybody specially for young (18-30 year olds) audiences.

We are launching the development of a creative project in Gaza: Theatre For Everybody’s adaptation of THE EMIGRANTS by Stanislaw Mrozek.  The Arabic translation is by Hossam Madhoun and the adaptation for Gaza of this modern classic will be directed by Naeem Nasr.

I am writing to you because you are a long-term supporter of Az Theatre’s collaboration with Theatre for Everybody in Gaza and/or you have pledged your support for the Gaza Cultural Centre Coalition’s work to build a new cultural centre for Gaza. Both these projects were on hold during the onset of the Covid-19/SARS 2 pandemic.  Only a few days ago the first community transmitted cases of Covid-19 have been discovered in Gaza.  Although this is extremely worrying we are determined to proceed with our work.  We are seeking your support.

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Please click here to read the joint appeal by civil society organisations about the situation in Gaza

About THE EMIGRANTS

This play by the acclaimed Polish emigré writer is about the illusions and smashed dreams of two emigrants to the ‘rich’ world.  Its style is absurdist and slapstick, tragic and comic by turn. For Gaza’s young audiences Theatre for Everybody’s adaptation will be an urgent piece of work. THE EMIGRANTS will address the centrifugal forces at work in Gaza. 35,000 Palestinians left the Gaza Strip between 2014 and 2018 and didn’t return.  Young people have been known to set off in boats never to be seen again.  If you are in a prison you must think of escaping but the Gaza prison is of a very particular sort and what awaits the emigrants may not live up to their dreams.

We are planning to extend the reach of this work to publics in the UK and in other international venues through events at which young people in Gaza can engage in conversation with groups around the world.  If you are interested in running such an event please contact us at the email address below.

We need your support

We can creatively engage with 1000 young people in Gaza, the direct beneficiaries and it will cost £18,000. Some of this money can be raised through arts funds but we rely on individual donations

We are setting up a project development fund with the aim of raising £6000 through individual donations.  So we are making this appeal to you:  

If you like this idea and want to see it happen, show your support by giving us a donation.  It doesn’t matter how much or how little.  We would rather see 10 contributions of £10 than 1 of £100.  It is people’s support that counts. If you contributed £18 you would be ensuring the participation of a young person in Gaza. If you can give more, great!

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Read more about the context, the play, the concept, the company, the writer and the creative team. 

Our project

Az Theatre and Theatre for Everybody have worked together on creative projects in Gaza since 2009 and were partners in the War Stories project from 2002.  After numerous projects focusing on young people in Gaza we produced Gaza: War & Peace, the first Arabic stage adaptation of Tolstoy’s novel, playing to hundreds and hundreds of young people in Gaza in the Al Mishal Cultural Centre that was destroyed by Israeli bombardment in August 2018. We gained the participation of many hundreds of people throughout the world in a dynamic outreach programme that employed online video public events, climaxing in HERE THERE EVERYWHERE at the P21 Gallery in London on November 2017.

THE EMIGRANTS will be an advocacy project for the rebuilding of the Cultural Centre in Gaza. The Al Mishal Cultural Centre was destroyed by an Israeli air strike in August 2018. Alongside all our statements and publicity on this project we will promote the idea and vision of a new cultural centre for Gaza. The initial contributions for the rebuilding of the Cultural Centre are still in the bank except for money spent on research amongst the arts community in Gaza.  We also have a few people who make monthly contributions for which we are so grateful!  Read more about the Gaza Cultural Centre Coalition

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