Messages from Gaza: a father and daughter speak about their experiences

Message from Hossam Madhoun, co-director of Theatre for Everybody, the company in Gaza that Az Theatre has collaborated with since 2009:

Third day of the war 

2.22 am 

Trying to sleep

Don’t know how, bombing all the time, the sound of the bombings mixed, sounds of bombing far away, sounds almost farther away, sounds, not far but not nearby, sound nearby but no impact on the building, sounds very nearby and the building is shaking, the windows want to move out, but something, I don’t know what, is holding them in place. Maybe next bombing it won’t hold in place and blow broken, all at once.  So far not yet.

After three days with the same horrifying atmosphere, no sleeping, my eyes are falling closed. Yet my head is shaking me to keep a wake, never knowing what would happen, never knowing if the next bombing will hit us, or force us to evacuate like thousands whom already evacuated their homes. 

We prepare a ‘run away’ bag, but the scenario of evacuating is already a nightmare. With my disabled 83 year old mother in a wheel chair, my terrified dog, and of course with my strong wife.

But we did not prepare yet where to evacuate? Where to go? Choices are zero. Any movement toward any other family members in any other city is already a suicide attempt. Nearby friends already hosting many of their family members. May be staying inside the car would be an option. We really don’t know 

Yes, I started with trying to sleep, ok again, trying to sleep at 2.22 am, I think I succeeded to sleep. At 4:37 am my wife, Abeer, was calling my name, I heard my name as it comes from far distance, again Abeer is calling my name. What? I said, still keeping my eyes closed.  

There is knocking at the door. I open my eyes, I see nothing, complete darkness. No electricity, no stand-by generator, not the slightest light from the street. Dark. 

I said: there is no knocking. She said: listen. I listened. There is a soft knocking at the door. I took my mobile, opened the light option and moved toward the front door. The soft knocking continues 

Who is it? 

Saleh’s mother (our neighbour from the fifth flour) 

(Without opening the door) : Whats up, Om Saleh?

It is Salma your daughter in Lebanon, she has been trying to reach you for hours, and when she could not, she called my niece who is living in Jordan who called me asking to reach you. She is so panicked because you do not reply. 

Thanks, Om Saleh

Trying to call Salma, it is impossible, no internet, no mobiles since 11 pm last night when the Israeli air force bombed the telecommunication company

Salma, our only daughter who is away from us for the first time in her life, in Lebanon since a month ago, for her Master’s degree. I got very frustrated. I must find a way to contact her, to cool her. I know she will collapse if she doesn’t hear from us. She has already thought of leaving her Master’s to come back to be with us. 

Bombing continues while this is happening, the dog sticks to me in fear, my mother wakes up asking to go to the rest room. And I am trying to think what to do? 

Trying to call Salma by mobile, all calls fail. 

I went down to the basement of the building where at least 6 families from the higher storeys of the building took refuge. 

I asked if there is any other alternative way of internet or communication, they said, no we all lost this privilege. 

The building guard said: if you go out of the building you might get signal for the mobile, 

Going out?? in this dark?  In the street? With bombing every single second and no one knowing where it will happen and what are the targets? 

It took me zero time though, I moved out away from the building to the direction the guard asked me to go, trying to call, failed, moving further and trying again, failed, moving and trying again, after at least 17 times, the mobile rang at the other side, Salma, yes, finally. She said nothing, she fall in deep crying, I understood, I could imagine what she went through during these hours without reaching us. I let her cry, I wanted very much to cry, I could not, I should not. 

What’s up Salma, we are ok, we are alive, you know communication was interrupted. 

I really don’t know what I said until she calmed down. She went to her University, and I went back to think things through with Abeer, if we had to evacuate, where to go????. 

It is 9:45 am I am finishing writing this post.


Message from Salma, Hossam’s daughter.  She is in Beirut having arrived a month ago.  She is studying for a Master’s in International Law. Because for a while she was cut off from her parents – as you can read in Hossam’s account – she sent these messages through social media:

My family hasn’t had internet since yesterday, so we decided to send me a text message every two hours to reassure me that they’re fine; until I get the message, I’ll be vomiting up my organs out of terror.  May Allah protect them and keep them safe.

Then later:

I feel guilty that I’m safe!

Then later:

I am thinking that the pigeons flying by my window are missiles that are about to murder me.

Then she wrote: 

There is no media coverage, more than 7 journalists have been killed, there is no electricity, internet, helplines, or water, and all aid is forbidden from entering the Gaza Strip. Today, Gaza is more than just an open-air prison; it is also a locked area of genocide.
Today is the fifth day for the brutal aggression on Gaza and there’s more than 1000 martyrs and around 5000 injuries. More than a 1000 buildings were destroyed and damaged meaning that 10x are now homeless. And more than 664,000 civilians have been displaced to schools. The schools that more than 664,000 people displaced to are also not safe in which a lot of them was bombed on the heads of its residents.
This aggression is not excluding anyone, not even children where I wonder how they are threatening such an aggressive occupation presence. Innocent people, civilians, women, and children are being killed in the worst ways possible, they’re seeing their families, and their beloved ones dying in front of them.
Healthcare workers see their family members’ dead bodies among the victims that they are attempting to help. Numerous hospitals among the Gaza Strip fully stopped working due to bombing the hospitals itself, and even the ambulances have been targeted, this hostile occupation does not want the injured to be treated, their explicit purpose is to vanish the city and the civilians living in it. The Civil Defense and the Red Cross are unable to reach the massacres and are unable to help this amount of people who are exposed to this aggression, people be crying and asking for help under the rubble without any assistance.
Where is the international community that is seeking to implement the International Humanitarian Law?
Why are the boot lickers still scared, covering their eyes and keeping their mouths shut?
What should be moving countries and general well other than a wholesale slaughter??

I left Gaza a month ago to study Masters in Lebanon. This decision was difficult to make because anything may happen to anyone at any time in Gaza, but my parents backed me and I travelled to pursue a better education at an outstanding college.
And now I’m 300 kilometres away from my parents, but it feels like millions since returning to gaza is nearly impossible. The distance heightens my sense of powerlessness, as I yearn to be with my family.
My heart is heavy during these terrible times since I am away from Gaza for the first time while there is an attack on it, all my thoughts are with my family in Gaza, I can’t do anything other than following up with the news and pray for my family and my beloved ones.
The reality of being far away while facing the brutality of hostility is extremely difficult to bear. The distance amplifies my worry and helplessness, as I long to be there with them, ensuring their safety and well-being. The concern for their safety weighs on me every moment.





Gaza Drama Long Term Thursday 15th December 2022 7pm at P21 Gallery London

P21 is pleased to host a celebration of GAZA DRAMA LONG TERM, the 12-year collaboration between Theatre for Everybody (Gaza, Palestine) and Az Theatre (London), focusing on the most recent production,THE EMIGRANTS, based on Stanislaw Mrozek’s play specially adapted for young audiences (18-25 year olds) in Gaza. 
Live from Gaza: talk to the creative team (Hossam Madhoun and Jamal Al Rozzi) and listen to the reactions of the young audiences via video link.

Take a quick whistle-stop tour led by Jonathan Chadwick (Az Theatre) of our project started in 2009:  GAZA GUERNICA (2009), GAZA: BREATHING SPACE (2010-11), THE GAZA BREATHING SPACE FILM (2012), OPENING SIGNS (2012-13), WAR & PEACE (2014-17), UNFORESEEN (2016), HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE (2017), GAZA CULTURAL CENTRE COALITION (2018-19), THE EMIGRANTS (2020-22), VIVA PALESTINE! (2021), GAZA: SUPPORT THE CHILDREN (2021).

Expressing gratitude to the thousands of participants, the artists, the experts, the contributors.

Affirming the principles of friendship and creativity and of working directly with Palestinians in Palestine to inspire, to share, to learn, to relate, to link up people here and there in living solidarity and love.

More information about GAZA DRAMA LONG TERM

Promotional video for THE EMIGRANTS


This SYMPOSIUM event will be ‘live’ at P21 Gallery, 21-27 Chalton Street London NW1 1JD at 7pm – 9pm on Thursday 15th December 2022

We are planning to stream some of this event to increase its accessibility. Please await further notice or contact 

The event is organised by P21 Gallery

in partnership with Az Theatre

The Emigrants in Gaza: review in Al Adhaf news

“The Emigrants”, a play based on a 1974 text by Polish writer Slavomir Mrozek, was directed by the great Palestinian artist Naeem Nasr, who worked on the stage direction, and prepared the text very acutely and solidly. He presented us with a hearty meal, full of the pain and the fear of the experience of migration and alienation; and the curse of longing in alienation, but for whom? For wife, son, mother, father, and perhaps even the neighbour whose high-point in life was simply to wish us good morning for free every day! 

We, the audience, who sat for an hour or so in the Red Crescent Theatre in Gaza City, have seen and shared the bitterness of being ‘emigrants’ in a strange land that is not our own country, and we may now, after seeing this presentation, be seeking answers to questions about our own fate; and we may or may not come to recognise what the regimes of oppression have done to us in our Arab countries.

Neither the political system nor the ruler of a country is necessarily the source of this oppression but it is the nature of things in our Arab geography, and perhaps elsewhere in the world. Moreover there is the oppression of ordinary people by intellectuals, the oppression of the weak by the strong, of the poor by the rich; there are so many diverse forms of it and the result is the same everywhere : the oppression of the human being.

‘The Emigrants’ was produced by Theatre for Everybody with the support of Az Theatre in the UK, and of the friend of the group and a long-time supporter of Palestine, artist and playwright, Jonathan Chadwick. It was directed by Naem Naser, and performed by the artists, Hossam Al-Madhoun, and Jamal Al Rozzi.

The artist Rami Al-Salmi was responsible for lighting and the technical aspects of the production, the choreography/ movement was by Wahid Abu Shahma, and the set design by Ismail Dahlan. 

In the play we see two characters, who differ from each other in terms of their culture and their work, but who meet in their state of loss. They live in one room like a cellar, a place that is not clearly defined except for the sewer pipes that represent the ceiling of this room, some wooden chairs and simple kitchenware and a wooden table in the middle of the stage. All the indications of poverty and the austerity of life are evident throughout the show, which was not, however, without laughs and some dances of a light rhythm.

The two men begin to talk about New Year’s Eve in this Western European country and imagine those who live upstairs who on this night, are dancing, drinking wine, comfortable and happy. They begin to search their inner feelings, with glasses of wine and contemplating the ruins in which they live.

The writer lived through the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, and he based his play on the reality of his country. “Many writers have translated this play into films and adapted its events to their own country, but we decided not to adapt to the situation specifically in our country because this situation exists in the whole world today,” director Naeem Nasr told the Al-Hadaf News Bureau, which attended the show.

Nasr continues: “The play summarises what alienation does to the migrant. We have first a character, an intellectual who emigrated from his country when he was forced to flee because he was wanted by the regime, but the second character is a simple, poor illiterate man, who went abroad to work so he could build his dream home when he returns to his country.”

On the conflict in the text, Nasr pointed out that “In this great difference between the two sides, or difference in the composition of the two characters (‘intellectual’ / ‘simple’), we see the intellectual blame the poor man for his own failure, in order to justify himself.

Hossam al-Madhoun, who acted the man from the poorer class, performed exceptionally well during the show. As he tries to understand the incantations and claims of his companion in exile who considers himself one of the sons of the upper-class, the aim and target of the play of the play emerges. “The text stems from circumstances in which the freedom of expression was extremely limited. It was written by a man who lived through a dictatorial regime, and through the experience of migration when he left his country to go to Mexico and then settled in France. In most of his writings, he expresses the oppression of ordinary people by the authorities: all kinds of authorities – political, financial, intellectual and so on… and yet migration is not the best solution. We must look for other solutions through revolutions and challenges, to create a different economic reality, to change the status quo, and not to look for simple solutions like escaping into migration when we meet our first challenge.” he said.

“Migration is a deadly thing; you are in exile, a strange human being who has no chance and is treated as a second or third-class citizen.” he said. “Unfortunately, today for example, about 30,000 young people from Gaza have migrated to Belgium and are now in the streets and shelters, and the majority of them still do not know what their fate is, but it is clear and certain that they will lose years of their lives just waiting and doing nothing.”

Presenting this play was a cry and a call for young people to think twice before migrating, because “we are able to create a new reality in Gaza, which contains us and embraces us, but alienation and migration will not bring us magic solutions,” he said, “We’re hoping that the show will not be left without continuing support and that institutions will feel socially responsible and back us to carry out a tour of performances of this important play.”

A torrent of tears at the end of the theatrical show; the poor migrant forgets everything and, perhaps, remembering only his children and the details of his simple home in his homeland, he begins to cry and cry as his companion speaks about freedom, justice and decent living.  The curtain was lowered and other chapters of suffering were not seen.

Quotes from audiences 

Dr. Haidar Eid (prof of philosophy at Al-Azhar University) 

I received an invitation from the creative artist Hossam Almadhoun to attend the beautiful play “The Emigrants” by the Polish writer Slavomir Mrozek that deals with the issue of migration and the text has been adapted to suit the Arab/Palestinian context. The acting by Hossam Al-Madhoun and Jamal Al Rozzi was very impressive. As well as saluting them, I commend the stage direction by Naeem Nasr. 

Jonathan Daich (writer) 

This is live theatre direct from Gaza. Even if you don’t understand Arabic, you can see the power and the professionalism of Palestinian theatre. Bravo! And thanks to Hossam Al-Madhoun and Theatre for Everybody.

Ali Abu Yaseen: actor

Very powerful performance, different show, I enjoyed every minute of it. 

Ehab Abu Hseen (programme director)

I was really surprised. I did not know we have this quality of art in Gaza. It was a very joyful 45 minutes, the play addressed a very critical subject, migration and freedom. 

Sami Abu Sultan

Astonishing work, Jamal and Hossam! As usual, you are brilliant.

Viva Palestine! WHAT’S CHANGED?  WHAT’S NEEDED? Palestinians from the performing arts speak out to an international audience!

Artists from Gaza, Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Jenin, Ramallah, Nazareth, Haifa, Jerusalem and elsewhere reflect on new developments

Online Gathering: Friday 18th June 4pm(UK)/6pm(Palestine)Y

You are invited!

Speakers we have asked to contribute:

Ahmed Masoud (Chair), writer, London, originally from Gaza

Marina Barham, Director of Al Harah in Beit Jala 

Hossam Madhoun, Theatre for Everybody, Gaza

Ahmed Al-Aydi, Theatre Day, Gaza

Iman Aoun, Director of Ashtar in Gaza and Ramallah 

Faten Khoury, performing artist from Nazareth 

Ahmed Tobasi, Director of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin 

Bashar Murkus, Khashabi, Haifa

Suheil Khoury, Shafaq, Jerusalem Arts Network (to be confirmed) 

Ismail Khalidi, Visiting Artist in Chile

Munther Bannourah, young artist at Al Harah

Yazan Zubaidy, young cultural arts manager at Al Harah

Jamal Al Rozzi, Theatre for Everybody, Gaza 

Abdelfattah Abusrour, Al Rowwad, Bethlehem 

This free event is hosted by Az Theatre in consultation with the Palestinian Performing Arts Network

Get your ticket from Eventbrite:

If you don’t want to use Eventbrite contact us direct on

Messages of love and support to the people of Gaza 12 May -13 May 2021

Messages to the people of Gaza to be distributed by Hossam Madhoun and Jamal Al Rozzi as widely as possible. 

Sent by people between 12 noon Wednesday 12th May and 12 noon Thursday 13th May 2021 in response to an appeal from Az Theatre.

Jonathan Chadwick, Az Theatre:

The people of Gaza and Palestinians everywhere are in our hearts and minds.  We know that the worse thing is the feeling that you are isolated and the people of the world are ignoring what you are going through.  We want you to know that we hold you dear and believe in your human right to peace, freedom and justice.  We are sending our love, solidarity and support.

Yannis Thavoris, scenographer/theatre designer, London:

Dear people of Gaza and Palestine, We are watching what is going on with sadness and anger and we are thinking of you. We are sending you our thoughts of love and support, as well as the hope that the world will finally help end the injustice you have been suffering. Freedom, Prosperity and Peace!

Belinda, London:

Thinking and praying for you all at this time.

Jan Woolf, writer, Cricklewood, North London:

I feel so desperately sorry for what is happening.   There was a wonderful motorcade coming down the Edgware Road in North London a few days ago. Buses, cars, Palestinian flags flying. I was waving back from the side of the road , so were lots of others.  Many, many of are thinking of you and your struggle for equality.   How much are you expected to take? Love.

Sue Caro, UK:

Dear People of Gaza, Please know, despite the disgusting silence of the UK’s corrupt government, many people in the UK are horrified, angry and deeply distressed by the latest Israeli bloodthirsty acts of cruelty and aggression. I support an independent, free Palestine, the right to self determination and the right of return. I oppose Israel’s actions and I speak as a direct descendent of Rabbi Yusef Caro who in the 16th Century drew up the rules by which Orthodox Jews still live today. Sending strength and solidarity.

Martin Brown, London:

Dear friends and comrades. You are in our hearts and minds in this terrible time of uncertainty and danger. We will be campaigning here in the U.K. for international pressure to stop the bombing and we will stand with you until Palestine is free. 

Noel Burch, Paris, France:

This is my message of heartfelt support to all Palestinians… I live in a country, France,  where the mainstream  media and the authorities are so vulnerable to pressure from the Zionist lobby that we are only tepidly informed of the horrors you people are suffering at the hands of Zionist imperialism… We too feel so helpless…. True enough, I feel slightly useful as I collaborate with an anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian website, Alain Gresh’s OrientXXI, so my support is a little more active than that of most of us… But what more can I say?  Grit your teeth and keep your heads down….YOU’LL WEATHER THIS AS YOU HAVE WEATHERED YOUR TRAGIC HISTORY! Love.

Jonathan Arndell, Wales:

We are about to begin a digital collaboration with (Nesma Naseem) with funding from Wales Arts International. I am currently reading ‘Open Gaza’ edited by the late Michael Sorkin.

In our small way, through the ‘Wales Palestine – creative exchange’ project, we hope to provide some solidarity and support to Palestinian artists through a mutual exchange with Wales-based artists.

Anthony Meyer, London:

Dear Hossam and Jamal, We are all thinking of you. I have long been a friend of Jonathan Chadwick and have always enjoyed hearing about and witnessing the wonderful work you have done in Gaza. Through those plays acted out by the children, role playing and sliding over the stage floor and your dramatic staging of Tolstoy’s War and Peace I feel I know you. Would that there were words adequate to describe the worst news that now comes from Gaza but we hear that you are safe which means a lot. Thank you. My thoughts and prayers go with you and your families. With love.

Yosefa Loshitzky, London:

Dear Jamal Al Rozzi and Hossam Madhoun,I would like to express my solidarity with you and all the other people in Gaza who are now subject to such a barbaric attack on top of the suffering and the injustice that has been inflicted on them (you) over the years by the State of Israel.  I was born in Israel but moved to London a few years ago in an act of defiance against the ongoing oppression of the Palestinians by Israel.  I am lucky and privileged to have the opportunity to choose, an option that does not exist for the people in Gaza and Palestine who are under an oppressive and racist colonial rule.  Despite my acknowledged privilege I feel the pain of you and your people and I want you to know that.  My family (sister, nieces and nephews) lives in Israel and some of them in the south of the country and for obvious human reasons I worry about them, their safety and well being.  Yet, my heart and mind are with you, the people of Palestine, and not with the Israelis who perpetrate an ongoing Nakba on you. With best wishes for you and the people of Gaza and Palestine.  Keep safe and well.

Anna Carteret, London:

This is just to say that I am thinking of you all – and hope you find safety

for you and your families… You are not alone…

Zohar Chamberlain Regev:

As an Israeli citizen I am deeply concerned about the violence my government is using to oppress and destroy your lives. I know that most Israelis don’t even think about the Palestinians, especially those living in the Gaza Strip as fellow human beings. The bombs when they fall on you are terrible, but the slow death with no future under continued blockade and decades long repressive occupation is much worse. I wish you strength and look forward to the day when your place as the people of this land will be fully restored.

Laila Alj, London:

Dear Jamal and Hossam, My heart and thoughts are with you, Gaza and all of Palestine at this time. Sending my love, solidarity and support from London. I had the pleasure of meeting you and working with artists in Gaza years ago now through Jonathan. I hope the people of Gaza can find some comfort in knowing that there is outrage, love and support out there. All my love.

Ruth Lass, London:

Dear ones, I stand in love and solidarity with you through this time of horror and suffering 

Please know you are not forgotten – we hold you deep in our hearts. As a jewish person I weep and rage against the terrible injustice, cruelty and violence that is waged upon you in my name. 

Justice, Peace, Freedom and Love for all Palestinians.

Lynne Segal, London:

Solidarity with Palestinian resistance, at this terrible time, & all times!!

Miriam Margolyes, London:

Dear friends, These are terrible times.  I’m in London seeing on TV the horrors you’re experiencing and feeling sickened by the brutality. I am a Jew, born in Oxford so ashamed of the Israelis. We are not all so wicked. I send you all my love – one day you will have your land again.  We work for that.  My heartfelt wishes for your safety.

Teresa Bailey:

Dear people of Gaza and Palestinians in ’48, the West Bank and in exile, are in our hearts and minds especially at this brutal and terrifying time. The world is watching and seeing what is happening to you. You may feel isolated but the people of the world are aware of what you are going through.  We honour your human rights to peace, freedom and justice.  We send you our love, solidarity and support.

Sarah Pirozek, London:

I am sending a message of support and love to the people of Gaza during tis incredibly frightening difficult time. xoxo

Michaela Crimmin, London:

Dear Jamal and Hossam, We are HORRIFIED to see the news and it is absolutely unbearable to imagine what you, your families, your friends, and everyone is going through.  Perhaps you remember back in April 2014 you were part of a conference we did at the Royal College of Art, with your involvement made possible by Jonathan. We had an amazing response to your participation. Things sounded so bad then and so much worse now. I wish our hopeless prime minister Boris Johnson would speak out but at least people are protesting here and the news is coming through loud and clear. Sending you love and solidarity and of course urgently hoping for better news from Gaza, and for all Palestinians.

Diana Mills:

In Solidarity: Dear friends in Gaza, I just want you all to know that I am keeping you in my heart and prayers at this terrible time. Please know that you are not forgotten. My name is Diana and I live in London and am ashamed of the history that my country has inflicted on you. With love and blessings and hope for a new and beautiful future.

Summer Brenner, California:

We pray that liberty and justice will soon come to you, the Palestinian people. We send our love, solidarity, and support doing this terrible time.

Anne Vinden, Spain: 

I’m very grateful to Jonathan for allowing me to do what I’ve so longed to do: somehow reach out to you all.  Be one of the many many voices doing that.

George Killingsworth, Berkeley, California:

in this time of siege…holding our brothers and sisters in GAZA/PALESTINE close to the heart…. your pain is our pain…together with you, we hunger and thirst for peace and justice and FREEDOM. much much love.

Victoria Brittain, London:

Dear friends and families in Gaza, We here in London are watching with horror the replay of earlier Israeli atrocities poured on Gaza. I saw the tragic aftermath of Cast Lead on an unforgettable visit of deep emotion and solidarity to Gaza city. And the bravery and humanity of Gaza’s people which I have seen in many visits over 30 years is one of the inspirations of my life. You are in so many hearts here in London and around the world. I am a journalist, playwright and author and I will be spreading your story wherever possible. Solidarity for ever, Warmly.

Steven Rose, London:

Once again the Israeli war machine is wreaking havoc and terror on the defenceless citizens of Gaza, whilst the rest of the world looks on, refusing or powerless to intervene. Our thoughts, of love and solidarity, are with you all, and we salute your spirit and resilience.

Elizabeth Hodgkin:

Dear friends, I think of Gaza, which I know and love and visited often for human rights work; now retired I live in a village near Shakespeare’s birthplace; I send you solidarity and love from me, family, and friends.

Ra’ad and Lydia Mahmoud:

Sending you all our love from Durham, UK! You are stronger than we can imagine and you are the inspirations to us all. Our solidarity to you and we will continue fighting for your freedom and the freedom of all Palestinians! All our love.

Rama Mani and Alexander Schieffer, France:

Dear Friends and Colleagues, It is deeply saddening that the final days of Ramadan have been marred by escalating violence in Jerusalem and Gaza, and by continued bloodshed in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and far too many Muslim countries. May we regain trust that it is possible to envision ‘mission impossible’… and to achieve integral transformation, despite all odds. 

Harriet Walter, London:

Dear friends, I am thinking of you in this fearful time and hoping that the international community can bring about a ceasefire very soon. Stay safe and strong.

Tina and Robert Golden, Bridport, UK:

Robert and I speak of the situation in Gaza and Palestine, we listen to the news, we watch and read what we can and we receive reports from our young friends in Gaza with their own photographs of what the people are going through.  You are in our hearts and we hope you and your families and friends manage to stay safe and that soon this madness will end. 

Radmila Mileusnic, UK:

I witnessed the war and destruction of my country, former Yugoslavia. The cruelty imposed on people of Gaza and Palestine reminds me painfully of the insufferable injustice the whole world is showing by doing nothing to stop torturing the citizens of Gaza. I feel terribly ashamed to be unable to help! Your friend.  

Professor Michael York and family, London:

To the People of Gaza and Occupied Palestine, We are wishing to our utmost for your safety and desperately hope that a positive resolution and permanent outcome will very soon emerge from the unnecessary and dangerous conflict  that is presently underway. 

Bonny Nahmias, California:

Dear Jamal Al Rozzi, Hossam Madhoum, their family and friend, My name is Bonny and I live in California. I feel very upset about what you are going through. It breaks my heart to think of all the damage and death caused by evil forces. I want you to know that many Israelis, like myself, do not support these war crimes, propaganda, and hate.  We also do not support the occupation and wish for justice and  liberation for the Palestinian people. I will be praying for the safety of you and your family. Peace and love.

Ama Bolton:

People of Gaza, you are not forgotten. I hold you in my heart and wish you well.

Shan Barclay, Norwich, England:

Palestine and Palestinians have my total support at this time of need and crisis. Netenyahu and his band of thugs must not be allowed to get away with this criminal assault nupon a totally innocent people. In solidarity

Michael Shanahan:

Very best wishes to all who suffer in Gaza and to all who experienced the many years of blockade. Sincerely.

Sarah Jacob:

Oh people of Gaza and Palestinians everywhere, you are in my heart and mind. I want you to know that I cherish you and believe in your human right to peace, freedom and justice. You are not alone and I am not ignoring your call. I send you my love, solidarity and support.

Kate Sherringer:

Our hearts go out to you in Palestine. We cannot imagine how horrible the situation is there at the moment. Hold on, be strong, it may seem that you are alone but many people in the world are praying for you in many different ways.  Our love and respect,  Kate and Shaun from West Wales. Members of Amnesty and West Wales Friends of Palestine.

Taghred Esanhouri, a Sudanese filmmaker living in London:

Dear Friends in Gaza and all of Palestine, I think of your plight with tears in my eyes. It’s a cliché but, it’s also true that, the darkest moment is the one just before the dawn. Stand fast. Your courage will be the stuff of legends hundreds of years from now. I pray that Allah increases you and your oppressors in wisdom/ Rushd. I pray that your oppressors’ hearts are cleansed with the power of Allah’s loving light so that they are able to accept you as their brothers and extend to you the dignity and compassion they expect for themselves.

Maysoon Pachachi, London:

We are with you dear friends  in Gaza, Jerusalem and elsewhere in Palestine. We stand in solidarity with your aspirations for life, freedom, justice and peace, which are your inalienable rights. Your fortitude, generosity of heart and grace under fire are an example to us all. With love. 

Lilla Duignan, Bristol, UK:

Dear friends, we hold you in our hearts and minds at such a tremendously challenging, frightening and unpredictable time. Please know you are not alone, we do care and we are with you in spirit. With love and empowerment.

Mona Damluji & Jia Ching Chen, Santa Barbara, California:

Dear Jamal and Hossam, You, your family, neighbors, all of Gaza and all of Palestine are in our hearts on our minds as we witness the atrocities of this horrific siege on your homes and lives. Please know that our eyes are open and our hearts are breaking but remain open to you. We are watching around the clock, sharing news with all our community and demanding accountability from our representatives in the US. Praying for your safety and the well-being of all your loved ones and community. Gaza lives in our hearts today and everyday. In solidarity and love.

Ivana Perić, Zagreb, Croatia:

Dear families and friends and people of Gaza, the words are hard to find in this moment and seem not up to the job of expressing pain, anger, solidarity. It seems so little to say I am sorry, but I am truly sorry to see the pain multiplied in Palestine again. I’d like to say you are not alone, and your struggle is visible and known to the world, your struggle won’t be kept in shadows. I hope you manage to sleep with no fear of bombs, I hope you finally get to live not worrying what tomorrow brings. I will keep you in my thoughts and acts, and keep Gaza and Palestine in my heart. 

Maia Tabet, Beirut, Lebanon:

Gaza love!

Jo Bownas, London:

To the amazing AZ Theatre and all people of Gaza. We are looking in on in horror in these days of terror and destruction. And we are also demanding people of influence in the international community bring pressure to bear to end this crisis. May peace and justice prevail. May you be safe. In solidarity.

Caryl Churchill, London:

Jamal and Hossam, it’s terrible to hear what is happening. I’ve been sent more details than I’d heard on the news here by Medical Aid for Palestinians, and I’ve written to my MP urging her to put pressure on the government here to speak out in condemnation of Israel. I don’t expect it will make much difference, but anyway I am sending love and thinking of you and others there. Many people here have you in their minds and hearts. 

Jonathan Bloom, England:

Dear Gaza, I am sending love and remembrance of a time long ago when i sat on a street in Gaza eating falafals and hoping that life would get better for you all. I am still thinking those thoughts.  My name is Jonathan Bloom and i live by the sea on the south coast of England.

Alan Bernstein, London:

We are watching you with horror and disgust at what is being done to you, with admiration for your courage and strength, and with hope that somehow justice will prevail for you, as it has done in other places and times.

Tanya and Stephen Lowe, Nottingham, England:

Dearest Jamal, Hossam and Safi… Our hearts are with you and your families and all your friends in Gaza in such horrendous times. Every day we are chanting for your safety and your well being….Each day we reach for the incense that sits in the two little pink clay pots you gave Stephen and I on departure from Sibu… so fragile, so beautiful. The scent rises from the incense sticks into the air. Your little vases sit side by side. Stephen and I sit side by side, holding you tight in our prayers…All our love xxxxxxxx

Camilla Power, London:

I am sending solidarity greetings from London to the people of Gaza. The whole world is witness to the terrible crimes of Israel against civilians including the women and children of Gaza. This Eid al-Fitr, we hope and pray for peace and justice to prevail. Love.

Aisha Dennis:

With all our love and solidarity, we send our prayers for your safety, security and justice 

from Britain to Palestine from London to Gaza and Jerusalem.

Jane Orton:

Thinking of you all in this terrible time. Much love.

Reema Pachachi, Oxford, UK:

Dear Palestinian friends, I am Reema Pachachi. I live in Oxford, in the UK. I wake in the morning and hear the news of what is happening to you. It makes me rage, and it makes me cry. I am so sorry you are going through this. Please believe there are many people in the world thinking of you. 

Take care, stay safe. With much love and support.

Sabrina Mahfouz, London, UK:

Our love and thoughts are of little use right now, but we send them and grow them anyway, in the hope that Gaza’s future can be a liberated one and you can flourish in peace and prosperity. Eid Mubarak. We stand with you, we shout with you.

Pauline Melville, London:

Dear Hossam and Jamal (and your friends and families), Many of us here in London are horrified to hear and see what is happening to you all in Gaza.  I want to send you heartfelt support and good wishes for your safety and survival.  I wish there was more we could do than to send you good wishes.  We all send love and want you to be able to live your lives in peace and freedom.  I know that words offer little shelter against bombs but for the moment that is the least I can do. Keep safe and courageous. Very best wishes.

Beau Beausoleil, San Francisco, California USA:

In Solidarity. 

Hannah Beardon, Granada, Spain:

I wish I could do something for Gaza. I will write to my government and I want you all to know that you are in my thoughts and heart.

Teresa Cosgrove, London:

Hello, My name is Teresa, I am an elderly English woman and I live in London. I am angry and sad to see on TV what is happening in Gaza, seeing the Israeli bombing of your homes and people being killed. I hope you can stay safe and that the violence will stop soon. With love and care.

Luka Ostojic, Zagreb, Croatia:

Dear colleagues and friends, I am Luka, a journalist from Zagreb. My friend Ivana Perić forwarded me your call to send our messages of support. I was lucky enough to meet some great people from Palestina who told me a lot about your culture, people, towns and landscapes. Now I am shocked by news I hear from Gaza and I feel helpless and angry about it. I am thinking about my friends, about you and everybody in Gaza. I hope that one day we all could meet and enjoy a peaceful evening in your hometown and I hope that this message could give you at least some kind of comfort. With hugs and best wishes from Croatia,

Maggie Young:

I am sending a message of love and support. I cannot imagine how terrible it must be to be in this unjust horrendous war when you dare not sleep.I hope this nightmare will end soon so you can have peace.

Annie Firbank, London:

This just to tell you how much you are in all our thoughts and prayers, and how solidly we are behind you. The reports are horrendous – you must be needing tremendous guts to get thru it. Please, keep safe, and know that you aren’t  alone – our support for you all is infinite and from the heart. with such love

British Shalom-Salaam Trust, London:

I am writing to you from the peace and safety of London on behalf of the Jewish charity the British Shalom-Salaam Trust.  We are appalled at the violence and cruelty being inflicted on the people of Gaza by the Israeli government and misery.  We think of you all the time and pray that one day the oppression will end and peace and justice will prevail. With our love and concern – especially for your children. Naomi Wayne, Secretary.

Kezia Richardson:

To my sisters and brothers in Palestine, Please know that we are holding you in our hearts. The violent oppression you are subject to is horrific, and we stand with you and for you in demanding an immediate stop to the actions of the Israeli invaders. I am praying for peace for you. With love.

Barbara Iqbal, Manchester, UK:

I’m Barbara Iqbal and I live in Levenshulme, Manchester in the UK. All we can do here is to spread the truth about what Israel is doing now and hope that people will listen and join us in protesting and taking action. Perhaps people who didn’t know will start by sending you love and hope for  the future – as I do right now. x

Janet Marks, New Zealand:

To the people of Palestine and especially to those living in Gaza, I want to send you a message of support and love at this time. I live in New Zealand and am horrified by the reports that are coming out of Gaza and Jerusalem. I want you to know that more and more people are seeing through the Israeli propaganda and calling out their attacks on human rights in Palestine and Israel.

Sherry Gendelman, USA:

Dear People of Gaza, I am an American Jewish woman, though I am not religious. I am sickened by the news of what Israel and its army are doing to all of the people of Gaza. I believe the attacks were started by Israel because the criminal Netenyahu will do anything to win back being the head of state so he does not go to prison for corruption. There is nothing I can say that will alleviate your suffering. I do write to and call my representative to stop aid to Israel. Perhaps there is some comfort in knowing that many more people in the US, and around the world, have come to realize Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. For the moment that is all I can offer. I carry the image of your suffering in my mind. I am on the Board of Directors of the Middle East Children’s Alliance and will double my efforts with them. Stay strong please for all of us. 

Gael Alcock, USA:

I am a cellist, living in Berkeley California, USA,  adding my message of deep sadness and outrage over the Israeli bombings and indiscriminate destruction of Palestinian lives and property.  We are getting true reports, and history from our local radio. Some members of congress are speaking up about the truth, despite major media and our president lying about Israel’s exercising its right to self defense. Netanyahu is clearly, openly waging war on civilians. Those who abet villainy bear equal guilt.  As with securing treatment and  vaccines for the pandemic, failure to secure rights for one, threatens the rights of all.

Dr Swee Ang, (Founder of Medical Aid for Palestinians), London:

Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Gaza, By the grace of God on this special day of Eid, may my message of love and support reach you. We learn with tears, anger and agony about all that you have suffered for so many years and now the terrible cruel air strikes again and intensified blockade. In the past I would have immediately come to you, but being banned and imprisoned by the Occupation on previous occasions I know I will only be another number in Givon Prison if I did so. But occupation and exile, and closure of boundaries would only strengthen my love and support for all of you. Nothing can stop us from loving you. We know of your steadfastness, and may we too be steadfast like you. May God continue to give you strength and courage to stand up for justice, to confront cruel oppression, and the abandonment by those in power colluding with the forces of darkness. We are always with you in your journey. I lift you all up to God all day in my prayers. With my friends we will do everything we can to support you. May there always be faith and hope in all of us that you will overcome. Long live Palestine, Long live Gaza, Long live Al-Quds.

Professor Yuzo Itagaki, Japan:

Message to Palestinian People in Gaza, Jerusalem, and the West Bank: I am a Japanese historian as well as a political scientist focusing on the Palestine Question as Professor Emeritus, the University of Tokyo. People of Japan have been seriously worried about the inhumanly cruel plight you are facing. Now, it must be the critical point for humankind to launch decisive measures to terminate the devastatingly unjust situation of deterioration over a century, the too heavy burden for Palestinians.  International community should be keen to reexamine urgently the accumulation of exceptional impunity of genocidal war crimes. Historical remorse of the Japanese concerning the dark past of Japanese colonialism must lead to their resolute stance for supporting the recovery of Palestinians’ dignity, freedom, and peaceful well-being.  As a concerned specialist, I swear to strengthen my activities to defend your legitimate rights to your own security for the sake of humanity.  Your determined ‘sabr’ (perseverance) encourages us worldwide.

Heather Hunt, Sheffield, England:

Dear people living in Gaza, I am really distressed by your suffering under the present bombardment and send you love and support at this time. I want you to know many of us in Sheffield England are protesting about the Israeli bombardment and protesting to our own Government to stop selling arms to Israel. In love and solidarity.

Vivienne Ennemoser, Glasgow, Scotland:

Here in Glasgow, Scotland, we are deeply concerned to hear of the trauma and distress that the Palestinian people are living through yet again. This message is to send love and support and concern for you. Many, many people around the world are thinking of you at this time.

Andrea Hassiba, Artist and Educator, San Francisco, California USA:

The people of Gaza and Palestinians everywhere are in our hearts and minds.  We know that the worse thing is the feeling that you are isolated and the people of the world are ignoring what you are going through.  We want you to know that we hold you dear and believe in your human right to peace, freedom and justice.  We are sending our love, solidarity and support.

Nadine Khoury, USA:

Dear brothers and sisters, My heart bleeds when I see the images of innocent people in Palestine getting shelled, shot, beaten, tear-gassed and evicted. My name is Nadine and I am from Beyrouth, Lebanon but living in San Francisco California and standing in solidarity with the brave people of Palestine. Long live Palestine and the struggle for liberation.

Lorna Wallace, UK:

My name is Lorna and I live in Chesterfield, Derbyshire UK. I am sending all my love, best wishes and hope for better times and freedom for all of Palestine and its people.

Astrid Carlen Helmer & Alexandre Donot, Filmmakers, France:

Dear Jamal and Hossam, Thanks to Jonathan and Maysoon we’re able to send our deepest thoughts to you, your friends, your family and to all the Palestinian people. We all feel desperately useless regarding the horror that you’re going through. Keep in mind that across the world people are joining you in your pain and sorrow. We hope that all this is going to end soon and that you’ll be able to pursue your activity, to maintain your hopes and dreams through theater and your community. Lots of love.

Théâtre de la Grille Verte, Saint Etienne, France:

This message is dedicated to all the people from Theatre for Everybody in Gaza,

We, actors, technicians and volunteers from the Théâtre de la Grille Verte in Saint-Etienne, France, want to share our deepest love and thoughts to your family and friends and to all the people of Gaza. Running a theatre is the most beautiful and difficult thing that can be done. Building this kind of dream in Gaza in not only difficult, it’s miraculous. We strongly hope that the horror and violence happening right now is going to end soon. We believe that your art will be able to heal the wounds of everyone around you. We admire you and send you all our love.

Mary Elliott, Keighley, Yorkshire, UK:

I would like to add my name to the message sent by Jonathan Chadwick. We are thinking of you and wish that peace will come soon. With love.

Joan Curtis, London:

I would like to reiterate the sentiments in this message with all my heart.

Caroline Forbes, Edinburgh, Scotland:

Dear people of Gaza, I’m in Edinburgh Scotland.  Thinking of you in these difficult days.

Wishing you Eid Mubarak. Sending love solidarity and support. This injustice cannot continue. I cannot really imagine of course. I have been in Palestine and picked olives and met some wonderful people over there. I wish you peace and safety and may you be free from suffering.

Stephen Vincent Kobasa, New Haven, USA:

May you find safety. May you find hope. You are not forgotten. 

John Salway UK:

I want to express my personal solidarity with the Palestinian people once again; especially in Gaza, but throughout the land from the river to the sea. I am disgusted by the failure of the BBC here in the UK to tell the truth about the State of Israel’s continuing oppression of the Palestinian people. The fake story of the “two sides” engaging in yet another outbreak of war is once again rolled out to cover up the truth. I saw a video clip from a smart phone, I believe. This showed a Palestinian woman confronting an Israeli Jewish man in her garden. I think this must be somewhere in East Jerusalem. She obviously knew him. She said “Jacob, you are stealing my house.” He said “I am not responsible for stealing it. The State is doing it.” “No, you are stealing it.” “If I don’t steal it, somebody else will.” I think this speaks for itself.

Eckhard Thiemann, London:

This is just a short message to say how shocked, saddened and appalled I am at the unfolding brutal situation and attacks in Gaza, Jerusalem and Palestine. I hope you and your loved ones are unharmed. Your art and commitment to culture is inspirational, and we must keep finding ways for it to continue to shine. With deep sympathy and solidarity.

Jennifer Paterson, Edinburgh, Scotland:

Hello from Edinburgh in Scotland! I am thinking of you all and wishing you peace. I am listening to learn what I can do to help your situation and I speak about your plight to others. I hope it helps a bit to know that others care about you. With much love.

Thomas Pope, London:

Please accept my good wishes and hopes! – that you and your families and friends may not forget the ability of human beings to think clearly when bombs are dropping nearby! In order to survive and to survive well and to keep faith in life’s beauty, however much it may be hidden by forces of ugliness and brutality. Hopes that you will find ways to keep your theatre alive too, in whatever new form, to help children and us all to gain new experiences through art in what it means to be true to ourselves and therefore to others and therefore be fully human, and so help us all to a better future. Olé! Please take courage and take care!

Sarah Barratt:

Our thoughts are with all of you in Gaza at this terrible time. It must feel as if the world has turned its back but there are many of us who support you and who want to support peace and justice, who are aware of your bravery and stoicism under such vicious attacks. We send our love.

John Morgan, UK:

Dear Friends, I live in Sheffield England I am following the unnecessary escalation of force from Israel. I am outraged and saddened that every ( about 2 years) Israeli attack’s you and your people. I belong to the national organisation, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, we are making our voice heard and will shout out loud  against these War Crimes. Stay safe love to you and your fellow Palestinians.

Susan Wooldridge, UK:

To the Theatre for Everybody in Gaza: To you, your families and all the Palestinian people I send my warmest good wishes and hope for your struggle. We are thinking of you and are with you always. Love from Susi in London xxx 

Helen Watts and Angus MacPherson, Bristol, UK:

Sending our solidarity and love to you all. We are doing our best to raise awareness, share accurate reports about the current situation, the loss of life, fear and uncertainty experienced in Gaza. This a time for truth, not obfuscation and ill-informed media reporting. This is a time to acknowledge our common humanity and do something about it. Your pain is our pain.

Carolyn Leary, Sheffield, UK:

Hi! I am writing from Sheffield. We sing songs of solidarity for the people of Palestine. Tonight we are meeting up to be together and share our distress at what you are going through. xx

Sue Mayer, Peak District, UK:

My name is Sue and I live in the Peak District in the UK. The people of Gaza and Palestinians everywhere are in our hearts and minds.  We know that the worse thing is the feeling that you are isolated and the people of the world are ignoring what you are going through.  We want you to know that we hold you dear and believe in your human right to peace, freedom and justice.  We are sending our love, solidarity and support.

Elaine Hoctor, London:

My name is Elaine Hoctor and I live in London. You are in the hearts and minds of so many of us here. I am so upset and angry about the brutal bombardment of the people of Gaza and attacks  on Palestinians in Jerusalem and elsewhere. You have a human right to peace, justice and freedom and you have our love, support and solidarity.

Helen West, Sheffield, UK:

I felt shocked, angry, heartbroken when I heard the news this week of yet more Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people.  I urge our governments, especially the US and UK, to take urgent action to stop this and long-term action to ensure a safe and peaceful return to your homelands.  

I sing with a solidarity choir in the UK called Tadhamon.  We were very sad that we couldn’t visit you, to sing with you in 2020, due to Covid.  However we continue to sing with you via zoom and video. I sing with another choir, the Sheffield Socialist Choir, and we have dedicated our rehearsal tonight to all of you in Palestine who inspire us with your love and determination. Sumud.  Take care good friends. 

Janet Henfrey, London:

Dear Palestinian friends in Gaza,Jerusalem and everywhere. You are not alone.Here in London your struggle for justice and the right to live in peace and freedom is our struggle for and with you. My name is Janet,an actress,a friend and neighbour of Jonathan’s,of Hossam and Jamal and you all. You are constantly in our thoughts and heart, more than ever now in this nightmare time for you and I pray the world will wake up and at last take action to right your wrongs.May you keep the flame of Hope alive in your hearts as you live in mine.

Lily Susan Todd, London:

People of Gaza, I  am one of many many thousands across the world  who see your suffering, and  feel the weight of the injustices done to you.  I send you heartfelt support and sympathy; know that though we are far away from you, you are not alone, and many hearts are with you.

Sybil Ashton:

People of Gaza, we know what is happening and send our support and solidarity.  

Jan Marr, Sheffield, UK:

I want you to know that I see what is happening and I stand with you.  You are and will remain in my thoughts.  I wish you strength and justice for Palestine. With love.

Digby Swift,  Doncaster, UK:

I echo the message from Jonathan Chadwick.  We are thinking of you particularly in the current terrible situation, but also on an ongoing basis under the wicked, long-term Israeli ‘siege’.  I visited Gaza around the year 2000 in relation to official British support to education in Gaza, and have visited East Jerusalem and the West Bank many times, the last being during Ramadan in 2019.  I am appalled by the way Palestinians are and have been treated so badly for so long.  Whilst I’m pleased there is some British support through NGOs and official support through UNRWA, I am ashamed that so little being done politically by our Government to try to resolve the situation.  We can only hope that more people outside are now becoming more aware of what you are suffering, and that this will lead to pressure to uphold UN resolutions and rectify this gross injustice.

Celia Mather, Sheffield, UK:

Dear Friends in Gaza, Please know that our thoughts are with you during this terrible resurgence of violence against you by the Israeli authorities, and we are taking action as best we can to lobby our UK Government and global bodies to stop supporting Israel and respect your human rights. Please stay safe and strong.

Jayne Meadows:

Dear friends, I hold you in the light and pray for you to be liberated and free to live peacefully on your land.

Katharine Eastman, London:

We live in Kentish Town and work as artists. We cannot begin to imagine what you experience every day and pray that you find a way through this. Katharine and Eddie.

Peter Downey, Bath, UK:

Our prayers and hopes are with you. One day I will come, have been trying for years. Good luck.

Georgio Baldari:

Don’t, please, be overcome by fear. The occupation of Palestine isn’t for ever, and, the Zionist Power will end in a civil war, that is their destiny.

Tim Towers, UK:

There are many thousands of us here in the U.K. who stand with you in your resistance to the apartheid state. We support you in your struggle against colonial oppression and we will stand by you now as you endure the horrors inflicted on you by Israel’s violent assault on you and your rightful homeland.

Montgomeryshire Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Wales:

Sending greetings and solidarity to our friends in Gaza. We will be having a street vigil on Saturday. Our thoughts are with you. Justice, freedom & peace for Palestine. Kathy, Chair Montgomeryshire PSC

Deborah Davies, Manchester, UK:

To the beautiful people of Palestine

You don’t know me and I don’t know you but I’ve had you in my heart all my life. 

I’m from Manchester in England

My mother is from Dublin in Ireland

She told me about the bad things that happened during the troubles in Ireland so perhaps that is where my sense of justice and anti occupation originates 

I wear the Palestinian badge on every item of clothing I wear every day

I go to any protests I can

I talk to anyone who will listen

I constantly bombard my MP with calls for justice for you

My heart breaks every time I hear of a single one of you being injured or killed. 

I deplore the sadistic and gratuitous violence reigned down upon you for decades. 

The occupation and rape of your land, your water, your resources 

The relentless hatred towards you and your people

I cannot watch the UK or world  news coverage of your struggles because I know that it is always Zionist biased.

What can I do from simple home here in Manchester? 

Only tell you that I love you

I pray for peace and justice for you

I cry with you

And I take solace from your courage 

Your strength

Your undying dignity

And most of all, 

From the faces of your beautiful children. 

Free Palestine

Martin Kemp, UK:

Thanks for this initiative. I’m between work sessions, have no time to compose anything, feel very inarticulate with rage and impotence in the present moment, but would want our friends and colleagues in Palestine to know how much we’re thinking of them… 

Angela Martin, Sheffield, UK:

I think I’ve missed your time deadline, but have only just received the email. I’m sending the message anyway. I’m a member of Sheffield PSC, national PSC, Sheffield Labour Friends of Palestine, Northern Women for Palestine and a choir, Tadhamon, put together for solidarity with Palestine. I’m also a signatory to the Artists for Palestine Pledge.I will also be writing to the contacts I have in Palestine. And I certainly send this message to you at the theatre as well.

Garth and Gill Hewitt (Founders of the Amos Trust):

Dear Jamal and Hossam, your families and friends. We hold you in our hearts and prayers and with love and solidarity.  Gaza and Palestine are beautiful places – we have visited Gaza in the past – that have suffered enough   of occupation and all that means.

It is your human right to justice with peace. 

George Snow:

We are aware of the suffering caused by the pitiless bombing of Gaza by the inhuman Zionists. We stand beside and support you. Stay safe. Resist.

John Garrett, Coventry, UK:

What you are suffering is outrageous and unjust. I and other friends of mine do what we can to make the plight of Palestinains known as broadly as possible. You are never absent from my thoughts, and my consideration about what I can do to end the pain and loss to which you are being subjected as a result of my government’s inhuman decisions made in 1917 and carried through, basically, ever since. Please, stay strong. Justice will eventually come to pass.

Kathy McCubbing:

What is happening now in Palestine and what has been happening for the past 70+ years is disgraceful and Israel must be brought to account for the atrocities it commits.  While our and other governments are complicit in Israel’s abuses for greed and geopolitical reasons, more and more people around the world know the causes of the suffering of the Palestinian people, and we stand with you in solidarity and love, and we keep pressing at the doors of the powerful, and one day they will be broken down by the efforts of good people. Sincerely,

Olsi Jazexhi, Canada:

Put my name

Heather Stroud:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, This is just a short message to send my love and blessings to you. Gaza and now Jerusalem, are on the frontline of this massive assault against our human family. We are all connected and your suffering, while we distant from us, reaches your brothers and sisters all around the globe. It is our governments who sanction these attacks against you by their complicit silence. Our job is to challenge them while also letting you know that although we can’t be with you, you are in our thoughts. Our love reaches out to you over the miles and expanse of water. With love, your sister Heather.

Don Saunders North Wales:

I support the message being sent to our Palestinian friends and hope you can convey my support and heartfelt wishes for their safety.. Thank you.

Peter and Carole Crabb, Cardiff, Wales, UK:

Dear Hossam and Jamal and all your loved ones, friends and colleagues,The world is now watching as the occupying power of Israel indiscriminately bombs your homeland. The world can now see the reality of the lives that you and other Palestinians have endured for so many years.. We are with all of you in your struggle to live lives that are full and healthy. We will NEVER stop thinking of you. Justice for all Palestinians. We send our love, solidarity and support.

Alhad Sykes:

We are with you the people of Palestine, may God keep you safe, give you strength and courage to endure. Your patience and courage is truly remarkable and may it be a way for your entry into jannah ya raab. God bless.

Liz Maxwell, Sheffield, UK:

Love Solidarity and support to you all. I hope you manage to stay safe during this terrible ordeal. Best Wishes.

Christina MacDonald:

This war must be terrifying, you are in our thoughts and we wish you safety and an end to the war and to the siege. Samud, from Christina on what should be a happy Eid Al Fitr.

Nicolá Fray, Spain:

Dear Hossam & Jamal, My family would like to express our deep sorrow for the terrible suffering in Gaza. We send hugs & love & hope for you all..

Rela Mazali, Writer, Independent scholar, Activist, Herzlia, Israel:

Dear Jamal, dear Hossam, The siege, the bombings and the many other forms of attack and oppression that are perpetrated upon Gaza by the state I of which I’m a citizen, Israel, are criminal and outrageous. For decades now, I have been active with different groups in protesting them in multiple ways. I feel the deepest respect for Gazans who continue to withstand these horrific actions. Know that here we continue to decry these crimes. I’m profoundly thankful for your willingness to accept this message of stubborn hope and solidarity.

Stan Squires, Canada:

I am from Vancouver,Canada and i wanted to say that Yesterday i went to a rally here in Vancouver for  the People of Gaza and the West Bank.Here in Vancouver we are with You all the Way.There will be another Rally here in Vancouver on Saturday.I am sure there will be hundreds of People here at the Rally like it was at the last one. This support will continue until Israeli Occupation is defeated.The whole world is Behind Gaza and the West Bank.Israeli Apartheid has got to go, then there will be Peace. From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free.

Maureen Muse, USA:

My name is Maureen and I live in Brooklyn, New York. I am sending a message of love and solidarity to the people of Gaza and Palestinians. You are my brothers and sisters. We share this earth. You are in my heart. You are not forgotten. I believe in your right to peace, freedom and justice. I stand with you today and forever. 

Brigid Waddams:

To you all dear friends in Gaza.  We are thinking of you and praying that your suffering will be over and that peace and justice will come to Palestine one day soon. Inshallah!  With all very best wishes.

Tony Haynes, London:

Can you please add me and all my comrades in the Grand Union Orchestra to your messages of sympathy, support and abhorrence. Needless to say, I’m appalled and disgusted by the horror visited on these – and indeed all – poor people. Love.

Mercedes and Nicolás Weber, Spain :

Dear Jamal and Hossam, your families and friends. We missed the appointment of the collective letter to Gaza but we want to let you know that we are thinking very hard about you and we are obviously very concerned about what is happening there at the moment. Take good care of yourselves, Greetings from Barcelona, Spain. Mercedes and Nicolás


We have received video messages from Raghad Chaar, Nadia Nadif, Agatha Ezzedine, Danielle Allen, Riwa Saab, Mia O.  They will be sent on.

Aisha Dennis and Sarah Jacob wrote their messages in Arabic and we have translated them but will send on the originals.

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.  


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.  


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.


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


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!


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


Emigrants project description

This is information about a new project we are initiating

Proposal for a theatre production – Theatre for Everybody

The Emigrants by Stanislaw Mrozek in a special Gaza adaptation. 


The siege 

Palestinians in Gaza are ‘locked in’, denied free access to the remainder of the occupied Palestinian territory and the outside world. Movement restrictions imposed by Israel since the early 1990’s and intensified in June 2007, following the takeover of Gaza by Hamas, have severely undermined the living conditions and the health and education systems. The isolation of Gaza has been exacerbated by restrictions imposed by the Egyptian authorities on its only passenger crossing in Rafah. Thus, for example, thousands of students have lost the opportunity to complete education overseas. They have also deprived by the internal Palestinian division. Although the blockade and related restrictions contravene international humanitarian law as they target and impose hardship on the civilian population, effectively penalizing them for acts they have not committed, the international community have remained silent. Major escalations of military attacks by Israel in the past years have resulted in extensive destruction, thousands of causalities and major internal displacement.


In Gaza it continues to rise. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, unemployment in Gaza reached 52 percent in 2018, an increase of almost eight percent since 2017 and of more than 20 percent since Israel imposed the closure in 2007. Since Hamas took over the control on Gaza on 2007, it has ruled Gaza with a harsh dictatorial regime.  Speaking out and self-expression has led to prison.Posts on Facebook or twitter criticising Hamas have led many young people to spend many days in prison suffering  humiliating investigation and torture. 

During the last few years, and in particular after the war of 2014, a new phenomenon has appeared in Gaza. For the first time suicidal incidents among young people are on the increase.  Gaza’s young people turn to suicide in growing desperation.

In March 2019, hundreds of Palestinians participated in protests against rising prices and in opposition to Hamas in various locations in the Strip. These were the ‘We Want the Right to LIve’ protests. Hamas security forces cracked down harshly, beating protesters and arresting hundreds. Demonstrations have since petered out.

The Rafah Crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt was opened under the Palestinian Authority in November 2017 for the first time in a decade, permitting Gazans take a plane to Turkey for vacations. However, many residents — mainly young and educated — saw that as an opportunity to escape the impoverished enclave, they were smuggled onto boats and sent to Greece, from which they travelled to other European countries — chiefly Germany, Sweden and Belgium.

Though the perils of the journeys ahead of migrants are well known, many Palestinians are still determined to leave the Gaza Strip, where life is no longer bearable. 35,000 Palestinians left the Gaza Strip between 2014 and 2018 and didn’t return due to the financial crisis there and lack of hope and the absence of any visible horizon of change. 

Many young Palestinians have lost their lives on the way to ‘salvation’, as they might see it. For example, among dozens of migrants killed in June 2019 when a boat capsized off the shore of Turkey were 13 Palestinians escaping Gaza.

Arriving in Europe has not necessarily solved the problem for these thousands of young people. In Belgium alone, 20,000 young men requesting refuge are stuck in refugees’ centres for years waiting for reply from the authorities.  Many could not complete their education. Thousands are working in the illegal economy. Life is not at all what they expected and they lose years of their young lives without any goal or achievement. 

The project: 

Theatre for Everybody is planning to produce The Emigrants to audiences of young men and women, university students and others. In the first phase there will be 5 performances including interactive participatory sessions.  Each performance will have 150 attendees.  In venues in Gaza City and Khan Younis.

The play is a chance for the young attendees to correct stereotypes about Europe and the West in regard to emigration.  It will show an alternative story and how emigration may be far from being the solution to their problems.   

The play is translated into Arabic by Hossam Madhoun and the adaptation will be made by the company under the direction of Naeem Nasr.

Theatre for Everybody will work in close cop-operation with Universities and Youth Associations.

The play:

The Emigrants takes place on a New Year’s Eve in an unnamed West country in the basement lodgings of two immigrants. One is a political exile, an intellectual who gets his money from a mysterious source. The other is a ditch digger who is saving money to return to his ‘homeland’.
The poor, disadvantaged worker hangs around in the splendid city watching the appearances of luxury without being able to buy the pleasures he sees. He yearns to return home to show off his success to his family. The years pass and he does not return but he remains confident that he will return one day. 

His room-mate talks in a language characterized by the dominance of philosophical and political concepts and terms. He spends generously on the worker. Later, we discover that the goal is to make the worker the subject for a study of an individual whose interests do not exceed his immediate individual needs. When the worker discovers this intended examination he feels insulted and this makes him revolt against his project. He tears up the money that he has dedicated his life to saving.

Theatre for Everybody Group


Theatre for Everybody Group is the outcome of years of work toward creating an alternative theatre in Gaza Strip. For too long theatre in Gaza has been prerogative of Jerusalem and West Bank. Cut off from the world during the long years of occupation, theatre in Gaza was dormant. But within the silence there were yet murmurs.  With strong desire and conviction, ten young people got together to share and learn the art of acting, directing and performing. They invited qualified artists and colleagues from Jerusalem to conduct workshops, training programs and organized productions. They established “Al-Janoub Theatre Troupe.” They started in 1994 a fruitful cooperation with Ashtar Theatre School and with Theatre Day Production. Both offered them intensive training sessions. With Ashtar Theatre School, they made one play and the collaboration with Theatre Day Production lasted for two years during which two plays produced. In 1996, six of the original group of ten branched out to establish “Gaza Theatre Lab.”  

Then, gradually, some differences appeared between Theatre Day Production and members of Gaza Theatre Lab. It was a question of methods of works but more deeply of philosophy. In 1997, Theatre for Everybody was born. The founders (Jamal Al-Rozzi, Hossam Al-Madhoun, and Marianne Blume) wanted before everything to maintain their independence and decided, despite all the difficulties, to find cooperation and financial aid for their projects.

What we are?

We are theatre makers and we want to take part in the society through art. We believe in theatre as an artistic production as well as a way to bring awareness in the society toward all the main problems. We believe that through plays, we can contribute to change the attitudes, to shake the preconceived ideas or at least to bring out the problems (social and psychological). Through entertainment, through shows, we do not lecture people, we just stimulate them, we question them about themselves, about their beliefs and their behavior. Our theatre is committed to the life in all its fullness but not directly political: we do not deliver messages. The artistic quality of our work is constantly our goal: the challenge for the coming years remains to create an audience and to make from theatre a daily cultural need as well as a usual event. A theatre considered as a tool to build the society is our concern but we would like to reach the point that a play could be chosen because of its artistic value. 


2015 War and Peace (theatre play on Tolstoy)
In cooperation with Az theatre – London
Performed in Gaza
Performed in London on 6th august (film) and Gaza, with skype link with the audiences of Gaza and London

2010 – 2011 The Tree, based on Guernica of Fernando Arabal
Director: Jamal Alrozzi
Performed in Gaza

2008 – 2009 “Through the Tunnel”
A play on the life’s of Gazan people under the siege and embargo imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip (daily life stories)
Director: Naem Naser
Actors from Gaza and Belgium
Performed in Gaza, Belgium, France and Luxemburg

2006 “The Wall” – Theater for Everybody production
A play on the segregation wall built by the Israeli occupation in Palestine
Director Sofian Albobsi (Belgium)
Actors: (from Gaza – Jerusalem and Belgium) Naem Naser, Kamel El-Basha, Philippe Domulin, Rami El-Banna, Gorgina Asfour
Performances: Belgium

2005 “Water Water” – Theater for Everybody production
A play on the water problem in Palestine
Director: Jamal Al Rozzi
Actors: Hossam El-Madhoun, Majda Abu Sharikh, Baha Elyazji, Mohammed Hissi.
Performances: Gaza Strip

2004 “Blue Gold” – International production on the problematic of water
Directors: Claudine Arts – Belgium and Subadh Batnaik – India
Actors: from Belgium, Palestine, India, and Rwanda
Performances: France, Belgium and Luxemburg

2003 “Hayat” – Theater for Everybody production
A play on the problem of malnutrition among pregnant women and children
Director: Jamal El-Rozzi
Actors: Hossam El-Madhoun, Mohammed Abu Karsh, Majda Abu Sharikh, Elena Abdo
Performances: Gaza Strip

2003 “Out of the Pcture” – Theater for Everybody production
A play on the right of disabled people to education
Directors: Philippe Domuline and Claudine Atrs
Actors: Jamal Al-Rozzi, Hossam El-Madhoun, Rami Al-Salmi, Emad Al-Rozzi, Rania Al-Katari
Performances: Gaza Strip

2002 “Checkpoint” – Theatre for Everybody production
Play on the checkpoints build by the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories and its impact on the daily life of the Palestinian people.
Directors: Marianne Blume, Claudine Arts and Philippe Domuline
Actors: Naem Naser, Jamal Al-Rozzi, Hossam El-Madhoun, Najah Awadallah, Rami Al-Banna
Performances: France, Belgium and Luxemburg and Gaza
1999-2000 “One thousand and one flowers” – Theater for Everybody production
Director: Naem Naser
Actors: Jamal Al-Rozzi – Hossam Al-Madhoun – Mofyd Sweedan
Performances: 152 shows at Gaza Strip

1998 The Lively Death – Theater for Everybody production
By Athol Fugard (South Africa)
Director: Naem Naser
Actors: Jamal Al-Rozzi – Hossam Al-Madhoun – Marianne Blume
Performances: Amman International Theatre Festival (April 1998)+ Jerusalem Theatre Nights Festival (June 1998) + Gaza Strip.

1997 Lailat Al Omr – Palestinian/Belgian production
Improvisation: Theater for Everybody and Gaza Theater Lab.
Text writer: Hossam El-Madhoun
Directors: Philippe Dumoulin and Claudine Arts (Belgium)
Actors: Jelan El-Shikh – Naem Naser – Jamal Al-Rozzi – Hossam Al-Madhoun – Mohammed Abokarsh
Performances: Gaza Strip for “Gaza mental health program” + in Belgium and France during the “Festival Du Theatre Action”.

1996 Welcome to Hell – Palestinian – Belgian Production
Director: Phillippe Dumoulin (Belgium)
Actors: Ali Abuyasin – Naem Naser – Jamal Al-Rozzi – Hossam Al-Madhoun – Mohammed Hamdan – Mohammed AbuKwick – Rasmi Damo
Performances: Gaza (September 1996) France, Belgium and Luxemburg (2000)

Other activities:

2000 – 2015
Drama therapy programs for children, adults, and people with disabilities

1997 – 2005
Drama trainings and workshops for children and youth

Partners in War Stories long term research and workshop with theatre groups from UK, France, Romania, Algeria, and Serbia

Participate in Theatre in Place of War, long-term research initiated by Manchester University / Drama institution

Participate in Drama in civil intervention international conference, Exeter University, UK

Festivals :
Festival Du Theatre Action, Belgium, 1998 – 2000 – 2002 – 2004 – 2006
Al-Fawanees International Theatre festival, Amman, Jordan, 1997 – 1998
Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Theatre Nights festivals 1998

The Team:

The Director: 

Naem Naser 

27 years’ experience in theatre and drama as a director, actor and trainer 

Founder of Masafat theatre group 

Participated as an actor in 27 theatre productions 

Director of more than 30 theatre play for adults and children 

Worker with Theatre for Everybody group as a director and an actor in several plays 

Participated in theatre festivals in Egypt, Jordan, France, Romania, Belgium and Luxembourg 

Naem is also Musician and Oud player, Naem has composed many songs and produced several music tapes, mainly for theatre shows

Naem the founder of Arab Music national band in Gaza 

The Actors: 

Jamal Al-Rozzi 

More than 30 years’ theatre actor, trainer and director

Participated in more than 30 theatre productions for adults and children

Participated in developing theatre texts through improvisation 

Trainer of acting skills 

Drama therapist 

Theatre production manager 

Participated in theatre festivals in Egypt, Jordan, France, Romania, Belgium and Luxemburg 

Participated in a long term research in drama in place of War with Manchester University 

Participated in Art for promoting social change conference with Exeter University 

Beside his involvement in theatre:

Jamal is considered a key person in the field of disability since 30 years, he is the executive manager of the National Society for Rehabilitation responsible for the coordination of persons with disability working group in Gaza Strip 

Jamal is also a board member of PNGO (Palestinian NGO’s Network)

Hossam Almadhoun 

25 years’ drama activist as actor, director and trainer, in drama in civil intervention, in education and drama therapist 

Participated as an actor and director in more than 20 productions for children and adults 

Trainer of acting skills 

Drama therapy specialist 

Theatre production manager 

Translator of 7 theatre plays from English to Arabic

Participated in theatre festivals in Egypt, Jordan, France, Romania, Belgium and Luxemburg 

Participated in a long term research in drama in place of War with Manchester University 

Participated in Art for promoting social change conference with Exeter University  

Beside his involvement in theatre:

Hossam is a leading professional in the field of child protection, manager of Child Protection Program at Ma’an Development Centre 

Trainer in child protection and ‘child protection in emergency’ 

A member of the child protection working group under the umbrella of UNICEF

A member of the child protection networks in Gaza Strip 

Member of ‘child protection in emergency’ platform

Hossam had a 7 years’ experience in heading an international organisation working in the field of water and sanitation and food security 

The writer: 

Sławomir Mrożek (29 June 1930 – 15 August 2013) was a Polish dramatist, writer and cartoonist. In 1963 Mrożek emigrated to Italy and France and then further to Mexico. In 1996 he returned to Poland and settled in Kraków. In 2008 he moved back to France. He died in Nice at the age of 83. 

Getting into Gaza 24/11/2014

The social and economic (that is, human) circumstances in Gaza are critical and our partners in Theatre for Everybody are working flat out in the recovery effort.  Much of their and their colleagues’ work is concerned with psycho-social support.

This is the latest United Nations report on the situation in Gaza:  Click here.

Our friends in Theatre for Everybody are working with Ma’an Development Centre and War Child Holland

We have decided that in order to pursue our project Jonathan Chadwick needs to visit Gaza.  This trip is planned for February 2015.

It is not going to be easy to get in.  Entry is through Israel. The Egyptian border at Rafah is uncertain and the Sinai region through which the traveler must pass is too dangerous.  So we are organising invitations and making contact with all the people who may be able to help with this visit.  There is a possibility that Jonathan will spend a week in the West Bank before the Gaza visit.  This will help confirm the permissions and co-ordination necessary for entry to Gaza.

This blog will keep you updated about progress.

Also we are running an event at Rich Mix on Sunday 18th January 2015 at 3pm.  This will be a benefit to raise money for this trip.

This will be a public reading of Jonathan Chadwick’s stage adaptation of RESURRECTION, Tolstoy’s last novel.  Find out more.

Az Theatre and Theatre for Everybody in Gaza have worked together since 2002. Since 2009 we have initiated a ten-year project, Gaza Drama Long Term.  The latest phase is aimed at the production of an original Arabic stage adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.  Hossam Madhoun has created an Arabic translation of a stage adaptation by pioneer theatre-maker, Erwin Piscator.  This work is the basis for the initial workshops with a company of actors in Gaza.  Az has raised money for this work through individual donations, contributions from Street Theatre Workshop Trust and the British Shalom Salaam Trust.  We also held a fundraising event at Rich Mix on Sunday 14th September which included readings of the PIscator version of War and Peace alongside plays by Caryl Churchill, Hassan Abdulrazzak and Haifa Zangana with messages from our partners in Gaza and a public skype conversation with them. However because of the attack on Gaza from July through to September the initial workshops have been held up.  This blog will keep you updated about progress.


No blood or bullets just pain 05/11/2014


For Messages from Gaza during the 2014 war, from the beginning.

I’ve just spoken via skype to Hossam Madhoun and Jamal Al Rozzi, Directors of Theatre for Everybody in Gaza with whom we at Az Theatre are developing a project called War and Peace: Gaza (Palestine)/London (UK).

They told me there was no blood being shed and no bullets flying around (for the time being) compared to the time of the recent war (the bombardment started in June and a ‘peace’ was concluded on 26 August 2014) but the pain of Gaza continues.

During the war there was a level of hope that things could not return to the way things were before, that all the suffering, damage and sacrifice would lead to a lifting of the blockade and some amelioration of life for the inhabitants of Gaza.  Unfortunately things in all respects are worse than they were before.  The people of Gaza have gained absolutely nothing through all their suffering. But the world’s attention has turned away from Gaza and now the dreadful consequences of the war are still being suffered by the people there. Moreover, the blockade that was condemned by the majority of the international community and by the United Nation today is legitimatized by the UN through the so-called Robert Serry plan for goods to enter Gaza. It is scheme similar to “oil for food” which was imposed on Iraq and there it made people hungrier and more vulnerable.   And what makes matters even worse is that nobody is listening anymore, there are no protests.

Hossam and Jamal told me that people are turning in on themselves and that the feeling on the streets is one of distance and sourness. They also said people were aggressive to each other.  Stories are rife of people trying to leave, some through the remaining tunnels, some by boat.  Many have died in the attempt – many have drowned.  None of this has been reported. We talked about how the world wanted to believe that the resilience of the Palestinian people would go on forever, indomitable.  But we had to admit that Palestinians are not heroes, they are human beings and anyway, as Brecht said, ‘Unhappy is the land that needs heroes’.

Many people are internally shattered and exhausted and this means that relationships between people have deteriorated.  Of course at times of intense danger and stress, people will tend to stick closer together but then, at certain points, they will disintegrate.  There is a kind of centrifugal force that makes people want to flee and this force can become current in a whole population.  To some extent the successive wars suffered by the people of Gaza will have exercised and attenuated this ‘coming together’ during violence and this ‘coming apart’ during the so-called peace that follows.  I remember Hossam saying that maybe people could bear a war every ten years but 2008, 2012 and now 2014 have left people punch-drunk.

At one point there was a dreadful silence as we reflected on the fact that it was this existential destruction of people that the Israelis were aiming at.  Is it possible that they were succeeding?  Of course, being realistic, it was possible to admit that they could.  I recognised this balance moment in the life of a people as being intrinsic to a genocidal process.

Yes, we had to admit that the intention of the Israelis was genocide.  They wanted to ‘disappear’ the Palestinian people. And they might be successful.

The silence continued. We stared into a kind of abyss.

Of course historically each genocidal process was different.

I have been led to reflect on this process because of my involvement in a partnership between theatre-makers in Armenia and Turkey.  I have recently returned from Yerevan where we accomplished the initial stages of this partnership project. Genocide is a process in which the different functions have to be broken down, they have to be compartmentalised.  The Armenian population of Anatolia was subjected, first of all, to deportation from their homes. This was carried out by the gendarmerie in the different local districts.  These local forces typically accompanied the Armenians to the borders of the local authority region. The deported were then handed over to other forces, armed gangs organised by the Committee for Union and Progress, sometimes these people were criminals specially released from prison.  This is how the slaughter and further displacement was carried out.  Now the Turkish state is ready to admit that there were deportations but will not admit to the full charge of genocide.  They are enabled to do so by this compartmentalisation. Different functions carried out by different people. Nobody appears overall responsible. This also has to do with the robbery and theft of wealth, land and property that accompanies all genocides, including the Israeli one.  Of course there is also enslavement, rape and other forms of subjection.  But how the genocidal project is unfolded is different in all instances.  The Israelis’ genocide is slow, attritional.

Why is it that the nation-formation process seems to feature this extreme exclusion process? How is the force and thoroughness of the genocidal expulsion linked to the gaining of an internal coherence for the developing nation state?  Maybe there is in me a refusal to understand, a resistance to the implications of accepting the attendant truths about human capability. Just as in the birth of the modern Turkish state, thus in the reinvention, through National Socialism, of the German state, thus in the carving out of the Israeli state and so also in the state-building project of the Islamic State of Iraq, Syria and the Levant.

These are complex processes.  There is no unitary cause.  The movement of genocide is conjunctural.  There are economic causes ie theft and enslavement; there are psychosocial causes ie national cohesion.  It is as if nobody is singularly responsible.  Everybody in the perpetrator society plays a part although sometimes passive.  Often the killing is constructed as work.  This was true in Rwanda where the morning radio exhorted the population during the genocide to go to work, killing. Always there is the characterisation of the victim population as being sub-human, like animals and thus the genocidal project is projected as a ‘humanisation’ process.  Sometimes there is direct automated killing, sometimes death is left to do its work ‘naturally’.

All of these thoughts flooded into my mind in the silence that happened between Jamal, Hossam and I during our conversation.  The silence was like a dread.

We had to make affirmations that our work together, the latest phase of which is a production of a stage version of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, was to do with resistance.  Jamal told us about a thinker who asserted that resistance very often had to be played out through a smile or an act of kindness.  We decided that we must work together face to face.  I promised that I would visit Gaza soon.  We started planning this for the end of January.  They said that by that time they would have held the initial workshops on War and Peace.  All the actors which might take part were still working flat out in the social regeneration programmes so urgently needed after the war. Suddenly we were talking about how we might find a summer course in the UK for their daughters who are both 13 years old. (Does anyone have suggestions?)   We arranged a guitar exchange between Yara, Jamal’s daughter, and I.

It was as if together we had faced death and then come alive again.