I dream that Gaza one day will not be in the news anymore 22/09/2014


22 September 2014

Az Theatre’s launch event for the War and Peace: Gaza (Palestine) – London (UK) project on 14th September 2014 was successful.  We have now raised over £8000.

Here are some of the audience’s reactions:

“I wanted to thank you again for yesterday’s collection of work at the rich mix and the truly heart warming Skype link up to Jamal and Hossam in Gaza…..I think the energy that is going into your project also shows the power of theatre to give hope through the horror, to those who believe in it.” PH

 “The performance was great! Thank you very much for putting together such amazing pieces of work!” C L-R

 “I thought what I saw was very powerful and staged effectively. All the actors really gave their all. I thought the variety of voices really enhanced the material and I thought the order worked so well – especially hearing those war and peace scenes first and then the Caryl Churchill at the end. I thought the Caryl Churchill scene was beautifully written and provided such a refreshing other point of view of the main war and peace characters.And beautiful music at the end! All in all everything contributed to a very strong presentation. Congratulations”. CC

The public skype conversation with Hossam and Jamal was moving and enlightening.  It looks like they will not be able to do their initial workshop on the stage adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, that Hossam Madhoun has made a translation of, for at least another month.  Many of the actors they would use will be involved in the psycho-social support work for children that is so necessary in Gaza as people try to put their lives back together after the war.  I wrote and asked them if they would continue to write to us here about how life was there in Gaza as the painful process of recovery took place.  I sent a message asking many questions, this was Hossam’s response:

In fact we are really concerned to answer your questions and continue to highlight the situation in Gaza. Our delay is not due to laziness but being very much occupied with work. Jamal and I are running emergency psycho-social support projects and it really eats all of our time and this might continue for some time.
What I can tell you now about Gaza, is that every one here feels estrangement. No-one is able to go back to normal,
Yesterday for example, talking to one friend from Khozaa village, he  told me that as a villager he used to raise some chicken, and collect eggs every other day. The chicken survived the massacre in Khozza. When he went back to his partially destroyed home, he found all of his chicken which he use to feed every morning. It is now almost 3 weeks since the war stopped, but he is unable to think about his chicken. He is not feeding them; he is not looking for the eggs and the chicken are finding their own way to live. Is this a naive story? For a villager it is not. (I am sure you understand and you know what I mean) Many people are thinking about leaving or trying to leave. Many already died in the Mediterranean. You heard that in the news? The rest are suffering quietly in silence, as they can not even complain or shout or scream out of pain.
Hamas and Fatah are in disagreement again. The money to rebuild Gaza will come only through Fatah, so they make getting back control of Gaza a precondition for spending any money, while Hamas who believe that their popularity is now high, won’t accept this, so people just suffer. 75000 people are in shelters (schools), 2500 people in each school, thousands of homes are destroyed, 450 local factories are destroyed, more than 400 million ton of rubble to be removed from streets, unemployment above 50%, poverty above 90%, and people wait unable even to complain.
Hamas is still celebrating victory and Fatah want Gaza back and the world does not care.
By the way, in the project I manage for Ma’an Development Center, I have to manage 13 life skills activators, 13 psychological counsellors, 13 social counsellors, 5 field supervisors, 5 activators in a mobile fun unit, 5 psychodrama specialists, one psychologist supervisor working in 13 centers all over Gaza Strip running multiple tasks and activities including work with children, community mobilization, awareness campaigns, community initiatives, days out for children and, and, and…
I had to recruit 55 professionals in 2 weeks with millions of details to prepare and follow up and all of this as well as communications with donors to generate funding for other interventions in water and sanitation, also, representing Ma’an at international coordination forums, leading needs assessments in several fields. It is an emergency, damn it!!!
I am looking forward to the day that there will be no need for emergency in Gaza, no need for humanitarian intervention in Gaza, no need for mass psycho-social support for the children of Gaza.
You know what? I dream that Gaza one day will not be in the news anymore, like any small town or village in the South of Belgium or East of England, just a small quiet city living in peace and attracting no-one for any special thing.
Love from the bleeding Gaza.