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Related Categories: Palestine | San Francisco
View other events for the week of 6/19/2008
Freedom Theatre- West Bank, Palestine
Date Thursday June 19
Time 7:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Location Details
American Friends Service Committee- 3765 21st St., San Francisco, CA 94114
Event Type Speaker
Organizer/AuthorAllan Solomonow
Juliano Mer Khamis, the artistic director of the Freedom Theatre, and Dr. Mervat Aiash, the Theatre’s Board Chairperson, will be in the San Francisco Bay area to speak about their current work with children in the Jenin refugee camp. A well-known cultural icon in the West Bank, the Freedom Theatre thrives in a community traumatized by the ongoing Israeli Occupation.

At a time when the world is simultaneously recognizing the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel and what the Palestinians call Al Nakba (the Catastrophe), Mer Khamis holds a unique perspective: A prominent Israeli actor, he is the son of an Israeli Jewish mother who fought alongside Zionist forces in 1948, and a Palestinian father who was a committed political activist. He directed the award-winning documentary film Arna’s Children, which follows the lives of several young Palestinians involved in his mother’s theatre project in Jenin, until its destruction-along with most of the camp- in the 2002 Israeli bombardment and military incursion. The Freedom Theatre today is a continuation of Arna’s legacy and commitment to the children of the camp.

Dr. Aiash, a Palestinian woman who is a long-time resident of the West Bank, also defies stereotype. A working artist and fine arts professor at the Arab-American University in Jenin, she is an accomplished art historian and expert in Islamic archeology, and has chaired the Board of the Freedom Theatre since 2006.

Mer Khamis and Dr. Aiash are dedicated to providing innovative programs to the camp’s youth, offering them an empowering alternative to the violence they have been born into. Children at the theatre participate in acting workshops, voice lessons, drama therapy, an art gallery and computer center, and a host of activities designed to foster their creativity and independence of mind.

“The camp is alive today,” says Mer Khamis, “and ‘Jenin’ is now a magical word.”

Added to the calendar on Friday Jun 13th, 2008 12:25 PM

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