مسرحية حكايات مدينة على البحر SBS Arabic Radio with Tales of a City by the Sea

مسرحية حكايات مدينة على البحر تبدأ في ملبورن في الثاني عشر من تشرين الثاني نوفمبر. المسرحية عبارة عن قصة حب وانفصال وستعرض على خشبة مسرحين في اليوم ذاته. على خشبة مسرح لاماما في ملبورن، ومسرح الرواد في مخيم عايدة في الضفة الغربية.

كاتبة المسرحية هي الكاتبة والشاعرة سماح السبعاوي، وقد استضفناها في استديوهات الأس بي سي مع اثنين من فريق العمل. استمعوا هنا إلى سماح السبعاوي، والممثلة نيكول شمعون والممثل أسامة سامي.

The Age: Palestinian Play Tales of a city by the Sea thwarted by real-life violence

By Annabel Ross

There is some bitter irony in the fact that the plan to premiere a Palestinian play in three different cities was thwarted by the very war it speaks of. Palestinian-Australian writer Samah Sabawi wanted Tales of the City and the Sea to debut in Australia and the Palestinian territories simultaneously. “The plan was that it would open in the West Bank, Gaza and Melbourne at the same time and in a way connect the Palestinians in the West Bank to the Palestinians in Gaza,” she says. “Unfortunately, the time we started casting and putting together the production team was when Gaza was under heavy bombardment.” That was in July, at the height of the recent conflict. Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/theatre/palestinian-play-tales-of-the-city-and-the-sea-thwarted-by-reallife-violence-20141028-11cjn0.html#ixzz3HPpWg1ia

In Video: Gaza actors deliver message to the world through theatre

Latest report from Gaza on the continued closure of the Rafah crossing and its implication on life in the world’s largest open air prison

Gaza’s Ark: A bid to break Israel’s blockade… from within

GAZA CITY: Palestinian labourers and foreign activists are working tirelessly to transform a large fishing boat into “Gaza’s Ark” with the aim of exporting local produce in the latest bid to break Israel’s blockade on the coastal strip.

The Ark, which is being fitted out to carry goods and more than 100 passengers, is near completion and is expected to set sail for Europe in the latest high-profile attempt to challenge Israel’s maritime lockdown on the tiny Hamas-run territory.

If they are successful, this will be the first time goods from Gaza have been exported by sea since the signing of the 1994 Oslo Peace Accords.

Significantly, this attempt to alleviate the effects of the seven-year blockade comes from within Gaza, where locals refurbishing the 24-metre-long (78 feet) vessel want to take matters into their own hands, rather than waiting for help from the outside world.

“This will help fishermen, farmers and factory workers in Gaza to market their products,” said Abu Ammar Bakr, who was a fisherman for 40 years before turning his hand to repairing boats.

Mohammed Abu Salmi, who owns a furniture shop, was equally buoyed by the prospect of shipping products overseas.

“Export by sea will resuscitate farming and light industry in Gaza and will ease unemployment… and help to lift this oppressive blockade,” he told AFP.

“We have great experience and produce great furniture,” Abu Salmi boasted.

“We exported to Israel and from there to Europe before the blockade, and people abroad are asking for our products,” he said, pointing proudly at the dining tables and chairs fashioned in his workshop.

Among the items which are to be carried on board for export are fruit and farm produce, furniture, embroidery and other crafts, organisers say.

“The aim is not aid or humanitarian like the boats that were coming to Gaza, it’s a commercial venture to support the Palestinian economy and pave the way to exporting Palestinian products,” project manager Mahfouz Kabariti said.

But a sense of apprehension marks the preparations.

A plaque at the entrance to the quay on which the Ark is being built remembers the nine Turkish activists who were killed in May 2010 during an Israeli raid on a six-ship flotilla trying to reach Gaza in defiance of the blockade.

Although the international outcry which followed the deadly raid forced Israel to significantly ease the terms of its blockade on Gaza, which was first imposed in 2006, tight curbs remain in place on exports and travel.

Breaking the siege ‘from within’

Under the terms of the current restrictions, Gaza fishermen are not allowed to enter waters more than six nautical miles (11 kilometres) from the shore, with naval patrol boats known to fire on those who step out of line.

It is the prospect of a confrontation with Israeli forces that is worrying some of those planning to join the boat on its blockade-breaking mission, with Abu Salmi afraid the navy might “open fire and sink the Ark, or arrest those on board like they did in 2010 and seize the goods”.

Organisers of the project are unsure what action Israel might take.

“I hope Israel won’t stop the boat from sailing to European countries,” said Kabariti.

“It is natural that the Israeli authorities might not allow a boat to set sail from Gaza. But we want to send our message to the world, whether the occupation allows it to sail or not,” he said.

“We want to draw attention to the blockade which is preventing Palestinian products from being exported, and we have an ark that we can use to do it.”

Among those planning to join the Ark on its maiden voyage are a number of foreign activists, who include Swedish national Charlie Andreasson who also took part in the ill-fated Freedom Flotilla of 2010.

The aim, said Andreasson, is “to break the siege”.

“Why would they stop it?” he asked, somewhat naively.

“We’ve been sending ships to Gaza to try to break the siege, and this time we are turning it around and sending a ship from Gaza out to Europe with goods — so we’re trying to break the siege from within,” he told AFP.

Andreasson has been working on the project since early June, when activists managed to raise enough money from European donors to buy up the old fishing boat.

From its purchase to completion, including labour, Gaza’s Ark will have cost an estimated $150,000 (114,000 euros), with its website showing that so far, $110,000 has been raised.

Dozens of people are working to restore the Ark, with local fishermen receiving a salary for their labour and foreign activists volunteering.

The project’s mission statement, according to the website, is to “challenge the illegal and inhuman Israeli blockade”.

For fisherman Bakr, it would be a huge blow if the Ark — which will sail under the Palestinian flag as well as several international ones — never left port.

Fisherman and factory workers would have to watch their goods “festering in warehouses because they’re unable to export them”, he said.

This article first appeared here

Gaza Sky Geeks backs tech startups in the Gaza Strip

The conflict-torn Gaza Strip produces more than 2,000 young graduates with technical degrees each year. Gaza Sky Geeks helps them launch their own high-tech businesses.

By Laura Mortara, Global Envision / May 29, 2013

In the isolated Gaza Strip, economic instability is a constant. But a startup accelerator called Gaza Sky Geeks Laboratory plans to help the region capitalize on one of its biggest assets: its technical graduates.

Between Gaza’s five universities, more than 2,000 young people graduate with technical degrees every year. Mercy Corps started the Arab Developer Network Initiative (ADNI) with a grant from Google.org a few years ago, and a number of programs supporting young entrepreneurs have come out of it, including Gaza Sky Geeks.

The laboratory will support standout technology entrepreneurs in Gaza, providing a wide range of free services designed to help them turn their ideas into viable investments. Global Envision connected with Reem Omran, co-founder of Gaza Sky Geeks, to talk about the effort – and whether Gaza could become the next IT hub in the Arab world.

What’s the blueprint for helping start-ups?
Reem Omran: The primary objective of Gaza Sky Geeks is to prepare start-ups for the next stage. We will provide logistical and consulting services, as well as workshops that can help them turn their ideas into concrete business plans capable of securing investment.

What resources does the accelerator offer?
Gaza Sky Geeks is outfitted with high-speed internet, desktop computers, iPads, and Androids[mc1] so that members have a reliable space to work on their projects. Members also have access to meeting spaces and a coffee shop, where they can network and collaborate on ideas.

What about events?
The accelerator hosts three types of events: workshops, hackathons, and mentorship programs and lectures. The workshops are held on a weekly basis and are designed to help with product development and promotion. Hackathons are held so that programmers have a forum to share ideas and explore software development. And the mentors are brought in to give developers feedback on their ideas and critique their business plans.

At the accelerator, are the resources and events free of charge?
Yes, you only need to be a member to use them.

What are the biggest barriers facing members?
Electrical shortages are common, and Gaza’s reputation as a conflict zone makes it difficult to attract investors. However, at the core the issues are the same as those facing start-ups everywhere. Many technology entrepreneurs are passionate about their field and ideas, but transforming a vision into a viable business plan is tricky. Most people in the IT industry in Gaza don’t receive a business education, let alone have experience running one.

How is Gaza Sky Geeks helping to bridge this gap?
This is where the mentors are key. As I mentioned, most programmers in Gaza don’t have experience running a business, and so sometimes their target audience is off or their marketing strategy isn’t practical, and so on. Mentors can provide valuable constructive criticism so that start-ups can strengthen their goals and infrastructure to become a feasible investment.

In the coming months, Gaza Sky Geeks will select the top five startups to participate in a three-month intensive acceleration program. Selected startups that participate in the acceleration program will be linked with five dedicated mentors who have varying backgrounds and experience. The three-month accelerator will also provide targeted business and technical training so each startup has a scalable business plan and validated prototype at the conclusion of the accelerator. Throughout the three-month program, each startup will work on a one- and three-minute pitch that they will give to potential investors at a Gaza demo day and regional road shows in cities such as Doha, Qatar; Amman, Jordan’ and Cairo.

• Stay up to date on Gaza Sky Geeks on Facebook and Twitter: @GazaSkyGeeks

• This article originally appeared at Global Envision, a blog published by Mercy Corps.

Hundreds of Palestinian refugees arrived into Gaza from Syria displaced for the second time and pushed into the furthest corner of their historic homeland

Yousef Al-Helou from the Real News conducted this report from Gaza on the growing number of Palestinian refugees who have come from Syria into the Gaza strip