Palestinian leaders need to learn from history

Samah Sabawi
Middle East Eye
May 13, 2014

The reliance on the generosity of the imperial powers and the weak leadership of the Arab elites has been the principle cause of failure in Palestinian resistance.

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For almost one hundred years of Palestinian resistance to the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine, various consecutive Palestinian leaderships have placed their trust in diplomacy and have looked with bedazzled eyes at powerful western nations, the international community and the Arab League to deliver them from the occupation and to bring a just resolution to the conflict. This is astounding when one considers that Israel, the reason behind the Palestinian people’s dispossession, is a western colonial project that would not exist if not for the support of those same western powerful states and the complicity of the international community.
– See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/nakba-will-end-when-palestinian-leaders-learn-history#sthash.3lOJcVvG.dpuf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Tales of a City by the Sea

The play Tales of a City by the Sea is a unique and poetic journey into the lives of ordinary people in the besieged Gaza strip prior to, during and after its bombardment during the winter of 2008.  Jomana, a Palestinian woman who lives in the Shati (beach) refugee camp in Gaza falls in love with Rami, an American born Palestinian doctor and activist who arrives on the first Free Gaza boats in 2008. Their love is met with many challenges forcing Rami to make incredible decisions the least of which is to take a dangerous journey through the underground tunnels that connect Gaza to Egypt.  Although on the surface this love story appears to explore the relationship between diaspora Palestinians and Palestinians under occupation, there is a broader and more universal theme that emerges – one of human survival and tenacity.  Tales of a City by the Sea avoids political pitfalls, ideological agendas and clichés by focusing on the human story of the people in Gaza. Although the play’s characters are fictional, the script is based on real life events and is a product of a collection of real stories the author Samah Sabawi and her family have experienced during the events of the past several years. Sabawi has written most of the poetry in the play during the three-week bombardment of Gaza in 2008/2009.

The writer Samah Sabawi is a Palestinian-Canadian-Australian published writer, commentator and playwright.  She has travelled the world and lived in its far corners, yet always felt as though she was still trapped in her place of birth Gaza.  The war torn besieged and isolated strip has  shaped her understanding of her identity and her humanity.  So what else could Sabawi do but to indulge in Gaza’s overwhelming presence and to succumb to tell the stories of her loved ones back home.  Her most recent play Tales of a City by the Sea is dedicated to them and to all of those who still manage to have faith and hope even as the sky rains death and destruction.

The script is available to interested theatre makers upon request.  Please email play3wishes@gmail.com for more information.

Ms. Sabawi speaking at the Launch of the The People's Charter To Create a Nonviolent World

Photo courtesy http://thepeoplesnonviolencecharter.wordpress.com/launch-events/

Follow Samah Sabawi on Twitter @gazaheart

Samah Sabawi’s professional bio can be found here

For more information on Samah Sabawi: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samah_Sabawi

Three Wishes in the Media

Three Wishes:  Ottawa Gladstone Theatre December 2008 

War from the eyes of a child – Education – New play focuses on Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Orléans Star 12-07-31 11:56 PM Published on December 5th, 2008

Divided by conflict and witnesses to violence, Israeli and Palestinian children speak out about their fears, hopes and dreams in a new Ottawa play that features two east-end teens in leading roles.

The stage adaptation of Deborah Ellis’ controversial book, Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak, captures the honesty and straightforwardness only a child can share when the world around them is in turmoil. The production, written and produced by Ottawa’s Samah Sabawi and sponsored by the Arab-Jewish dialogue group Potlucks for Peace, puts the spotlight on three Palestinian stories and three Israeli stories. The play is performed on a split stage at the Gladstone Theatre, divided by a concrete wall topped with barbed-wire. It is on either side of this wall the lives of these children and their families unfold.

While every word in the play is lifted from the book, Sabawi has broken the dialogue up so a number of characters speak. For example, 18- year-old Hassan’s narrative has been cut so his family also shares in the storytelling. “It’s more like a conversation,” Sabawi explains.

Colonel By’s Kiera Polak, 15, plays the role of Yanal, a 14-year-old Palestinian girl. “I’ve learned a lot through the play,” she says, noting children in the Middle East have gone through hard times and want things to be fixed.

Meanwhile Orléans resident Dergham Shahrouii plays Hassan, who lives in a refugee camp in the West Bank. Injured by Israeli shelling, Hassan is confined to a wheelchair. On the other side of the wall is Artov, a Jewish teen whose family immigrated to Israel from Russia and is struggling to understand the meaning of being Jewish and being connected to the state of Israel. “These kids talk about the simple, human need to live a normal life,” Sabawi says of the interviews from the book. “(They talk about) how conflict affects their life at a personal level.”

The book, she continues, is “very compelling. These are real stories and real experiences.”

Sabawi read the book about three years ago after her then-nine-year-old son read it and put together a speech for class. The kids in the book, she explains, are so honest – there’s no politics. “I just loved reading their words.”

The children’s book gained infamy in 2006 when the Canadian Jewish Congress questioned the inclusion of the book in the Silver Birch reading program. At least four school boards in Ontario, including the Toronto District School Board, pulled the book from their shelves. While some said the request to remove the book was about age-appropriateness, others indicated it was a political move.

Sabawi, who says parents are the best judge of what their children can take, doesn’t recommend the play for those under the age of eight. “The play is about kids in a conflict zone,” she explains. “This is serious stuff.”

Hoping to raise awareness with her production, Sabawi notes that people tend to discuss the conflict in “grown-up” terms with maps, statistics and borders. The conversation is distant and sometimes the human cost is forgotten, she continues. “The Middle East is not about angry men or Paris or fights between extremists,” Sabawi says. “People live there and their stories need to be told.” “Three Wishes” runs until Dec. 13 at the Gladstone Theatre, 910 Gladstone Ave. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by phone at 613-233-4523 or online at http://www.thegladstone.ca

 

Public Reading at La Mama October 13th Melbourne Australia

A play that explores the lives of ordinary people living in the besieged Gaza strip in the winter of 2008. Jomana, a woman from the Shati refugee camp, falls in love with Rami, an American Palestinian doctor who arrives as part of the Free Gaza Flotilla. Breaking the siege sparks their love – but can it be sustained?

Public Reading: La Mama Theatre, October 13th at 2pm

 

To book online go to http://www.trybooking.com/BZDI

Tales of a City by the Sea is a unique and poetic journey into the lives of ordinary people in the besieged Gaza strip prior to, during and after its bombardment in the winter of 2008.

Jomana, a Palestinian woman who lives in the Shati (beach) refugee camp in Gaza falls in love with Rami, an American born Palestinian doctor and activist who comes on the first Free Gaza boats in 2008. Their love is met with many challenges forcing Rami to make incredible decisions the least of which is to take a dangerous journey through the underground tunnels that connect Gaza to Egypt.

Although on the surface this love story appears to explore the relationship between diaspora Palestinians and Palestinians under occupation, there is a broader and more universal theme that emerges – one of human survival and tenacity.

Tales of a City by the Sea avoids political pitfalls, ideological agendas and clichés by focusing on the human story of the people in Gaza. Although the play’s characters are fictional, the script is based on real life events and is a product of a collection of real stories the author Samah Sabawi and her family have experienced during the events of the past several years. Sabawi has written most of the poetry in the play during the three-week bombardment of Gaza in 2008/2009.

Creative Producer: Rand Hazou

Rand Hazou was born in Jordan. His family are from Jerusalem. Rand is an Australian/Palestinian academic and theatre facilitator. In 2004 Rand was commissioned by the UNDP to travel to the Occupied Territories in Palestine to work as a theatre consultant running workshops for Palestinian youths. In 2009 Rand was awarded a PhD in Theatre and Drama at La Trobe University. His thesis examined the latest wave of political theatre in Australia dealing with Asylum Seekers and Refugees. In 2011 Rand was awarded a Cultural Leadership Skills Development Grant from the Australia Council for the Arts to develop The 7arakat|Harakat Project, involving a series of theatre-related initiatives between Australia and Palestine. As part of this grant, Rand travelled to Palestine in October 2011 to participate in an internship with Al-Kasaba Theatre in Ramallah. Rand is currently undertaking an internship with Multicultural Arts Victoria. As an academic he has taught across a wide variety of subject at La Trobe and Monash Universities. He is currently a lecturer and tutor in the theatre and drama program at La Trobe University.  For more information on the 7arakat project visit http://www.centreforcreativearts.org.au/projectspace/7arakat.phps

The Cast

Osamah Sami

Osamah Sami is an actor and writer of Iraqi heritage. Born in 1983 in Iran – he migrated to Australia in 1995.  Osamah has worked extensively on stage, including playing the role of Saddam Hussain in “Saddam: The Musical”, as well as other productions, including Sinners (La Mamma), Homebody/Kabul (Theatre@Risk), Long Day’s Dying (La Mamma), Baghdad Wedding (Belvoir St.), Blackbox 149 (La Mamma)…His TV roles include East West 101 (SBS), City Homicide (Seven), Rush (Ten), Sea Patrol (Nine), series regular in the 13-part series Kick (SBS), the lead role in Tony Ayres’ award winning tele-movie Saved opposite Claudia Karvan, the lead in Dee McLachlan’s feature film “10 Terrorists” and the award winning short 296 Smith Street as well as the feature film Lucky Miles.  He is currently working on a feature film with director Tony Ayres “Ali’s Wedding” which he has co-written with Andrew Knight.

Veronica Porcaro

Since graduating from Flinders University Drama Centre, Veronica has had a very diverse and dynamic acting career in Theatre, Film, Television and Role Playing/Training across many arenas from mainstream theatre and television to educational and political theatre, script development and corporate work.  Her credits include: The Grace of Mary TraverseSix Characters in Search of An Author, Stories from the UndergroundA Translation in HistoryTwelfth NightThe Jungle of Cities10 x10 play seriesMeat Pies and MortadellaNile BlueGP, Water RatsHeart Break HighMurder CallBlue HeelersSatisfactionWhatever Happened To That Guy and Neighbours.

Hannah Norris

Hannah Norris is a widely acclaimed actress of the independent and professional stages of Australia. She is perhaps best known for her powerful performance of the one-woman show My Name is Rachel Corrie (Daniel Clarke) in Melbourne and Adelaide, receiving Adelaide Critics Circle and Victorian Green Room Award nominations, and the 2010 ATG ‘Curtain Call’ Award for Best Female Performance. Hannah has recently returned to Melbourne from a national tour of David Williamson’s Let the Sunshine (Hit Productions) and is currently working on a 2013 production of Tahli Corin’s One for the Ugly Girls. For more info, go to www.hannahnorris.com.au

Wahibe Moussa

Wahibe Moussa is a performance-maker, writer and Green-Room award winning actor, currently studying in the Master of  Writing for Performance at the Victorian College of the Arts. She has gained respect as a Cultural/Language Consultant through Theatre and television projects.  Wahibe’s writing practice is informed by her work with diverse Refugee and Indigenous communities, and her interest in connections between the personal and political; the exchange of power within relationships.  As a Community Artist, Wahibe works collaboratively in Theatre, Visual Art and Writing Projects in Melbourne and Sydney.

Jomana Najem

Jomana Najem has a background in Film Production and literary journalism, and has been extensively involved with the Arabic speaking community for the last ten years in various capacities.  Jomana has also written, directed and produced several short films and documentaries. She has worked both behind and in front of the camera as an actor and television presenter. She has is the writer of a feature length film script that centres around the lives of several Lebanese Australians, and their struggles to overcome their past. “The Borrowed Prophet” is currently in pre-production and has been endorsed by the Lebanese and wider Arabic speaking community.

Majid Shokor

Majid Shokor is a writer, researcher, and actor for stage and screen.   Originally from Baghdad, he lives and works in Melbourne.  Since his arrival in Australia in 2001, he has appeared in many plays, short films, TV series and the feature film Lucky Miles, for which he was also the cultural consultant.  He worked with many acclaimed directors and writers such as Jean-Pierre Mignon, Daniel Keen and Nigel Jamieson to name few.  His performances have received critical acclaim and been honoured with two prestigious Green Room Award nominations for Best Actor in Independent Theatre, in 2005 and 2009.  Majid holds a Master degree (Honours) and a Post-Graduate Diploma (1st class Honours) in Community Cultural Development from the Victorian College of the Arts – Melbourne University

Ryan Smith

Ryan is a second year student and is currently studying arts at La Trobe University. He has been involved in many highly successful productions in their student theatre program. He has also been highly involved in amateur theatre companies in his home town. He has a large background in musical theatre. This is Ryan’s first production outside of his university and local area.

Beth Sherwell – lighting and sound

Beth is no stranger to the world of theatre, television and drama; having worked on the TV show Neighbours as well as various other films. Most recently she played the character of Amy March (the youngest sister) in the  production ‘Little Women’.  ‘Tales of a City by the Sea’ is Beth’s first technical gig, she is currently completing a degree in English and Drama Majors.

James Crafti – lighting and sound

James Crafti is co-manager of Under the Hammer an Activist Artists Hub in Coburg a place he founded to explore art within a social justice framework. Crafti completed a Bachelor of Creative Arts at La Trobe in 2009 and directed plays at La Trobe including Creationism, Rope and Seven Jewish Children. In 2010 James worked as an assistant director on Melbourne Worker’s Theatre’s show Yet to Ascertain the Nature of the Crime. Crafti also directed two plays with Platform Youth Theatre Mutha and The Deserters, and is now serving on Platform’s Board. He is currently undertaking his Masters in Community Cultural Development at the Victorian College of the Arts.