Cafe Simpatico hosted the premiere of this play at a reading on Feb. 22. 2019/ It was well received and was followed by an engaged discussion. The audience was given these background notes to help understand the context of the play. We hope you will find them of interest before you view the video and after you will find the resources helpful for action.
Background notes: Stories from the Walled-off Hotel
The play is set in a hotel recently conceived by the British artist, Banksy in order to encourage tourism in Bethlehem. It is in a dangerous area of Bethlehem, close to the Israeli-constructed wall, near the gate and check point of entry to an Israeli military presence. It is near several refugee camps that have been there since 1948 as a result of the ‘Nakba’. Israeli soldiers often come through the gate and enter these camps, spraying tear gas and harassing and detaining residents.
All the characters portrayed in the play are fictitious. The events and background stories are based on reality; people were buried alive in Nablus; homes and whole villages are continually being bulldozed and destroyed; residents are driven out by force. More than 1.5 million trees have been destroyed by the Israeli occupiers; replanting olive trees and harvesting from orchards are dangerous activities; people including children are killed during these times; others are detained, jailed or injured.
People are killed by the Israeli military during peaceful demonstrations. Israel often takes the bodies of their victims if they can. Roads and checkpoints are closed at the whim of the occupier.
Yes, some Israelis call Palestinians ‘cockroaches’.
This play conveys the strong resistance that Palestinians integrate into their daily life, as they have for more than seventy years. Palestinians believe that living a full, normal and culturally rich life is an essential part of their resistance.
The One Democratic State movement is gaining support among Israelis and Palestinians. They call for a one secular, democratic state with an equal vote for all and with the right of return for the seven million Palestinians living in exile around the world. At this time almost two million Palestinians live as 2nd class citizens within Israel and more than 700,000 Israelis live in illegal settlements with special services and access within the West Bank of Palestine.
The pay is dedicated to all those thousands of Palestinians who have died in the struggle for freedom and independence of their country. The four people named are; Nizin Jamjoum, a fourteen year old girl, shot while standing on the balcony of her family home in Hebron; Ziad Abu Ain a[i][i]senior, minister in in the Palestine Authority government; Aisha al-Rawbi, a woman who was stoned to death by settlers while a passenger in a car driven by her husband; Hassan Iyad Shalaby, a teen-aged boy killed by an Israeli sniper in Gaza.
The play presents Palestinians as human beings with personalities, stories, lives and loves. Palestinians are sumud, steadfast, in their struggle for their rights.
We can support them by telling our government to respect the right Palestinians and to stop profiting from the Israeli occupation/ war on Palestinians. We can raise awareness among friends and take part in public events as well as respecting the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel.
To view the video of the play see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkaZNUePMyA&t=105s
Resources for PALESTINE
Arab Group for the Protection of Nature http://www.apnature.org/en
Palestine Farmers’ Union www.pafu.ps/en
Palestine Museum of Natural History https://www.palestinenature.org/
Addameer www.addameer.org/ ADDAMEER (Arabic for conscience) Prisoner Support & H.R. Association works for child prisoners. Also: http://nwttac.dci-palestine.org/
Press for Conversion: 2 special magazine issues:
The Promise -a 4 part compelling drama made by UK Channel 4 available on YouTube
Canadian BDS Coalition: https://bdscoalition.ca/
BDS Movement https://bdsmovement.net/
BDS In Jordan https://bdsmovement.net/countries/jordan
https://electronicintifada.net/ E magazine current issues in Palestine
BOYCOTT Hewlett-Packard electronics and Hyundai vehicles: both used by Israeli government to enforce occupation, detention, demolition. See: https://bdscoalition.ca/
Preserving culture: TIRAZ museum: http://tirazcentre.org/en/widad-kawar
Ways to support Palestine and its people:
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine:
Popular Resistance in Palestinehttp://bookreviews.bbcf.ca/2012/10/qumsiyeh-mazin-b-popular-resistance-in-palestine-a-history-of-hope-and-empowerment-2010-pluto-press-uk-usa/
Married to another man http://bookreviews.bbcf.ca/2013/11/karmi-ghada-married-to-another-man-israels-dilemma- in-palestine-pluto-press-london-uk-isbn-978-0-7453-2065-6/
Canada and Israel: Building apartheid http://bookreviews.bbcf.ca/2012/09/engler-yves-canada-and-israel-building-apartheid-2010-red-publishing-b-c-and-fernwood-publishing-n-s-canada/
The Battle for Justice in Palestine http://bookreviews.bbcf.ca/2014/05/abunimah-ali-the-battle- or-justice-in-palestine-2014-haymarket-book-chicago-usa-isbn-978-1-60846-324-4/
The Last Earth (and other books) by Ramzy Baroud. Pluto Books
Here We Shall Stay by Tawfiq Zayyad https://www.poemhunter.com/tawfiq-zayyad/
It’s also Fine by Mourid Barghouti from: Midnight and other poems www.bookreviews.bbcf.ca/?s=mourid
Hearts: by Theresa Wolfwood from: Love and Resistance. www.bookreviews.bbcf.ca/?s=love+and+Resistance