On the first day of the year, 2016 actors of Jana Natya Manch(find them on twitter) and The Freedom Theatre(Palestine) performed a play called ‘Hamesha Samida’ related to the present issue of Palestine. The performers from Palestine, a small country neighbouring Israel flew to India to showcase the struggle of Palestinian-Arabs in Palestine. It now houses both Jews and Palestinians as the result of UN deciding to hand over the land taken care by Palestinians for more than a thousand years to European Jews to appease and pacify them.
Initially, in the late 1940s Jews had only occupied 4 Palestinian states, now they have a acquired over 74% of the land while Palestinian-Arabs were compelled to relocate to other countries.
Just after losing their homes and the fields they had grown up on, Palestinians had to bear the loss war brought upon them. Despair ran rampant as loved ones were lost, people had to live in refugee camps as hunger, diseases and crimes spread.
The actors’ voices were hoarse from trying to scream and tell the world of their plight, eyes livid and expressions raw. They brought in symbolism in the play and that finally drove the point home, saying it better than words ever could. It evoked feelings of despair in me that Palestinian-Arab children, whose childhoods are wasting away in refugee camps must feel as well as the profound indigence and helplessness of parents that had to suffer the sight of their poorly clothed, hungry children that had to grow up too fast.
Being contained within enclosures like cattle was the last straw, it brought me back to the history of my own country. Indians had been colonised, treated like animals and filth. They had to endure a war that had seemed eternal once.
The Pen is indeed mightier than the sword and Jews having realised this have tried their best to keep Palestinian-Arabs from writing.
I have often wondered what is the elemental difference between living and existing. The answer that came to me was simple; it was freedom and hope.
The play starts on a funny note where an actor points out the absence of olive trees and war tanks that are abundant in Palestine. The play is a tragicomedy.
The second scene is of the nation standing strong against the Israeli takeover and refusing to go down without a fight. And lastly it shows how Palestinians carry all their memories in boxes where ever they go
And maybe to them, the boxes are their true homes?
Abducting people if they speak against the invasion seems to be a common practice along with their inevitable death. However it is not quietly accepted and Palestinians fight against the violations.
Next the play shows how Obama, the President of tge world’s first democracy resorts to violence, an action that is the completely opposite of the most basic concept of democracy to ensure a country becomes peace – loving and harmonised democracy.
While President of India kisses (bibi) ass to get access to weaponry and Obama’s for funds.
Both the opening and the ending of the drama is playful and restores hope and joy in the audiences in the wake of witnessing these tragic tales of innocents being wronged.
The actors are very skillful, successfully capturing that in the end through all the hardships, Palestinians will be the last ones standing. And having been through it all they will stronger and more vibrant than ever.
Palestinian-Arabs may have lost their freedom but they have hope in spades and as a personification of it, they carry huge keys with them everywhere they go to tell the world that one day they will go back home.
This is a guest blog post by Vanshika. She is 17, loves food and defines herself as awesomeness personified.