The following statement about the Israeli assault against the Gaza Strip was issued on July 17 by several Palestinian performing arts organizations and includes a call to support the BDS movement. To learn more about BDS, why you should support the effort, and our own work to help Gaza, please click here
We, cultural workers representing the majority of Palestinian performing art organizations, condemn the current Israeli attack and aggression on Gaza, and the indiscriminate killing and maiming of mainly civilians, among them many children and women.
As artists, the most powerful weapon we have is our ability to play, dream and imagine. The oppressive forces fear this weapon because as long as we are able to imagine another kind of reality, we have the power to pursue it – a free and just Palestine.
Israel is portraying the ongoing massacre in Gaza as a war between them and Hamas, as part of an obnoxious media campaign of turning the oppressed into the villains. This latest Israeli attack against Gaza is a crime that must be understood within the context of Israeli occupation and apartheid. For over six decades Palestinians have been systematically bereaved of their lands, their water and their freedom of movement. Settlements continue to be built, a wall is erected on occupied lands and Gaza has been under a suffocating blockade for over six years. These crimes must be condemned and acted upon immediately.
Among our companions are institutions that despite all the hardships continue to work in Gaza, using music, theatre and drama to comprehend, process, educate and mobilize. We stand with them and we ask you to do the same.
While governments are once again turning their backs, people around the world are raising their voices; taking to the streets and refusing to let the people of Gaza suffer in silence. We urge our colleagues, friends and partners not to stay silent and join us in our protest.
We call upon the world to put pressure on Israel to stop the blockade of Gaza.
We particularly call upon our fellow artists and cultural organizations to condemn the current aggressions against Gaza and the occupation of Palestine through petitions, protests and statements. Further to that, we urge you to act by supporting the Palestinian cultural and academic boycott of Israel (PACBI), thereby refusing to be complicit in the ongoing occupation and apartheid.
Together, we can turn hopelessness into determination and the forces of division into unity. It is within our power.
The undersigned, as founding members of the Palestinian Performing Art Programme (PPAN)
Al-Harah Theatre: www.alharah.org
The Magnificat Association: www.magnificat.custodia.org
The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music: http://ncm.birzeit.edu/en
Al Kamandjati Association: www.alkamandjati.com
Theatre Day Productions: www.theatreday.org
Yes Theatre: www.yestheatre.org
The Palestine Circus School: www.palcircus.ps
The Freedom Theatre: www.thefreedomtheatre.org
Popular Art Center: http://www.popularartcentre.org/
El Funoun Dance Troupe: www.el-funoun.org
Ashtar Theatre: www.ashtar-theatre.org
A.M Qattan Foundation: http://www.qattanfoundation.org/en/