ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The One-state Solution

The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonial Conquest and Resistance by Rashid Khalidi, Hachette India, 2020; pp 319, Rs 599 (paperback).

 

It hardly felt like a prison. Located in the middle of a residential neighbourhood of Ramallah, it was a squat, square structure built around an open courtyard. A couple of security guards desultorily checked our backpacks as we entered. I could well have carried a lethal firearm and nobody would have objected. I was with Jonatan Stanczak, a Swedish–Israeli citizen who was one of the co-founders of “The Freedom Theatre,” located in Jenin in north West Bank, and we were going to meet another co-founder of the theatre, Zakaria Zubeidi. This was in March 2015, four years after the assassination of the third co-founder, Juliano Mer-Khamis, outside the theatre by a masked gunman.

Zakaria was a child during the first intifada, when Juliano’s mother Arna Mer had started working with traumatised children in the Jenin Refugee Camp. Her project was called “The Stone Theatre,” as a tribute to the most ubiquitous image of the first intifada, that of young men, often no more than boys, confronting Israeli tanks and armoured vehicles with stones. Before the intifada was over, Arna was to die of cancer and “The Stone Theatre” destroyed and demolished by Israeli bulldozers. Many of the children that Arna worked with were to be killed in the second intifada. Astonishingly though, Zakaria, who had become a major military commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, the armed wing of Fatah, survived the ferocious battle of Jenin, as well as several Israeli attempts on his life. And even though he had become an armed fighter, he never forgot the impact theatre had on him. As the second intifada wound down, Juliano, Zakaria, and Jonatan came together, somewhat fortuitously, to found “The Freedom Theatre.” Thus it was that I, a theatre actor and director with the Delhi-based Jana Natya Manch (Janam), found myself in Palestine, to explore a collaboration between the two theatres. The fact that one of Janam’s founders, Safdar Hashmi, had also been killed for his beliefs, created an emotional bond between the two theatres.

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Updated On : 30th May, 2021

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