Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Play, A Verse, A Stone

I am watching a play…

First row, theatre in the round: "Confinement" – It is so well choreographed, I hardly need to understand the Arabic. People are closed up in a glass bottle…It becomes harder and harder to breathe… They go through a series of contortions trying desperately to solve their problem. 1

Front Row, Center. We listen to the Beethoven concerto with cello, viola, violin and piano. The pianist swoons over the music. The audience is gallantly dressed. I watch the fingers of the string players deftly touching the strings and bowing their instruments. 2

Hundreds of Palestinian men and boys are bowing to Mecca. How quietly they bow and kneel together on the hard stone pavement. Forbidden to enter, they are praying on the ground. 3

Kids are throwing stones, setting tires on fire under showers of rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas. "It is like a war."

The women carry a stone, think about the stone, write about the stone:

'Fawda. "When I see my stone, it brings my memories back to my childhood and to the high hill in Beit Jala where I used to live. On that mountain there were many beautiful stones which my friends and I used to play some games such as hajalae and seven stones:

Nowadays my children's life is not the same….."

Sarah: "I hold my stone and remember that I have to stay in this land with Sumud like the stone despite all the difficulties."

Elaine: "During the first Intifada, children resisted occupation by throwing stones at the military tanks, and they were called children of the stones." 5

Israeli News reports: Some 50 Palestinians throw stones at security forces stationed there. The soldiers returned fire with tear gas. Rabbis for Human Rights claimed that the Palestinians arrived on the spot in order to conduct a quiet protest against the separation fence in the area and sought to plant trees. 6

"March 21

Kol Sana Wa Inti Salmeh. My husband is on the way home from Amman, he & our daughter had to cross the Jordanian & the Israeli boarders by noon. I haven't heard from them yet. I hope they will be here at 4 in the evening.

I think you can come to visit me at 11 am Friday. Then we'll have lunch with my family at 2 pm . I'll be cooking Maklobeh, Up side down dish which is a Palestinian food. We like to have you with us as we prefer to serve the main meal at this time

Looking forward to our getting together,

Love, Jala" 7

"Separation wall to isolate Bethlehem village from Beit Jala"

1 The International Center of Bethlehem, presented by Al-Harah Theater, Beit Jala

2 Concert Hall, Tel Aviv.

3 Outside the Damascus Gate, Jerusalem. Inside stands the Al Aqsa Mosque.

4  Shu'fat Refugee Camp, East Jerusalem

5  Sumud Story House, Rachel’s Tomb Area, Bethlehem

6 Beit Jala, two kilometres from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

7 E-mail from Jala in Beit Jala to myself in Bethlehem on the occasion of Mother's Day, March 21

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