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Attempt of Israeli Authorities to destroy FREEDOM THEATRE JENIN - YOUR ACTION NEEDEDSalem-News.com
Open Letter to the Israeli Security Apparatus.
(JENIN, Occupied Palestine) - One of the wonderful places that has survived the violence in Jenin, occupied Palestine, is the Freedom Theater. The building is the subject of the movie 'Arna's Children' and also the former operation of Juliano Mehr Khamis; an amazing actor and human being of Christian and Jewish descent who went on to have an incredible career in film from his homeland to Hollywood, who was Murdered in April 2011 in a crime that was blamed on 'masked Palestinian gunmen' but in fact only benefited Israel.
Sadly, I didn't have the pleasure of meeting him in my life, but Juliano was a friend of many who write for us and I his loss hit people hard. Now Israel wants to do away with the theater which has been used to convey education, to develop talent, and show young people that there is more to life than wondering when the next Israeli attack will come. Please do what you can to help, write, call, encourage, and by all means spread the word about this latest act of Israel's apartheid government.
Open Letter to the Israeli Security Apparatus
11 August 2011
This is an open letter from representatives of the international volunteers and staff members, the friends, supporters and foundation of The Freedom Theatre in Jenin to the Israeli security apparatus including the Shabak, the IDF and Israeli Police.
After the attack on The Freedom Theatre`s office and multimedia centre, during which you arrested our head technician Adnan Naghnaghiye and Bilal Saadi, the chairperson of The Freedom Theatre Board in Jenin; and after you have for two weeks refused Adnan and Bilaal access to a lawyer, treated them inhumanely and denied them their basic human rights, and after the arrest of our acting student Rami Hwayel, we hereby state:
We encourage all efforts to find whoever is responsible for the brutal murder of Juliano Mer Khamis and we are deeply concerned over the fact that the murderer has not yet been found. Nevertheless we reject the inhumane methods that you apply in investigating the murder. The Freedom Theatre has been seriously damaged by your actions which have further implanted fear and trauma not only among our students and employees but also into the very society we aim to empower.
By acting the way that you act you have once again proved to the residents of Jenin refugee camp as well as to the outside world that the only methods you know are the ones involving violence, terror and fear. We in The Freedom Theatre have nothing to conceal regarding the murder of Juliano Mer Khamis. We have made that very clear and we state it again that everyone in the theatre has given statements to the Palestinian Police when they were asked to do so and are willing to do so again.
No matter what harm you cause to us or the theatre, we will continue our struggle for individual and collective liberation. We have joined our comrades in Jenin Refugee Camp in their struggle for liberation using culture and non-violence in order to not only shake off the occupation that you keep the Palestinian people under, but also other forms of oppression that they are faced with.
We demand that our friends and colleagues who have been subjected to severe cases of human rights abuses will be treated with absolute respect for all their basic human rights according to international conventions, receive immediate access to their lawyer and be promptly released.
The international staff, friends and supporters of The Freedom Theatre as represented by:
Jacob Gough, acting general manager at The Freedom Theatre
You can also make your voice heard!
For more information on local groups: http://www.thefreedomtheatre.
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Israeli military forces attack the freedom of theatre
13 August 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank
The Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp has faced targeted repression by the Israeli Army in recent weeks. At 3pm on August 6th, 2011, Israeli Occupation Forces arrested a Freedom Theatre actor at the Shave Shomeron checkpoint on his way from Ramallah to Jenin. Rami Awni Hwayel, a 20 year old acting student, was returning to Jenin from Ramallah to visit with family over the weekend during Ramadan. Rami’s acting colleagues and friends describe his arrest as “devastating” as Rami plays a main role in “Waiting for Godot” which is scheduled to perform in New York in early September.
Rami has so far been denied his right to see a lawyer, and his loved ones still have not been informed of where he is. Israel is citing ‘security’ concerns for their refusal to release his whereabouts or any other information concerning his arrest. Rami is the third member of the Freedom Theatre to be abducted by Israeli Occupation Forces in recent weeks. In the early morning hours of July 27th, 2011, Head Technician Adnan Naghnaghiye and Chairperson Bilal Saadi were arrested by Israeli Occupation Forces.
The soldiers also caused damage to the theatre, smashing windows with bricks and destroying what they could from their position out in front of the building. Night guard and technician student Ahmad Nasser Matahen was forced to remove his pants by IOF after being ordered out of the theatre.
The general manager of the theatre, British citizen Jacob Gough, and the co-founder, Jonathan Stanczak from Sweden, arrived to the theatre and attempted to call the Civil Administration to inform them that the army was attacking a cultural venue. The person in charge hung up on their phone call.
The Freedom Theatre is a cultural centre which has operated in the north of the Occupied Palestinian West Bank since 2006. The theatre aims to assist the youth of Jenin in coping with the stresses they face living under continued brutal Israeli military occupation. It serves to provide a safe space where youth can express their emotions through the arts with the aim of constructing a free and healthy community. The Freedom Theatre offers a drama workshop space, acting school, filmmaking and photography studio, library, talent campus, and various performances.
The targeting by Israeli Occupation Forces of the Jenin Freedom Theatre and its community members is one of many instances clearly demonstrates the campaign of intimidation Israel has embarked on in the minds of Palestinians and international observers. Israel continues to repress with ruthless violence those who nonviolently oppose the illegitimate occupation of Palestine.
For more information on the Freedom Theatre, and to express your solidarity and support with the Freedom Theatre Community, please contact
Watch Mer-Khamis' monumental Arna's Children:
Apr-05-2011: Losing Juliano - Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh Salem-News.com
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