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New play: Images from the life of Ghassan Kanafani

New play: Images from the life of Ghassan Kanafani

Images from the life of Ghassan Kanafani will open at The Freedom Theatre in Jenin refugee camp on August 28 at 17:00. The play has been directed by Ahmed Tobasi and devised with the third-year students of The Freedom Theatre School, who based on research of Kanafani’s life and writings reflect on their experiences of these stories.

The play is built around some of the central characters in Kanafani’s writings, that represent different generations of Palestinian society. Thereby the play becomes an introduction to Kanafani’s literature as well as to the history of Palestine.

Ghassan Kanafani, born in Akka in 1936, was forced to leave his homeland during the 1948 Nakba, first to Lebanon and later to Syria. In 1972, he was assassinated by Israeli Mossad agents. During his short lifetime Kanafani had published eighteen books and written hundreds of articles on culture, politics and the Palestinian struggle. He was the editor of a number of newspapers and a prominent member of PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine).

Kanafani is an iconic figure in the Palestinian struggle for liberation. His novels, including Men in the SunAll That’s Left of You and Returning to Haifa, and political writings have inspired generations of Palestinians.

The research for Images from the life of Ghassan Kanafani aimed to connect Kanafani’s writings to the current situation in Palestine. “We went on a journey through his novels, analysing the problems of today on a deeper level through Kanafani’s words”, says Ahmed Tobasi, director of the play. “We discovered other aspects of Kanafani: his love and care for people, especially children. He often wrote his stories as seen through the eyes of children. He was a person who loved life, and his soft sides made him strong. He wrote about Palestine at the time but also about the future.”

Kanafani’s literary work were an expression of the Palestinian cause, but his great talent gave his writings a universal appeal. He famously stated: “My political position springs from my being a novelist. In so far as I am concerned, politics and the novel are an indivisible case and I can categorically state that I became politically committed because I am a novelist, not the opposite.”

In September, Images from the life of Ghassan Kanafani will embark on The Freedom Theatre’s first-ever tour of Portugal. Tour dates and details.

‘Images from the life of Ghassan Kanafani’ is supported by Sida, as part of the Palestinian Performing Arts Network, and by the EU. 

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