Nearly two years after his assassination in Jenin Refugee Camp, the murder of Juliano Mer Khamis, founding General Director of The Freedom Theatre, remains unresolved. But the project that he gave his life to is finding new strength to carry on his vision of using art as a tool for resistance against oppression.
Exacerbated by harassment by the Israeli army and the unlawful detention of Artistic Director Nabil Alraee, the aftermath of the murder of Juliano Mer Khamis in April 2011 was a period of great trauma for the staff and students of The Freedom Theatre. Many commentators had begun to question whether this unique arts organisation, located in the war-ravaged Jenin Refugee Camp, would find the strength to continue. But two years on, the Freedom Theatre is in the midst of a great resurgence. Supporters old and new are returning in droves to reinforce the impact of its work, as The Freedom Theatre engages new communities and new art forms in its mission of demonstrating the revolution possible through culture.
The second anniversary of the murder of Juliano Mer Khamis on April 4 marks the opening of another in-house production at The Freedom Theatre; the second production this year alone. The play, called Suicide Note from Palestine, is a window into the younger generation of Palestine; a generation just as hopeless about their present as they are about the future.
The play’s main character is Amal, who one day before her final exams has a concerning nightmare: she is Palestine and she has decided to die. Amal’s nightmare drafts between confusion, torture and despair – notions set as strange characters that symbolise some of the key players in world politics that shape the land, history, politics and uphold the occupation of her country. Interrogated and manipulated, Amal is forced into a comatose state and can barely speak. Suicide Note from Palestine is a physical video/visual art performance, using social satire to present an image of the national trauma of the Palestinian people.
“As Juliano has taught and shared with us, we continue to build the steps of a professional Palestinian theatre with a meaningful message: resistance through art with the highest standards for the young generation that will build the grounds for hope for Palestine”, says the play’s director, Nabil Al-Raee. “Especially on the day of the second anniversary of Juliano’s murder, the whole theatre is dedicating all its work to our deceased inspiring teacher, director and role model to remind about the silence that has followed the murder. Until today we do not know who is responsible for this terrible act. We didn’t forget, we will never forget and we will keep working, questioning, demanding for justice.”
Suicide Note from Palestine is performed at The Freedom Theatre:
Thursday April 4 Première @ 16:00
Saturday April 6 @12:00 and @ 16:00
Sunday April 7 @12:00 and @ 16:00
Suicide Note from Palestine is supported by Sida, as part of the PAN program, and by the Swedish Postcode Lottery.