Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

Dramatic reading: Voice for the voiceless

Ahmed Elqattawi | 15-02-2016

 

Project director's note: Seven of our writers recently participated in a drama workshop led by Hossam Madhoun and Jamal Rozzi, who run Gaza's Theater for Everybody. Theater is a rarity in Gaza, so this was a special treat -- an opportunity to explore another mode of self-expression. The workshop culminated in an exchange with London's Az Theater, where viewers watched videos of the young performers and then engaged in a Q-and-A. This is the second in a series, focusing on the poems the youth wrote and their performances. (The series begins here.)

Every now and then I seek to be a child…
   playing soccer down the street.
Like the wind, I run…scoring goals despite the siege.
The one and only thing that keeps me alive is that teeny ball.

I have often heard people say I’m like a phoenix.
And I whisper in my ears,
  like the phoenix I am to live once again in dignity.  
For a moment, I realize how the hovering birds
  have wings of their own to soar up, up in the sky.

Similarly, I have the same.
It is my voice, or better said, the power of my voice.
My voice allows me to travel the globe without servitude,
  for I am the voice of the voiceless.
Your voice is valuable and so is mine.
Never will I be scared to speak up,
   nor embarrassed when I passionately sing.
Glad, yes I am, for having the guts, sending messages everywhere,
   with the winds as well as the birds.

I used to breakdance on the beach while people made fun of me,
   but I didn’t give a hoot.
Standing still, I perform my role doing what I believe to be me.

***

Two years ago, I first had the opportunity to take part in drama in the true sense of the word. It was my first year at college, and I completely challenged myself to get stronger. Basically, I wanted to put myself into an awkward position and get accustomed to it. I felt like getting rid of my apprehension was a must for me. When facing a crowd of people, particularly when they were all unfamiliar to me, I found that I pulled myself together, even after dreadfully trembling.

However, I had never acted for an audience off the campus of my university. Videotaping my spoken word for this drama workshop was magnificent; I started understanding the world of theater much better. I learned some techniques totally new to me.

Along the way, my mom and my siblings were totally supportive of me. They believed this will help me overcome my fear of public speaking. And as a matter of fact, acting feels incredible; it helps me express my feelings of despair and brings peace and comfort to my mind.

The drama workshop was a way to better create an accurate perception of theater, an art very few people know about in my community. Not only did it broaden my vision of how acting could and should be, but it also gave me a sacred space to express my feelings. When we Skyped with London, they warmed our hearts with their uplifting feedback and appreciation. Hopefully, we will see more such events in the days to come, allowing us to exchange two different cultures and tell our hidden stories authentically.

Posted February 15, 2016


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