Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Palestinian Resistance: Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and the Freedom Theatre, Zakaria Zubeidi

Zakaria Zubeidi, one of the founding members of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin and former commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, joined me today on CrossTalk. As a child in the 1980s, Zubeidi was part of the Jenin theater troupe that was the precursor to the Freedom Theatre. He was wounded and sent to jail during conflicts with the Israeli Army in the 1990s. At the beginning of the Second Intifada, Zubeidi became the commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a leading coalition of Palestinian militias in the West Bank. In 2007, the Israeli Government offered amnesty to the militants of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. Zubeidi now believes that armed resistance to the Israeli Occupation is fruitless, and has devoted his energies to the Freedom Theatre. However, Zubeidi stated that if Israel took violent action against Palestinians, he would be forced to take violent action.

To read a translation of the interview, click here

To Learn more about the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, visit http://www.cfr.org/publication/9127/

Photo: google images

Monday, March 29, 2010

Arabic Poetry and Politics: Hala Nassar

Hala Nassar is an assistant professor of Arabic and Arabic culture in the Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations Department at Yale University. She is primarily interested in Arab popular political culture, performance and literature. Ms. Nassar will join me on CrossTalk in the near future to speak about her book "Exile's Poet," which investigates the work and life of the Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish as well as her future work in Theater and modern Palestinian culture.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Freedom Theatre of Jenin: Juliano Mer Khamis, General Director

Juliano Mer Khamis is the General Director of the Freedom Theatre in the West Bank city of Jenin. Mr. Mer Khamis will join me in the near future on CrossTalk to discuss his professional and personal experiences working in the Israeli movie, TV, and theater industries, as well as his groundbreaking work on the Freedom Theatre, a project that aims to bring art and creativity to the youth of Jenin's Refugee Camp. This interview is the third in a mini-series on the activities and personalities of the Freedom Theatre.‎

The Freedom Theatre of Jenin: Jonatan Stanczak

Jonatan Stanczak, an Israeli / Swedish activist, joined me from Sweden over the telephone today on CrossTalk. Mr. Stanczak was one of the founding members of the Freedom Theatre in 2006, located in the West Bank city of Jenin. Mr. Stanczak currently serves as the Administrative and Financial Manager of the Freedom Theatre and splits his time between Sweden and Israel. His international citizenship has allowed him to travel freely throughout the West Bank while working with The Theatre. Mr. Stanczak was inspired to form the Freedom Theatre when he first witnessed the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank. He sees the Freedom Theatre as a form of Palestinian resistance to this Occupation.
Please visit www.thefreedomtheatre.org to learn more about the Theatre's work and mission.

Interview covered in the Yale Journal of Human Rights. Visit YJHR's website at http://yjhr.wordpress.com/

Photo: Google Images

Music and Peace: Micah Hendler

Micah Hendler, a former music counselor at Seeds of Peace, joined me today on CrossTalk to discuss music and conflict, citing the Israeli Palestinian conflict as a case study. Micah spoke about his experience working in the music program at Seeds of Peace, a peace initiative which draws youth from Israel, Palestine, Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan to engage in the individual process of conflict-resolution. We spoke about the role of music in shaping the future of peace and conflict, as well as the specific musical traditions of the Middle East.

The Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project: Michael Boyce

Michael Boyce, the president of the New Haven branch of the Iraqi Refugee Assistant Project (IRAP), joined me today on CrossTalk to describe his involvement in this group. Since his trip to Jordan last spring with IRAP, Michael has been assisting Iraqi refugees settle in New Haven as well as lobbying Washington on immigration policy and legally representing Iraqi refugees trying to enter the US from Jordan. We spoke about the Iraqi refugees' perceptions of America as well as their goals and hopes in resettling in America. Michael also spoke about IRAP's goals for next semester which include increased funding, more services for the Iraqis, and increased undergraduate involvement in the legal and policy realms of the organization. Michael will be spending his winter break in Jordan on a fact-finding mission in Jordan.‎