Sunday, December 26, 2010

Jawad Siyam: An East Jerusalem Story--The Neighborhood of Silwan

Jawad Siyam is a community organizer in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. Silwan has become a focus of the Israeli settlement debate since the 1980s at which point Israelis began to settle in Palestinian homes in order to re-establish the historic Jewish presence in the area, known in Hebrew as Shiloah. Siyam heads the Madaa Silwan Community Center and works at the Wadi Hilweh Information Center. The Community Center was formed in 2007 to bolster the cohesion of the community in response to the lack of civil services provided by the Jerusalem Municipality to the neighborhood. The Information Center was formed in 2009 in order to articulate the Palestinian narrative of the Silwan neighborhood in light of the Ir David (City of David) archeological site which serves as a large tourist attraction and stresses the historic Jewish identity of the area. Siyam poignantly asked how American diplomatic visits can tour the City of David, and at the same time voice support for an end to East Jerusalem settlement? His mission is to challenge established narratives and present the Palestinian history of the neighborhood.

For a translation of this audio, click here.

Photo: Niv Hachlili (Courtesy of Ha'aretz) ;

Dr. Jamal Muhasien: Nablus, Fateh, and Foreign Relations

Dr. Jamal Muhasien sits on the Palestine National Liberation Movement's (Fateh) Foreign Regions Commission and is a member of the Fateh Central Committee in Ramallah. I first met Dr. Muhasien in 2008 while he was Governor of Nablus. After a two year term as Governor, Dr. Muhasien was transfered to Bethlehem, and then to Ramallah and his current position. For his current post he travels to foreign countries on Fateh diplomatic and public relations delegations in order to develop relations between the Ramallah-based Palestinian Government and foreign regimes. In this August 7, 2010 interview in his Ramallah office, Dr. Muhasien shares the history of his service as Governor of Nablus from 2007-2009 at which time rival gangs and political groups ruled the city by force, as well as his work with the Fateh Foreign Regions Commission in creating a future independent state of Palestine.

Audio is currently being translated. Check back often.


Tariq Jarrar: The Freedom Theatre of Jenin

This interview was conducted outside the entrance to the Freedom Theatre of Jenin in early August 2010 with Tariq Jarrar, a native resident of Jenin and active member of the Freedom Theatre. Jarrar first became involved in theater when he was recruited to act in a play produced by a joint Palestinian/French initiative that toured in Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Bethlehem. He was subsequently active in theater activities while studying as an undergraduate in Jenin. After his return from further studies in Dubai, the once fledgling Freedom Theatre had become a hub of activity since its re-founding by Juliano Mer Khamis, Jonatan Stanczak and Zakaria Zubeidi in 2006 (All formerly interviewed on CrossTalk). While Jarrar describes the virtue of the theatrical arts in terms of Palestinian culture and political progress since the end of the Second Intifada, a mileu of Arabic, German, and English in the background of the recording stands testament to the success and international popularity of the Theatre. On that August day, the Theatre was preparing for a concert by the Palestinian hip hop group DAM (formerly interviewed on CrossTalk), demonstrating the cultural assets that the Theatre brings to a town once mired in the depths of armed conflict.

image: CrossTalk