At 7:30 p.m. on Wed., May 2, Tacomans have a rare opportunity to hear Abed Abusrour of Palestine, the charismatic internationally known founder and director of the Al Rowwad Cultural & Theater Society in Bethlehem, Palestine. -- Dr. Abusrour will speak at the Fircrest United Methodist Church on his concept of "Beautiful Resistance." -- The Tacoma Weekly devoted an article to Dr. Abusrour's upcoming visit on Apr. 25. -- Last week Radio France Internationale quoted Dr. Abusrour's comments on Israel's interference with hundreds of tourists barred from entering the West Bank to participate in a cultural festival. -- BACKGROUND: -- Abusrour uses activities like sports, the arts, and theater to give children forms of self-expression that are an alternative to violence. -- He complements these programs by training parents and community members in non-violent resistance. -- Abusrour has written: "Arts are such amazing tools and ways that shows what beauty and humanity we have inside everyone of us, illuminating us in the darkness of injustice, ignorance, and intolerance. . . . Arts make people closer to each other. . . . They are like love, showing to us the beauty of those who we love and masking everything else." -- Abed Abusrour was elected to an Ashoka Fellowship in 2006. -- He has spoken before in Tacoma, in 2008....
WHAT: "Beautiful Resistance"
WHO: Dr. Abdelfattah Abusrour, founder and director of the Al Rowwad Cultural & Theater Society ( http://www.alrowwad-acts.ps/ ) in Bethlehem, Palestine.
WHEN: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 -- 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Fircrest United Methodist Church, 1018 Columbia, Fircrest, WA (really on South 19th near the corner of Pearl St.)
Sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace, Tacoma Chapter
PALESTINIAN BRINGS 'BEAUTIFUL RESISTANCE' TO TACOMA
April 25, 2012
Palestinian Abdelfattah Abusrour, director of Al Rowwad Cultural and Theater Center at the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, Palestine will be in Tacoma on Wednesday evening, May 2 to talk about his work with youth and women.
Abusrour was born in the Aida Refugee Camp and was one of the few fortunate people to get out of camp and get a university education overseas. A founding member, co-writer, and actor of Paris Nord Theater in Paris, he abandoned his earlier career as a professor in biochemistry to share his knowledge and love of the arts with the children of Palestine.
Once a victim of the daily brutality that characterizes life in Palestinian refugee camps, he now teaches children in the camps nonviolent self-expression using arts, theatre, and sports. He is the founder of the Beautiful Resistance philosophy that counters what he calls “the ugliness of occupation, violence, and violations of human rights.” A major focus of his work is to give youth the tools to express themselves creatively, thereby giving them nonviolent outlets to express their feelings of fear, rage, hopelessness, and despair.
Abusrour says, “I want them to see that cultural resistance, popular resistance, and unarmed struggle can create results on the ground. I want to present this other image of Palestine because, after all, more than 90 percent of Palestinians have never carried a gun in their lives -- so why should they always be portrayed as these fanatic armed people?”
His program uses these activities to impart a sense of tolerance and empathy, and it helps the children develop nonviolent communication patterns. He complements these activities by training parents and community members in nonviolent resistance. "The children themselves, in time, become promoters of peace," he says.
He has pioneered numerous programs through the Center: educational supports for children with learning differences; the first mobile Beautiful Resistance Training Program (through performing and visual arts); libraries in various refugee camps and underserviced villages; First Images for Life (a program allowing women and children to narrate their own version of his/her story and history); the first Palestinian Folktale Festival; the Outdoor Film Festival in the Aida refugee camp, where films are projected onto the Separation Wall; Sports for Social Change Program for refugee girls and women; and a higher education student fund.
Several local people have visited Aida Camp and volunteered at Al Rowwad. Nancy Farrell, a retired school teacher who substitutes with the Tacoma Public Schools, spent two weeks volunteering and says, “I believe so much in this work, because he teaches children how to handle the unbearable stress they have lived with for years.”
--Sponsored by the Tacoma Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, Abusrour will speak on May 2 at 7:30 pm at Fircrest United Methodist Church, 1018 Columbia (on South 19th near corner of Pearl Street) in Fircrest.
ISRAEL AND AIRLINES BLOCK HUNDREDS FROM WELCOME TO PALESTINE
By Ruth Michaelson
** Hundreds of activists were prevented from boarding flights to Israel and an estimated 43 were arrested or deported upon arrival at Tel Aviv's airport on Sunday because they declared their attentions of going to the Palestinian territories. **
Radio France Internationale
April 16, 2012
RAMALLAH -- For the second consecutive year, the Welcome to Palestine event invited people to come to Palestine and state honestly their intention when arriving at Ben Gurion airport. Between 1,500-2,000 activists were expected to attend, in order to highlight the difficulty in visiting the West Bank even for tourism.
Israel on Monday said it had stopped 79 activists at the airport and that 21 had been deported.
Among those refusing deportation were 43 French nationals, eight Britons, two Italians, three Canadians, one Spanish national and one person from the U.S.
Airlines refused to allow at least 300 people to take flights to go to the Palestinian territories.
It is estimated that 60 per cent of would-be participants were prevented from boarding their flights in airports across Europe, America, Australia, and Canada.
Several dozen staged a demonstration at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport on being refused the right to take their flights.
By Sunday evening just three activists had reached Bethlehem.
Israeli authorities were on high alert prior to the event, issuing a blacklist to airlines such as Lufthansa, Jet2, and Easyjet, resulting in large numbers of activists having their tickets cancelled pre-emptively.
One of the three successful arrivals, Tamia from Lyon, told a press conference in Bethlehem on Sunday why the group decided to come.
“I don’t think it’s right that Palestinians aren’t allowed to have visitors," she said. "We’re not criminals . . . we’re students, we’re kids.”
Six-hundred and 50 police were deployed to Ben Gurion airport to prevent Israeli activists from gathering to greet any arrivals. An estimated 11 Israelis were arrested inside the terminal.
Israel claimed that the activists were “radicals” intent on delegitimizing Israel, but organizers insisted Sunday that their intentions were simply to visit Palestine for a week of tourism and humanitarian events.
Abdel Fattah Abu Srour, a coordinator and spokesman for Welcome to Palestine told the press on Sunday that Israel’s reaction to the event helped their cause: “What they are doing is a big gift to us in denying entry to other people, and saying to them that you are not allowed to be truthful, and what is now the image of these Israelis,” he said.