With just one week remaining until The Freedom Theatre’s 2016 Freedom Ride begins, anticipation runs deep in the emotions of theatre members and international participants.
During the last weeks, Freedom Bus coordinators and affiliate groups have met with communities throughout the West Bank to prepare for the ride, determining where the theatre will perform and where workshops, cultural events and community work will take place.
From Jenin in the north, through the Jordan Valley, Nabi Saleh and Bethlehem to Hebron and the south Hebron Hills, international and Palestinian Freedom Riders will learn from the diverse lived experiences of marginalised Bedouins, villagers, city and refugee camp residents.
Mustafa Sheta, Freedom Ride coordinator and secretary of the Board of The Freedom Theatre, said he “considers the Freedom Ride to be one of the most significant cultural solidarity initiatives in Palestine.” With the aforementioned intentional selection of locations, Sheta stated, “The Freedom Ride goes to the most marginalised communities, whose residents are exposed to the toughest conditions of life, to participate in their daily circumstances. They get to directly see the strength of these people who are able to carry on with life and continue to struggle against the occupation and against the injustice.“
Participants will accompany communities in the building of a playground, rebuilding a demolished school, painting murals, planting vegetables and olive trees, as well as partake in political discussions and film screenings. Freedom Riders will also have the opportunity to engage with committee members who coordinate popular resistance in local communities and renowned activist and scholars such as Omar Barghouti and Mazin Qumsiyeh.
By offering an in-depth and highly personalised understanding of the daily experiences of Palestinians across the West Bank, the Freedom Ride will contribute to building relationships between international allies and communities in resistance, as well as strengthen connections between various activists and organisations involved in the transnational Palestine solidarity movement.
Beginning on March 21st, our blog will include day by day accounts of the 2016 Freedom Ride.