Israel denies Arab artists permits to join the March Freedom Ride

Press Release
The Freedom Theatre
Jenin Refugee Camp, Occupied Palestine
March 12, 2013 For immediate release
Israel denies Arab artists permits to join the March Freedom Ride

Ahmed Galai Ezzar and Zeid Khemiri are two rappers from Armada Bizerta, a revolutionary hip-hop group from Tunisia. Khalid Albaih is a political cartoonist from the Sudan – his stencils about the Arab Revolutions have appeared on streets and public squares throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Sondos Shabayek and Mona El Shimi are two Egyptian theatre makers, well known for developing the Tahrir Monologues – a series of solo pieces about the Eygptian revolution.
Ahmed, Zeid, Khalid, Sondos and Mona were planning to join the March Freedom Ride, a grassroots initiative of The Freedom Theatre’s Freedom Bus.
In order to gain permission for these artists to enter the West Bank of Occupied Palestine, The Freedom Theatre was required to submit permit applications to the Palestinian Ministry of Civil Affairs.
On March 11, after months of waiting, The Freedom Theatre finally received notice that these applications had been denied by the Israeli Civil Administration.
Events such as this serve as yet another stark reminder about the humiliating system under which we live: That our own Palestinian Ministries must coordinate with, and obey Israel.
– Let us continue to fight for the day when our freedom will permit fellow poets, musicians, artists and writers to travel freely and unhindered to our historic homeland, says Alia Alrosan, coordinator for the Freedom Bus.

MARCH FREEDOM RIDE
From March 17-29, students, artists and activists from across Palestine and abroad will join the people of the Jordan Valley and South Hebron Hills in their struggle against Israel’s forced expulsion of Palestinian communities in Area C.
This ride, organized by The Freedom Theatre’s Freedom Bus together with several grassroots organizations, will occur in solidarity with Palestinian farmer and Bedouin communities who are struggling against attempts to forcibly expel them from their traditional homelands. The March Freedom Ride will include building and reconstruction work, protective presence activity, guided walks, home-stays, interactive workshops, educational talks and cultural events. Through Playback Theatre, residents of the Jordan Valley and South Hebron Hills will share personal accounts about the realities of life and resistance under settler colonialism, military occupation and state-sanctioned apartheid.

ABOUT THE FREEDOM BUS
The Freedom Bus project of The Freedom Theatre uses interactive theatre and cultural activism to bear witness, raise awareness and create alliances in Occupied Palestine. In practice, this project offers a unique opportunity for activists, artists, writers, photographers and many others to come together and establish grassroots contact with communities engaged in day-to-day struggle to survive and resist occupation. Over the past year, the Freedom Bus has engaged over 2000 people in creative acts of community building and cultural resistance throughout Occupied Palestine.
FOR INTERVIEWS
Alia Alrosan (Arabic speaking)
E: alia@thefreedomtheatre.org
T: +972(0)599304523
Ben Rivers (English speaking)
E: ben@thefreedomtheatre.org
T: +972(0)592-902256
T: +972(0)544-930542

LINKS
Web: www.freedombus.ps
Blog: freedombuspalestine.wordpress.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thefreedombus
Twitter: @FreedomBusPal

General Press Release

Press Release
The Freedom Bus, Jenin Refugee Camp, Occupied Palestine.
For immediate release
For further information contact media@thefreedomtheatre.org or call +972 20 595 871 105

Against all odds, the Freedom Bus will embark on ground-breaking West Bank ride

From 23 Sept-1 Oct 2012, The Freedom Bus, an initiative of the Freedom Theatre, will embark on a historic and ground-breaking solidarity ride through the West Bank. This project comes amidst widespread social unrest in the West Bank.[1]

Inspired by the Freedom Rides of the Civil Rights era in the USA, the Freedom Bus promotes cultural resistance, and will use concerts, university seminars, Playback theatre performances, community visits, hip hop, and giant puppet shows to give voice to life under occupation.[2] The Freedom Bus has been endorsed by well-known cultural and political figures like John Berger, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou,  Judith Butler and Noam Chomsky.[3]

The ride will embark despite challenges over the last year; including continual harassment from the Israeli army [4] following the assassination of the Freedom Theatre founder Juliano Mer Khamis in April 2011 [5] and the ongoing imprisonment of co-founder Zakaria Zubeidi,  without charge [6]. However, the Palestinian actors, activists, photographers, musicians and bloggers taking part in the Freedom Ride are determined to spread their unique brand of cultural activism throughout the West Bank.

Judith Butler, author, philosopher and supporter of the ride said, “The Freedom Bus ride represents the aspirations of the Palestinian people to be freed from an illegal occupation, to exercise rights of self-determination, and to demand justice after decades of oppression. The Freedom Bus ride represents as well the freedom of movement and a movement for freedom.”

Details and background info:

  • The Freedom Bus Ride: From 23 Sept-1 Oct  Palestinians and international allies  will take part in a 9-day solidarity ride through the West Bank. The ride will include concerts, community visits, university seminars and theatre performances about daily life under Israeli occupation.
  • The Freedom Bus: uses interactive theatre and cultural activism to bear witness, raise awareness and build alliances throughout occupied Palestine and beyond .
  • The Freedom Bus is coordinated by The Freedom Theatre: a Palestinian theatre and multi-media centre based in Jenin Refugee Camp. A range of other Palestinian community based organizations and associations are involved in  Freedom Bus initiative. [Website: http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org/]

Notes to Editors:
[1] For reports on unrest in the West Bank, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18695632

[2] An itinerary of the tour is available at: http://www.freedombus.ps/freedom-bus-itinerary/

[3] A full list of endorsements can be found here: http://www.freedombus.ps/endorsements/

[4] See Human Rights Watch statement: http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/07/27/israelpalestinian-authority-theater-group-hit-both-sides

[5]News reports of Juliano Mer Khamis’s assassination can be found here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/04/israeli-peace-activist-shot-dead

[6] Press releases about  Zakaria Zubeidi’s death strike and imprisonment can be found here: http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org/news.php?id=279

Email: media@thefreedomtheatre.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thefreedombus
Website: www.freedombus.ps
Twitter: @FreedomBusPal