So here it begins; the 2016 Freedom Ride. The TH Freedom Crew met-up with the other 25-odd internationals, who they will be spending the next ten-days on tour with, at the Jenin Cinema Guest House.
They’re a healthy mix of Germans, Swiss, Australians, Portuguese, Ukranians, and of course Brits and Palestinians. There’s also a troupe of Indian actors who’ll be accompanying them.
So trying to remember everyone’s name would be a challenge, but fortunately there’s a game for that. One hour later and everyone had just about managed remember them, but more importantly the bonding had begun. The Freedom Bus Riders will spend the next ten-days together living in simple and sometimes difficult conditions.
The group continued with the warm-ups at the Freedom Theatre itself to get into the spirit of what was to come.
Hackney-based actor Doug Holton reports:
“It was The first time the bus group had been together. We did exercises and played theatre games to orientate ourselves and get to know each other – trust is the key to a successful tour.
“During the Freedom Ride we’ll be using Playback Theatre where participants see their stories, thoughts and feelings acted out by actors. ‘This is what happened, this is what I felt, this is what I did. It matters; others understand; this is not just me.’
“The format makes dialogue and empathy easier and more likely.
“We’re being treated to warm-up sessions by the Freedom Theatre and an Indian acting group Jananatia Manch from Delhi, who gave a very powerful performance of their play about domestic violence.
The Refugee camp
The group followed up with a sobering tour around the Jenin Refugee Camp where the Freedom Theatre has been based since its inception.
Mary Brodin sent back this report:
“The Jenin Refugee Camp Junior Football Team is now missing two players. Both were killed by Israeli Occupation Force soldiers (IOF) in the last two years.
“On the top right of the picture is Ezz, aged 18, shot dead in his family home, falsely accused of making firework explosions.
“The second victim, Yousef aged 17 (top left) was shot by a rooftop sniper as he returned home one night after buying hummus for breaking the fast in Ramadam.
“The refugee camp is regularly invaded by the IOF with up to 400 soldiers who circle the camp in two rings and then lay siege to the target home.”
Tomorrow the Bus heads to the Jordan Valley for a few days, then the refugee camps of Bethlehem and finally the South Hebron Hills.
Follow the blog to follow the tour.