"I am 100 percent Palestinian and 100 percent Jewish."
April 4, 2011 11:44 PM   Subscribe

Israeli actor and political activist Juliano Mer-Khamis, born to a Jewish mother and an Arab Christian father, was killed on Monday outside the theater which he founded in a refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin.
posted by beisny (30 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by Corduroy at 12:00 AM on April 5, 2011


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posted by humanfont at 12:16 AM on April 5, 2011


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posted by StrangeTikiGod at 12:23 AM on April 5, 2011


Haaretz link has ads that play sound.
posted by ryanrs at 12:59 AM on April 5, 2011


Tragic on so many levels.

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posted by yiftach at 2:24 AM on April 5, 2011


Makes me wonder seriously if it was a false-flag operation.
posted by Malor at 3:20 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Makes me wonder seriously if it was a false-flag operation.

Why? The Palestinian bigwigs have just as much to lose if peace breaks out as the Israeli bigwigs.
posted by Slap*Happy at 3:55 AM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Makes me wonder seriously if it was a false-flag operation.

Doubt it. Most likely one of the many extremist anti-Fatah groups.
posted by atrazine at 4:29 AM on April 5, 2011


why is it that we put up "explanations" when in fact nothing is for sure at this point?
http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=215116
posted by Postroad at 5:03 AM on April 5, 2011


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posted by Mngo at 5:26 AM on April 5, 2011


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posted by milestogo at 5:57 AM on April 5, 2011


Malor wrote: Makes me wonder seriously if it was a false-flag operation.

Slap*Happy wrote: Why? The Palestinian bigwigs have just as much to lose if peace breaks out as the Israeli bigwigs.

Call me Mr Sceptic, but I don't think that a rousing session of improv theatre is going to bring peace to the Middle East. Postroad's link says his theatre had been firebombed previously, after leaflets were distributed in the refugee camp describing Mer- Khamis as a fifth column and calling for his death. He was obviously a marked man, for whatever reason - his politics, his choice of friends, or the fact that he was promoting secular dramas in a region where everything has religious and political significance.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:03 AM on April 5, 2011


Joe in Australia: "Call me Mr Sceptic, but I don't think that a rousing session of improv theatre is going to bring peace to the Middle East."

It can't hurt. Watch the video in the FPP. This was far more than "improv theater."

He was teaching the children of Jenin to think outside of the restrictive status quo imposed on them by their religion and society. The theater showed kids that mingling the sexes isn't a bad thing. They put on shows like Animal Farm. An interesting, I daresay even wise choice for a people yearning for the freedom to rule themselves -- the play teaches that corruption in leadership will unerringly poison and derail a revolution. There's certainly no shortage of corruption in Hamas and Fatah.

We carry the lessons we learn as children with us throughout our lives.
According to Mer-Khamis, the Freedom Theatre helps “provide opportunities for the children and youth of Jenin Refugee Camp to develop the skills, self-knowledge and confidence which would empower them to challenge present realities and to take control of their future.” Despite all of his work for the Palestinian people, extremists were critical of his drama school and community theatre, believing it to be a threat to their Islamic values.

Of course, many Israelis probably weren't thrilled that he was in favor of a one-state solution for the region, where Palestinians and Jews lived together as equals under a single rule.

He was teaching a message of hope, tolerance, better resistance and pluralism to an audience whose population has been manipulated by its leaders and often sent to die as victims and martyrs. It is worth keeping in mind that one person can can move the world, given the right circumstances.
posted by zarq at 7:07 AM on April 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


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posted by lalochezia at 7:17 AM on April 5, 2011


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posted by PepperMax at 7:22 AM on April 5, 2011


In his own words....
posted by bq at 7:24 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The theater has its own YouTube channel.
posted by zarq at 7:34 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


1. the one state solution is impossible--would you give up the US to merge with another nation because others thought you should?
2. clearly there were people in the Palestinian side as well as the Israeli side that hated him and what he stood for.
3. the notion that some try to bridge the two cultures to try to bring about peace is not new in that region. Many years ago, the writer who used his concentration camp number as his pen name on his novels and testified at the Eichman trial was engaged with his wife in that activity\\
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/The_House_of_Dolls
4. It is true that we embed early and lessons taught in childhood often stay with us. However, Hamas schools programs have a lot of anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli lessons at the earliest levels of schooling...look this up for yourself, and there is enough of that to counter the rather meager attempts by peace activists.
posted by Postroad at 7:35 AM on April 5, 2011


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posted by liza at 7:40 AM on April 5, 2011


Postroad: "1. the one state solution is impossible--would you give up the US to merge with another nation because others thought you should?

I agree that it's impossible.

Don't mistake my explanation to Joe as some sort of endorsement, please.

2. clearly there were people in the Palestinian side as well as the Israeli side that hated him and what he stood for.

As was clearly stated in my comment, yes.

3. the notion that some try to bridge the two cultures to try to bring about peace is not new in that region. Many years ago, the writer who used his concentration camp number as his pen name on his novels and testified at the Eichman trial was engaged with his wife in that activity\\
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/The_House_of_Dolls


I am aware of this.

I was responding to Joe in Australia, who dismissed the idea that it could have any effect on the peace process. I disagree. Creative works that carry a message serve an additional purpose to that which I listed earlier: they spread to a wider audience. In this case, they educate people outside the region by familiarizing them with the situation outside of the usual media /news channels. Interviews with children who are choosing to turn away from martyrdom also carry their own message.

Eventually, short term peace will come to the region one of two ways: either by being imposed by outside forces or through agreements reached between the Palestinians and Israelis. The latter process is pretty much the only way a long-term peace will be achieved and maintained.

Creative works that carry a message to the world could conceivably help spur an imposed, short-term peace from outside sympathizers. In theory.

4. It is true that we embed early and lessons taught in childhood often stay with us. However, Hamas schools programs have a lot of anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli lessons at the earliest levels of schooling...look this up for yourself, and there is enough of that to counter the rather meager attempts by peace activists."

Okay, first of all, Jenin is in the Northern West Bank. Fatah has been battling to retain control of the West Bank for at least the last three years, while Hamas remains in control of Gaza. Jenin and West Bank school programs are not all run by Hamas, and the education that the Palestinians receive in the West Bank is not standardized. Nor do those curricula all contain the same lessons. Some of those schools are run by Fatah and others are run and/or supported by the UN, some by USAID.

I am quite familiar with the anti-Israel and antisemitic messages being taught to many Palestinian children by Hamas, and in various Arab textbooks. One way to fight them is by countering them, through alternate messages, and encouraging familiarity, respect and tolerance of others.

If you subscribe to the idea that the situation is hopeless, then there's no point in trying. But I do not. I believe that more positive messages can make a difference.

That said, I am not convinced that Mer-Khamis was promoting positive messages. He was encouraging the Palestinians to fight and take up arms against what he said outright was an Israeli oppressor. He felt that a one-state solution would be just. I cannot even say if his overall goal was to teach his students and audiences not to be martyrs.

But stories often can be used to teach lessons powerfully. In ways that words in a textbook cannot. It seems stupid to dismiss them and that power out of hand -- especially since they are being presented to an audience who wants to believe.
posted by zarq at 8:15 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just watched "Little Drummer Girl", thats how i recognized his face and that bothers.
who did this thing and why?

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posted by clavdivs at 10:00 AM on April 5, 2011


This is so sad.

Yet, this murder has led me to the theatre's youtube page, and what I am seeing there is devastating and hopeful to me and for the first time in quite a while, I remember why I want to dedicate my life to the theatre.

Theatre for social justice and theatre as a vehicle for community-building and theatre as one of the ultimate, undeniable YES's to our shared humanity.

Theatre as a space where we share our breath and our minutes together and we sit next to other alive human beings and watch as living human bodies bare their living human souls and no matter what story is being told it is also and always the story of all of us in that space together, hoping to share an experience that helps us understand how to live our human lives.

The girls in the auto-play video, playing theatre games and doing theatre exercises and talking of how the theatre is the only place they are allowed to play and to BE. knowing that their bodies and voices are their own, at least while they are there.

The boys and their explicitly stated hope of becoming actors instead of martyrs, their appreciation of wanting to hold more of humanity inside of them than just themselves.

Fuck.
it looks like Mer-Khamis was already making a difference.

I hope and pray (to something I'm not sure I believe in) that his work continues, and that these children never forget that their bodies and minds and voices are their own and that they are nobody's weapons and nobody's slaves.

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posted by mer2113 at 10:03 AM on April 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


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posted by sierray at 11:27 AM on April 5, 2011


Perhaps, as suggested, his staging of pigs in the drama based on Orwell might have been the cause animal Farm)

http://israelmatzav.blogspot.com/2011/04/jewish-israeli-arab-actor-murdered-in.html
posted by Postroad at 1:19 PM on April 5, 2011


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posted by anateus at 3:41 PM on April 5, 2011


The Palestinian bigwigs have just as much to lose if peace breaks out as the Israeli bigwigs.

I think they're all getting played by the corporations that are making millions off the war.
posted by small_ruminant at 8:24 PM on April 5, 2011


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posted by lipsum at 11:12 AM on April 6, 2011


Man Charged Over West Bank Director's Killing
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:11 PM on April 6, 2011


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posted by cell divide at 4:27 PM on April 6, 2011


Bloodied, bound and paraded on YouTube... then hanged hours later: Horrific fate of peace activist kidnapped in Gaza
A peace activist, blogger and occasional freelance journalist, Arrigoni was a well-known figure in Gaza - and well-liked.

He was frequently seen clenching a pipe between his teeth and wearing a beret in a likeness to Che Guevara, as well as bracelets in the red, black, green and white colors of the Palestinian flag.

Arrigoni was an outspoken critic of Israel, but in an interview in 2008 he also also criticised Muslim extremists for trying to impose a hardline version of Islam in Gaza.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:40 PM on April 16, 2011


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