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Freedom Theatre founder killed

Horrible: one of the founders of Palestine’s Freedom Theatre has been killed in Jenin, in the West Bank.

Juliano Mer Khamis, an Israeli of Arab and Jewish parentage, was shot dead by masked gunmen in Jenin. (NOTE: before you make an assumption, this almost certainly was nothing to do with Israel, and indeed a member of Hamas has apparently been arrested).

The Freedom Theatre is a great initiative, building peace through creative expression (and, crucially, giving young people something to pour energy into that isn’t the intifada). When Cal and I visited Palestine in 2004 we visited the Al Rowwad Theatre Society in Aida camp, which was affiliated with the Freedom Theatre. It was a very humble environment, but everyone we met was committed to using performance and creativity as building blocks to a greater peace. As a result of that visit I’ve been on the main Freedom Theatre mailing list for years, and in January got their announcement of their new show, an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.

Needless to say, this is a terrible event. From this distance I don’t expect to ever know or understand how it came to happen. It is clear however that the path to peace, difficult enough already, has just been made more challenging.

Mother Jones has a good article, covering Khamis’ acting and filmmaking as well.