I was contacted by Jen Marlow from Seattle (filmmaker, writer, theatre director and human rights activist) some time ago: Would I like to add my name to a Global Call To Theatrical Action? Would I stage the play created to mark the anniversary of the Black October 2000, would I tell the story of , Aseel Asleh, a 17 yrs old boy, a Palestinian citizens of Israel and a leading participant in a peace program called Seeds of Peace? Will I tell of his death when he was shot point blank in the neck by Israeli police at a demostration outside his village?
My heart has always been slightly cracked since I started to barely understand the Palestinian Cry and the horror of the European responsibilty in the messy story of the Israel/Palestaine conflict. Jen, the writer knew him and his family well. 'There is a Field' is a play about Aseel's life & death. All words culled entirely from interviews with Nardeen, his sister and other family members, emails written between Aseel and friends from Seeds of Peace
Would I?... Isn't theatre about telling stories? Truths? The voice of the street and the voice of the private room? The 'society's soul's voice', once said a teacher. Isn't this what's all about really?
Yes, I will. It's going to be a play of voices! A choir of words!- I said- Of many voices!
Chapter Arts Center will too!, I told her later, on Tuesday 14th December. I'll come on my way to visit Israel/Palestine - said Jen.
Now, would you?... Would we?... Why? Why not?
A bit of back history: Sept. 2000 - Ariel Sharon, chair of the Israeli right-wing Likud party visited the Haram al-Sharif compound, site of the al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was an incendiary political act in the wake of the failed Camp David summit. Protests begun in Jerusalem, soon spread to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Over the course of that day and the days that followed, tens of Palestinian demostrators were killed or injured by Israeli security forces. The demostrations intensified, eventually labeled as the Second Intifada.
Black October 2000 - Palestinians inside Israel demostrated in large numbers in solidarity. Israel police used live ammunition against unarmed protestors: hundreds injured, 12 Palestinian citizens of Israel killed. Aseel was killed. No eyewitnesses, including the Israeli policeman at the scene, claimed that Aseel had been violent in anyway.
There is a Global Call To Theatrical Action, the phone is ringing...