60 years to the Nakba
The campaign asked to deal directly with the political and social context 60 years after the great events of 1948. During those years, the Jewish and Palestinian national collectives developed their own (and opposite) narratives and social ethos and passed them on one generation to the next, feeding the ever growing gap in the capacity to understand the needs of the other, to recognize its existence and to act in order to repair the injustices of the past. These 60 years have been characterized by the coming about of a unique discourse centered around militarization and single-identity shaping, having destructive consequences on the possibility of nurturing different progressive voices within society.
Our goal was to deal with the 60 years, but in a way that challenged the dominant discourses – not only denouncing past and present injustices, but underlining the relevance of these injustices today and how they are to be dealt with in order to construe a more just tomorrow. From the 16th to the 21st of July, 60 youth joined us in Jaffa for the 6 day campaign. As always, base camp was set in a local school (the Arab Democratic School of Jaffa), and a camp kitchen was set up for meals.
The youth arrived on the 16th and were divided into their respective work groups, which they had chosen in the recruitment stage. The work groups were as follows:
Awareness group: the members of this group began to collect testimonies even before the summer campaign, and essentially worked on the ‘untold stories’, exposing them in the public space in four different public stands. The idea of the stands was to expose these stories, but at the same time to interact with the comers and goers, inviting them to add their own untold stories to the ones already there.
Language group: this group worked on the use of space in the building of collective memory. Working solely in the streets, they did a tour of Jaffa, went to shop owners to propose to translate their shop signs to Arabic, did graffiti with Arabic words all across town and worked on the history of 4 different sites in Jaffa, preparing a sign telling the history of the site.
Video group: the youth produced three short videos; one stop-action animation film with clay figures representing the concepts of freedom and friendship, one compilation of street interviews about people’s experiences as Jaffians, and one short scripted drama detailing the troubles facing a girl with Jewish/Arab parents obligated to serve in the Israeli army. The films were screened at the final event.
Theatre group: youth explored ways to address the conflict through a variety of methods, from improvisation to psychodrama. Each youth created a theatrical sketch that tackled the socio-political impacts of the ongoing Nakba; the pieces ranged in content from the current situation in Gaza, to parents who did not understand or support their children’s changing views. The pieces were performed at the final event.
Music group: youth worked on songs and lyrics that dealt with the issue of identity oppression. Some members joined the Awareness group in their public stands and did street performances. The main venue for presenting the group’s work was the final event, in which they performed songs they had worked on and also took part in some of System Ali’s show.
The summer campaign ended in style with the final event in which, alongside performer artists such as DAM, System Ali, Dani Amir and Rana Na’ara, all groups exposed the work they had done during the previous days.