Thursday, November 30, 2023

The Gaza Monologues - guest post by Ali Abu Yassin

Last night, we gave an online reading of THE GAZA MONOLOGUES as part of the International Day of Solidarity with Gaza. The monologues were written by young people in Gaza in 2010, in the aftermath of the first assault, guided by Ashtar Theatre. We were lucky enough to partner with Ashtar in 2014 and 2016, so their cause is particularly significant for us. Today we are publishing a letter from Ali Abu Yassin, who is one of Ashtar's directors, working in Gaza.  

Ali Abu Yassin, in the wreckage of Gaza
My friend

When I read your letters asking me to write a word about Gaza, I usually answer you immediately. This time, I was silent for days; the words escaped me. Why? Maybe because of the horror of what we are living, because early this morning, my family and I miraculously survived a crazy missile that destroyed our neighbour’s house, and threw all the rubble onto our house? Or because I feel that the pictures I see are more eloquent than all the words? or because I am no longer very convinced of the usefulness of talking, especially since we have been talking about the justice of our cause, in the midst of the daily killing, siege, starvation, and state terrorism which we have been subjected to over 75 years; with no answer?

My friend, yesterday, the Israeli occupation forces, bombed the Baptist Hospital in Gaza, and so far more than 500 people have been martyred. They were cut into pieces and became a pile of meat.

As playwrights, we know that one of the cruelest theatrical tragedies is the play Antigone, in which King Creon refuses to bury Antigone’s brother, and from here the dialogue between them revolves around what it means to be human, what is dignity, what is value, what are rights, even after death. Antigone sees the body of her brother in front of her and cannot bear leaving him unburied. While the bodies that we saw after the Baptist Hospital massacre, without heads, hands, or feet, are the new tragedy of our era.

An old woman at the rubble of the hospital addressed a nurse asking him: “Son, give me that hand lying there. I recognize it from the ring. It is my daughter’s hand that I leaned on in the morning when she helped me sit on the chair to watch the news. That hand that turned on the TV for me. She greeted me and kissed my hand before leaving. That hand that always embraced me and patted my shoulder. That hand that combed my hair and always cut my nails. That hand, my son, was the source of all my strength in my last days. Let me give her my last kiss, so that it will spare me the need to have more of my daughter’s body.”

My friend, I do not know what more to write. If you consider this a word, then read it to your friends and give them my thanks and appreciation, because I know that free people with big hearts, human attitudes, and principles have become very few these days.

We will meet one day, when I am free like the rest of the inhabitants of this earth.

Ali Abu Yassin
October 18, 2023

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