This month Zoe Lafferty, Associate Director of The Jenin Freedom Theatre and Ahmed Tobasi, a Palestinian actor with the Freedom Theatre have been touring Britain, screening shorts films, documentaries and discussing cultural resistance.
The Freedom Theatre was built in the heart of the Palestinian resistance in Jenin Refugee Camp in 2006. The aim was to create a political and artistic movement of theatre and filmmakers who could fight the Israeli Occupation through art and use cultural resistance as a tool to fight oppression.
Tower Hamlets Jenin Friendship Association are proud to be hosting Ahmed at the iconic Wilton’s Music Hall, London on the evening of Monday 23rd June for the final event of the tour. There will be an interactive performance involving members of the audience.
Doors open: 6.30pm
Peformance starts: 7.30pm
Tickets are £5 on the door and all proceeds will go towards Tower Hamlets Jenin Friendship Association.
Palestinian food and refreshments will be available from the wonderful Maramia Cafe from 6.30pm.
We need your assistance! A motion to officially twin Tower Hamlets with Jenin is going to full council on Wednesday 27th November. It has the support of the Mayor and cabinet but also requires the support of the ruling Labour group. Make sure your councillors are supporting the motion by amending this letter as appropriate and emailing it to the Tower Hamlets Councillors (addresses below):
I am writing to you to ask for your support for the motion to be proposed at the Council meeting on Wednesday, to twin the borough of Tower Hamlets with the Province of Jenin in Palestine.
I believe that such a twinning would be of great mutual benefit to the people in both areas. The Palestinian people of Jenin are reaching out for international relationships and support and in my view the vast majority of people in Tower Hamlets would like to enter into such a relationship. At the same time, this would be of benefit to the people here in Tower Hamlets, as they learn about the lives of the Palestinian people, and our schools, colleges and other community groups can be enriched by the connections made.
Such links can also contribute to the pursuance of social justice in this part of the world, as twinning can provide an expression of hope that one day all the people there, whether they be Muslim, Jewish, Christian, or of no faith, may live together peacefully.
As a Tower Hamlets resident, I therefore hope that you will support this motion.
[Your name and address]
Please select the relevant addresses for your area or simply write to all the councillors:
The Mayor of the City of Jenin has written to the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, as part of our campaign to get Tower Hamlets twinned with Jenin, to endorse the initiative! In August he received a delegation of councillors and community workers and activists from Tower Hamlets, as the links between our two areas grow.
You can read the letters (in English and in Arabic) here.
The council of the village of ‘Araba in Jenin Province, which was one of the places visited by the recent THJFA delegation, has written to the Council of Tower Hamlets to support the idea of twinning the two areas.
You can find their letter here (Arabic with English translation on the second page).
On the 23rd November, the Britain Palestine Twinning Network will be holdings its Annual General Meeting in Northampton.
You can download a programme for the conference here.
A moving meeting with 3 Jenin prisoners who had been released after 20 years in Israeli jails.
In August 2013, Councillors Ohid Ahmed (Deputy Mayor), Shahed Ali, Rania Khan and Lutfa Begum visited Jenin on a visit organised by THJFA. Following a brief stay in occupied East Jerusalem, the delegation proceeded to Jenin where they spent days learning about the city and the camp of Jenin and the situation of the Palestinians living there. Talal Dweikat, the Governor of Jenin, who visited Tower Hamlets last year, invited and received the delegation.
In Jenin, the delegation were welcomed by the Governor of the Jenin Province, Talal Dweikat, who visited Tower Hamlets in 2012, and the Mayor of Jenin Town and the Mufti, along with THJFA’s partner Yousef Awad of the Jenin Creative Cultural Centre.
The delegation were invited to attend the celebration of the release of three Palestinian prisoners from Jenin, who were freed from Israeli jails as part of the build up to the current negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. A fuller report and pictures of the visit are on the Pictures page of the website.
Paul McCaffrey, who blogs on politics and current affairs, recently interviewed Sybil Cock, the Convenor of the Tower Hamlets Jenin Friendship Association. You can find Paul’s interview here, along with short video extracts. You can watch the full interview on youtube by clicking here.
Paul’s blog can be found at http://mccaffrey22.wordpress.com/
In November 2012 we hosted Yousef Awad, the Head of the Jenin Cultural Centre and Talal Dweikat, the Governor of Jenin. They had a busy and varied trip, visiting local schools, cultural centres and politicians in Tower Hamlets. They also gave speeches at the National Demonstration against the Israeli aggression in Gaza and at the PSC’s annual lobby of Parliament. Their trip was extremely successful, and our guests spoke to hundreds of people in Tower Hamlets and wider London, explaining the truth about Palestine. You can find several pictures of their visit here.