Yesterday I attended a podcast from the Freedom Theatre in Jenin. I visited the theatre in 2017 when I was in Palestine and was impressed by the hope and energy coming from it. In the podcast yesterday, although the members reported their children were traumatised by what they had seen, their homes ransacked and friends arrested, they were determined to continue their work organising a series of children’s events with clowns and stories and to repair the theatre.
In the middle of the Israeli action against Jenin last week, Mazin Qumseiyeh, founder and director of the Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability quoted in his weekly newsletter this passage from the work of Howard Zinn:
“There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment we will continue to see. We forget how often in this century we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people's thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasise in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places -- and there are so many -- where people behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory."
Keith Scott, member of the Quaker faith
Date: Monday 10th July 2023