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On 6 September 2021 six Palestinian political prisoners freed themselves from the high security Gilboa prison in Israel. Two weeks later they were all found and brought back to prison. One of the six men, Zakaria al Zubeidi, was one of the founders of the Freedom Theater in Jenin.
In this podcast episode I speak with Mustafa Staiti, who is from the Jenin refugee camp, but currently lives in Holland, about the Freedom Theater and how the theater had an important impact on his life.
The theater activities in Jenin refugee camp started in the 90s with the work of a Jewish Israeli woman who was married to a Palestinian, her name was Arna Meir Khamis. She also established the Women in Black to protect Palestinian prisoners and Palestinians crossing checkpoints. Arna used to live with Mustafa and his family and was like a second mother to him. She died of cancer. Her son Juliano made the film Arna's children about the children in the refugee camp. One of the boys that features in this film is Zakaria al Zubeidi.
Later he became an important leader of the resistance in the refugee camp. He put down the weapons and together with a Swedish Jew, Jonathan Stanczak and Juliano Meir Khamis, they established the Freedom Theater in which theater was not only fun but also therapeutic.
To read more about the Freedom Theater you can go to their website:
You can also watch the full movie Arna's children on YouTube
Or check out the YouTube channel of the Freedom Theater
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