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'I am asking all the artists in this world...

all the friends around the world, you have to unite, and we have to fight not just for Palestinians, but for this planet, for humanity, for each community and each country still under colonisation or occupation'

AHMED TOBASI

CURRENT ARTISTIC DIRECTOR,

THE FREEDOM THEATRE

JOIN THE
GLOBAL CALL FOR
CREATIVE PROTEST

Image From Artists Against Apartheid

JOIN THE
GLOBAL CALL FOR
CREATIVE PROTEST

JOIN THE
GLOBAL CALL FOR
CREATIVE PROTEST

This global call is inspired by the practice of Cultural Resistance used by The Freedom Theatre and the Cultural Resistance March that took place in New York at the beginning of 2024.

Organised by the theatre and performing arts community in New York, they urged theatre-makers, artists, musicians, journalists, writers, and entertainers to march in solidarity with Palestinians and fellow Palestinian artists.

INTRODUCTION

      The creative protest in New York was organized by individual theatre-makers and FRIENDS OF THE FREEDOM THEATRE USA, NOOR THEATRE, AL LÍMITE COLLECTIVE, NATIONAL QUEER THEATRE, THEATRE OF THE OPPRESSED NYC and QUEERS FOR A LIBERATED PALESTINE.

 

     They have created this step-by-step guide with photos by David Goddard, Ken Schles, Ash Marinaccio and videos by Ivey Lowe, Jess Coles, Olivia Becker,  Ash Marinacciand Vic Rose.

It includes:

1. Checklist                                                     6. Banner making

2. Saftey                                                           7. Posters making

3. Slogans for Banners                         8. Speeches and Readings

4. Kite Making                                              9. Chants

5. Poppy making                                       10. Songs and Music

     New York theatres have largely been silent about the genocide, and this is part of an escalating campaign to build pressure and encourage participation. The language of performance, music and art was used, to speak to artists directly and draw them in. An enticing and energising march aimed to uplift the storytellers and artists of Palestine.

 

     The march began on the steps of the NY Public Library at Bryant Park. A common place to begin marches it's possible to use the elevated steps area as a stage.

    Choosing Saturday evening a busy time in New York the aim was to enliven and interact with the iconic area of Times Square and Theatre Row and to address the performance community of NY, inviting them to use their large platforms to educate and inspire about Palestinian liberation. 

 

     After speeches and performances, the crowd was led out onto 42nd Street and through the heart of Times Square. Winding back and forth through Theatre Row in between the matinee and evening performances of Broadway shows they engaged crowds waiting in line and tourists out and about.

 

       Intentionally not a very long march, there was time to pause at corners, plazas and in front of Broadway shows’, capturing audiences who watched performances in music, dance, poetry, and monologues. The whole crowd was engaged in mass choreography that included a soft blockade, tableaux of images of resistance and lifting signs, poppies and kites high into the air.

Photo by David Goddard
Photos by Ken Schles
Photo by Ash Marrinaccio
Photo by Ash Marrinaccio

1. CHECKLIST

2. SAFETY

  • What do you want to SAY and ACHIEVE?

  • Do you have DEMANDS and for WHO?

  • How and who are you INVITING TO JOIN?

  • What ROUTE are you taking?

  • Are you asking for PERMISSION to march?

  • What SAFETY and WELLBEING precautions are you considering?

  • What SPEECHES, TEXTS and PERFORMANCES are you including?

  • What MUSIC, CHANTS and SONGS might you use?

  • Are you sending out a PRESS RELEASE?

  • Who is taking PHOTOS?

  • Who is FILMING?

Due to the large numbers and leading an unpermitted march, considerations were put in place for police interaction.  A team of 50 march marshals and bike marshals wearing hi-viz safety vests helped guide and pace the march on all sides, keeping everyone slow and together.  A group of aggressive counter-protestors followed, heckling near the march with loud megaphones. It was difficult keeping them away, especially during performances or readings which needed quiet.  

 

Any group that plans a similar march should have a firm plan in place ready to de-escalate or figure out other means of distancing from counter-protestors and considerations for police aggression.

3. SLOGANS FOR BANNERS AND POSTERS

Green Blue and White Illustration Renewable Energy Movement Poster-6.png

Slogans for banners and posters with a creative twist:

Green Blue and White Illustration Renewable Energy Movement Poster-6.png

CREATION AGAINST OCCUPATION 

ARTISTS AGAINST GENOCIDE

ART IS A WEAPON

CULTURAL RESISTANCE

FREE THEM ALL

DEFEND STORYTELLING

SILENCE IS COMPLICITY

ARTISTS TAKE A STAND

NO EXCUSE FOR STEALING LAND

ARTISTS TAKE A SIDE

NO EXCUSE FOR GENOCIDE

ARTISTS DRAW THE LINE

STAND UP FOR PALESTINE

ARTISTS FOR LIBERATION

NOT FOR COLONISATION

Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March
Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March
Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March
Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March

4. BANNER MAKING

5. POSTER MAKING

Projecting a design from your computer onto a large piece of fabric is easiest.  We traced the design and then had multiple people paint it using red and black, which are colours used by The Freedom Theatre.  

Making a banner free-hand is possible. Use pieces of cardboard to space and size letters or a pencil drawn in graph to map it out.

GO TO ARTISTS AGAINST APARTHEID FOR A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE >> 

The team printed out posters available online from Artists Against Apartheid glued onto pieces of cardboard.

POSTER DESIGNS

FROM GROUPS

AROUND THE WORLD >> 

Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March
Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March
Photo by Ash Marinaccio

6. HOW TO MAKE KITES

Poster from Artists Against Apartheid

WHY KITES?

Flying kites have long been a symbol of defiance and hope in Palestine. In 2011, 15,000 children in Gaza broke the world record for the largest number of kites flown simultaneously. 

On the 7th of December, writer, academic and poet Dr Refaat Alareer was murdered in a targeted attack. His last poem, “If I Die, You Must Live to Tell My Story,” used the image of a white kite. Since then, white kites have been used as a symbol of solidarity in protests globally.

READ MORE

ON THE POWER OF KITES >>

Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March
Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March

MATERIALS

  • Two dowels or bamboo rods, one shorter than the other for the cross-beam

  • String or thin bendable wire

  • White or whatever colour fabric you like, light fabric that can hold paint

  • Strips of fabric for the tail and bows

TOOLS

  • Pliers

  • Scissors

  • Hot glue gun

  • Hot glue sticks

STEPS

  1. Cut one dowel/ stick shorter than the other, (depending on how big your kite is, will change the length) Ours were…

  2. Make a cross or X shape where you want the cross beam to be.

  3. Wrap the string or wire tightly around those two sticks where they cross.

  4. Use scissors or pliers to make a small indentation at each of the 4 points of the kite in order to give the string or wire a little notch to nestle into it.

  5. Begin to wrap the wire around one point in the notch.

  6. Then, use the long excess to wrap around the next point and keep wrapping around til you get back to where you started, then cut any excess.  *If you use wire, make sure it's tightly wound and no sharp edges are pointing out to stab anyone.  Pliers help to get a good wind.  You can also stick the end into the stick itself.

  7. Lay the skeleton of the kite onto your fabric and then trace around the edge, giving yourself an extra 1.5 inches or so to overlap and glue over the string.

  8. Paint your message onto the fabric before you attach it to the string.  

  9. Once it is dry, place it upside down and the kite on top.  Use your hot glue gun to squeeze out a line of glue on the inside of the wire and then carefully press the fabric over the wire with the glue.  You can use a piece of cardboard to press the fabric down onto the back to the fabric to avoid burning yourself.

  10. You can add a back layer of fabric, too, in order to have messaging in both directions so it can be read from multiple angles in the march.

  11. Add a strip of colourful fabric lined with bows onto the handle for the tail.

Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March
Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March
Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March
Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March
Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March

7. HOW TO MAKE GIANT POPPIES

WHY THE POPPY?

The poppy is native to Palestine and is often recognised as the national flower. It represents Palestinians' connection between life and the land. It is the same colours as the Palestinian flag – red, green, black and white. Often depicted in Palestinian art and literature, different regions of Palestine have adopted their own names for the flower. In the north, it is called Hannoun, Arabic for "passionate"; in the south, shakik, meaning "brother". The flower has become a sign of solidarity with Palestinians. It also symbolises bloodshed or “martyr's blood” as a recognition of Palestinians who have been killed.

Photo By Ken Schles

MATERIALS

  • Red tissue paper

  • Black tissue paper

  • short pvc pipes, dowels or sticks

  • Ribbon

TOOLS

  • Scissors

  • Hot glue gun

  • Green paint or green tissue paper

Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March

STEPS

  1. If using a PVC pipe or stick as the stalk of the flower, paint them all green and set them to dry

  2. Take three sheets of red tissue paper or different shades of red, stack them and squeeze at the centre. 

  3. Tie a ribbon around the centre and then pull out the sheets and turn them up like a flower

  4. Glue the corners of the paper to each other so they hold the shape, round and complete

  5. For the centre, make a little ball of black tissue paper with thin strands of black tied at the centre

  6. When the sticks are dry, use hot glue to glue to the flower to them using the ribbon

8. SPEECHES & READINGS

TEXTS FROM PALESTINE

Palestinian artists have made their testimonies, texts and poetry available to read worldwide.

Share their words at your march.

TEXTS FOR PUBLIC READING >> 

Green Blue and White Illustration Renewable Energy Movement Poster-6.png
Green Blue and White Illustration Renewable Energy Movement Poster-6.png
Green Blue and White Illustration Renewable Energy Movement Poster-6.png

SPEECH  BY FOUAD DAKWAR

My name is Fouad Dakwar, I’m a Palestinian musical theatre writer and I am so grateful to every one of you for being here today. At our last cultural resistance rally in support of the Jenin Freedom Theatre, I stated that “the violent status quo fears the artists.”

And yet, as I watch videos from Gaza, I wonder how my writing from halfway across the world could have any impact at all on Israel’s ongoing genocide. I watch videos from Gaza and wonder how I, a comedy writer, could still laugh as mothers and fathers cry over their children’s lifeless bodies. I watch videos from Gaza and wonder why I’m holding a microphone and what I could possibly speak now, that the images from Gaza don’t already say. In all honesty, I watch videos from Gaza and wonder whether I or any artist truly has any power at all. How could we when we’re powerless to stop a genocide?

In these moments, I am removed from the role of artist or storyteller and am instead rendered an audience member to the massacre. The price of entry to witness this genocidal tragedy, my American tax dollars, and the starring cast consists of people who look like me. People who could have easily been me. I glance around at my fellow audience members, every seat in the house is full. Some have chosen to shut their eyes in order to deny the bloodshed altogether. Others have their eyes wide open, watching each new crime against humanity unfold but simply choosing to define the people of Gaza as antagonists, inhuman, and therefore worthy of the inhumane horrors being inflicted upon them.

And then I look further in the audience and see my grandpa, my sido. He isn’t watching a play, he’s watching an augmented memory. After all, just like the people of Gaza today, he experienced forced displacement and ethnic cleansing firsthand during the Nakba in 1948. I’ve always wondered how he continues to smile and laugh and crack jokes– great jokes– after the brutality he’s lived through. I thought our people’s catastrophe at the hands of the zionist regime took everything from my grandpa like it seems to continue taking everything from the people of Gaza today. And yet, it hasn’t taken everything, it hasn’t taken my grandpa’s smile.

I look up at the balcony seats in this makeshift theatre and see my mom’s late relative, Juliano Mer-Khamis, co-founder of The Freedom Theatre, who literally sacrificed his life to help the children of Palestine tell their own stories, to dream beyond Israel’s illegal military occupation and sieges on the Jenin Refugee Camp. Juliano and the power of theatre proved that even this violent status quo could not take everything from our children.

When Palestinians are cast in a real life tragedy, we find the strength to rewrite the ending. Transforming a tragedy prophesied by some British-backed oracle which has falsely claimed ownership over our lands and our futures into a story of resistance and perseverance. My grandpa found the strength to never lose his smile, his laugh, despite every reason to have had it stolen from him. And although Juliano may have lost his life, The Freedom Theatre still stands and so too does its mission to ensure that Palestinian children continue to dream and create their own futures in a present plagued by Israeli destruction.

So, what right do I have – What right do any of us have to turn our backs, lose faith, and start to question the efficacy of our art and our voices when none of them did? I’ll repeat it one more time, partially for myself, because even I’ve started to forget it these days. The violent status quo fears the artists. The genocidal regime fears the artists. And we, the artists, must fear nothing. Nothing besides the possibility of becoming hopeless, or of being rendered voiceless spectators to a massacre, or of having our smiles and laughter stolen, or of forgetting how to dream of and fight for a free Palestine. Juliano did not live to see it, so many of our loved ones did not live to see it, but my grandpa still might. And I can only imagine how his laughter will sound then.

FOR MORE SPEECHES TO INSPIRE >>

Green Blue and White Illustration Renewable Energy Movement Poster-6.png
Green Blue and White Illustration Renewable Energy Movement Poster-6.png

ARTISTS TAKE A STAND

1. Artists, take a stand

No excuse for stealing land

 

2. Artists, take a side

Stop Israeli genocide 

 

3. Artists, draw the line

Stand up for Palestine

 

4. ART for liberation

NOT for colonization

 

5. Rise up

Get down 

No Israeli Apartheid in this town

 

6. (beat / beat / beat beat) Gaza!

 

7. Freeeeee Free Palestine! 

Free Free / Free Palestine

 

8. Freeeee The Freedom Theatre

Free Free / The Freedom Theatre

 

9. Move your fists from 

side to side 

Stop supporting genocide

 

10. Palestinians have

The right to live in freedom

The right to make art

The right to tell their stories

The right to create theatre

And the right to return home

AVAILABLE FOR PRINTING HERE >>

11. Free Mustafa

Free Bilal

Free them all!

 

12. Liberation now 

for The Freedom Theatre

 

13. The whole world’s a stage

The whole world is watching

 

14. Fight the power, turn the tide 

Stop this senseless genocide

 

15. Desde el río, hasta el mar

Palestina libertad

 

16. No es una guerra

Es un genocidio

 

17. Protect the Freedom Theatre 

Protect the arts

Hold Jenin in your hearts

 

18. From Rafah Crossing to Jenin

Stop the Israeli war machine

 

19. Art and culture have to thrive

To help keep Palestine alive

 

20. With one voice we’re here to say

Free Palestine - today!

 

Green Blue and White Illustration Renewable Energy Movement Poster-6.png
Green Blue and White Illustration Renewable Energy Movement Poster-6.png
Green Blue and White Illustration Renewable Energy Movement Poster-6.png
Green Blue and White Illustration Renewable Energy Movement Poster-6.png

HEY HEY HEY (a call and response)

Hey hey hey hey (2X)

From New York to Palestine

Colonization is a crime
 

Hey hey hey hey (2X)

From the belly of the beast

No justice no peace
 

Hey hey hey hey (2X)

From the river to the sea

All people must be free

 

Hey hey hey hey (2X)

Desde el río, hasta el mar

Palestina libertad
 

Hey hey hey hey (2X)

From the bottom to the top

Racism’s got to stop
 

Hey, hey, hey, hey (2X)

Together we can turn the tide

No more bankrolling Apartheid

 

Hey hey hey hey (2X)

For liberation take a stand

Ceasefire now is our demand

 

Hey hey hey hey (2X)

Don’t stand back while people die

 “Stop genocide now” is our cry

 

Hey hey hey hey (2X)

Nakba means catastrophe

“Stop genocide now” is our plea

 

AVAILABLE FOR PRINTING HERE >>

Hey hey hey hey (2X)

No more tax dollars, no more dimes

No arms to Israel for their crimes

 

Hey hey hey hey (2X) 

With art and culture take a stand

Don’t let Israel steal the land

 

Hey hey hey hey (2X)

The Freedom Theatre must survive

They help keep Palestine alive

 

Hey hey hey hey (2X)

Free Mustafa, free Bilal

Free all the prisoners, that’s our call

 

Hey hey hey hey (2X)

The Freedom Theatre will persist

Defending the right to resist

 

Hey hey hey hey (2X)

From Rafah Crossing to Jenin

Stop the Israeli war machine

 

Hey hey hey hey (2X)

Let’s build a bridge, tear down a wall

‘Til there’s justice fo-or all

 

Hey hey hey hey (2X)

In New York we’re gonna sing

‘Til we hear that freedom ring 

 

Hey hey hey hey (2X)

With one voice we’re here to say

Free Palestine today!

 

10. SONGS & MUSIC

Green Blue and White Illustration Renewable Energy Movement Poster-6.png
Green Blue and White Illustration Renewable Energy Movement Poster-6.png
Green Blue and White Illustration Renewable Energy Movement Poster-6.png

SONG FOR ARTISTS

1. [From Refaat Alareer’s poem]

If I must die [all repeat]

You must live [all repeat]

To tell my story [all repeat]

Let it bring hope [all repeat]

 

2. [Inspired by a poem by Marwan Makhoul]

To write a poem without politics [all repeat]

I have to hear the birds [all repeat]

But to hear the birds [all repeat]

The war planes must be silent [all repeat]

 

3. [From Dareen Tatour’s poem]

Resist, my people, resist them [all repeat]

 

AVAILABLE FOR PRINTING HERE >>

4. [A call and response]

Protect the theaters [all repeat]

Protect the poets [all repeat]

Protect the journalists [all repeat]

Protect the artists [all repeat]

Aiwa! [all repeat]

Aiwa! [all repeat]

Aiwa! [all repeat]

Aiwa! [all repeat]

 

5. Five demands sung to “ceasefire now” melody

Permanent ceasefire now [all repeat]

Lift the siege on Gaza [all repeat]

Free all Palestinian prisoners [all repeat]

End the occupation [all repeat]

No more US weapons [all repeat]

Photo by David Goddard

Resistance Revival

Chorus

Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March
Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March

Opalanietet

Photo from the New York Cultural Resistance March

Brooklyn Nomads

Performed “Yamma Muwailil Hawa”

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