Dramatic readings feature plight of Palestinians

30 Nov 2023
LAHORE: Ajoka Theatre held a session of dramatic readings and poetry to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people on Wednesday at Alhamra Art Centre, The Mall.

Responding to a call from Palestinian theatre group - Ashtar, Ajoka held dramatic readings titled “Gaza Monologues”, a collection of moving testimonies of Gaza’s children and young people.

The monologues translated in English, Urdu and Punjabi, were presented by leading artists including Feryal Gauhar, Nirvaan Nadeem, Sadia Sarmad, Neelam Bashir, Naseem Abbas, Hafeez Tahir, Ahmad Bilal, Ayesha Bilal, Usman Chaudhry, Sufia Humayun, Azka Tahir and others.
Dramatic readings were based on testimonies written by young residents of Gaza. The readings were moving and heart wrenching observations of war-torn Gaza. The readings were in English, Urdu, Punjabi and Balochi.

Gaza Monologues depict ordeal of children and the young

Ajoka’s Secretary Suhail Warriach in his welcome address said the event was organised to show solidarity with Palestinians.

He said writers, actors, educationists and poets had been asked by Ajoka to undertake dramatic readings on Gaza to show solidarity with Palestinians.
Executive Director of Ajoka Shahid Nadeem said the event was a gesture of solidarity on the International day of solidarity with Palestinians. Mr Nadeem said all over the world freedom-loving theater groups were holding dramatic readings on Gaza.

He said the dramatic readings by Ajoka were organised on the request of Ashtar Theatre group from Palestine.
A video message from Ashtar theater group’s director was also screened on the occasion.

The translations of monologues which were written by 13 to 18 years old Palestinians were based on experiences and their feelings on war in Gaza and the overall situation of Palestine. Black and white scarfs often seen worn by Palestinians were distributed among the speakers as a symbol of solidarity with Palestinians.
Sadia Sarmad read the Urdu translation of 14-year-old girl Alaa Hajjaj’s writing in which Hajjaj says “ I wish that a ship comes to Gaza and takes me away to a world where peace prevails. She described in her writing that how she and her mother saw the house of their neighbour bombed and how the body plunged out of the house as result of sever bombardment.

The organisers also put on display a flex as well in the hall depicting various pictures of Gaza, its children and the way it has turned into rubble.

Feryal Gauhar read an English translation of 14-year-old Gaza girl Yasmeen Jarour who says that the future of Gaza is obscure and unknown. Gaza children are forgotten outside the picture. Ahmed Bilal and Ayesha Bilal together read the English and Urdu translations of 17-year-old Gaza resident Amjad Abu Yaseen who says in his monologue there was no art or sports in Gaza though he had dreamt of becoming an artist but there was no place to show his artistic skills. He shared his great wish to see Gaza growing and advancing in art and culture and sports. There were other translations which were reflective of the heartfelt feelings of Gazans, their utmost grief, sorrow, hopelessness on the situation in Gaza and the war crimes being committed against them such as bombing hospitals, killing innocent civilians.
Artists from Ajoka Naseem Abbas and Usman Chauhdry read the Urdu translation of Mehmoud Dervesh’s poetry. The translation was done by (late) Amjad Islam Amjad. A video song by Maher Zain , ‘Palestine will be Free’ was also played on the occasion.