In Memory of Juliano Mer Khamis

It is with great sadness that I note the murder of activist, actor, director Juliano Mer Khamis, the director of the Jenin Freedom Theater. Although there are currently conflicting press reports regarding the circumstances of his killing, Palestinian authorities have reported that he was shot five times by “Palestinian militants.”

Mer Khamis was a remarkable and inspiring man – the son of a Palestinian father and a Jewish mother who devoted his life to giving the young people of the Jenin refugee camp a healing, creative outlet in the midst of unbearably dire cirumstances.

From a powerful, heartbreaking tribute by Israeli journalist Dimi Reider:

Mer Khamis…has faced threats since forever: From conservatives in the camp who took a strong dislike to the theatre’s liberal repertoire and casting of both men and women, both boys and girls; from nationalists who saw him as an agent of the occupation, a promoter of normalization; and from just about every Israeli who commented on any news piece covering him and his activity.

There will be so much said and written about Juliano in the coming days. Friends and students will laud his tremendous bravery, his contempt for the walls and barriers – especially barriers of fear – that crisscross our country, his sense of stage, his talent. Enemies will pour mud on him, rejoicing in the death of one they see as a half-breed and a turncoat. Comrades will remember a complex and uneasy man, as famous for his rough temper as he was for his devotion to the cause.

I had the honor of visiting the Jenin Freedom Theater this past December with 20 members of my congregation. Although we didn’t get to meet Juliano personally, we can all attest to the inspiring fruits of his life’s work. May it live on forever. And may his memory be for a blessing.

I can think of no great honor to his memory that to watch “Arna’s Children” – an amazing 2003 documentary, co-directed by Mer Khamis, that profiles the history of the Freedom Theater. Please click on the clip above for the first installment. The following eight can be found on YouTube – search: “Arna’s Children.”

7 thoughts on “In Memory of Juliano Mer Khamis

  1. Oh, Brant, I had not heard. Why, oh why, must we kill such creative and courageous people? I’m afraid we are all implicated. Cotton

  2. What a senseless, aching loss for his family, for Israel and Palestine, and for the young people of Jenin. May his courage inspire others to continue the work.

  3. What a great loss to Israel and the people of Palestine. Juliano and his mother showed the best that can be in being harmony.

    The full video of ‘Arna’s Children’
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9004838847737803917#

    Interview with Juliano. Recounting his mother’s time serving in the Palmach and witnessing in ethnic cleaning and massacres of Palestinians. It was on account of this she left the Palmach and eventually married a Palestinian-Israeli.
    http://www.mepeace.org/video/an-interviews-with-juliano-mer

  4. Being part Bulgarian Jew,born from a christian mother in Israel,inspired me to always be for Peace within and without.

    What a loss for both Israel and Palestinian and Jenin.

  5. How i wish to live to see Shalom-Salam between the half brothers and sisters,The jews and Palestinians of one Father-Avraham for the jews and Ibrahim for the Arabs.

    I pray for healing.

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