Readers of this blog know I’ve been a huge fan of the Jenin Freedom Theatre ever since my visit there this past December. I’m saddened to report that its facility was recently raided by the IDF.
Special Forces of the Israeli Army attacked the Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp at approximately 03:30 this morning. Ahmad Nasser Matahen, a night guard and technician student at the theatre woke up by heavy blocks of stone being hurled at the entrance of the theatre.
As he opened the door he found masked and heavily armed Israeli Special Forces around the theatre. Ahmed says that the army threw heavy blocks of stone at the theatre, “they told me to open the door to the theatre. They told me to raise my hands and forced me to take my pants down. I thought my time had come, that they would kill me. My brother that was with me was handcuffed.“
The location manager of The Freedom Theatre, Adnan Naghnaghiye was arrested and taken away to an unknown location together with Bilal Saadi, a member of the board of The Freedom Theatre. When the general manager of the theatre Jacob Gough from UK and the co-founder of the theatre Jonatan Stanczak from Sweden arrived to the scene they were forced to squat next to a family with four small children surrounded by about 50 heavily armed Israeli soldiers.
Jonatan says: “Whenever we tried to tell them that they are attacking a cultural venue and arresting members of the theatre we were told to shut up and they threatened to kick us, I tried to contact the civil administration of the army to clarify the matter but the person in charge hung up on me.“
The Freedom Theatre is still reeling from the murder of its director, Juliano Mer Khamis last April – and now this. It’s heartbreaking to contemplate that an institution whose only mission is to give hope and courage to the children of Jenin is physically under attack by both fundamentalist Muslims and the Israel Defense Forces.
Please click on the clips above and below to learn about the Jenin Freedom Theatre and why so many of us are inspired by its work. Then click here and please support them with a donation.