We were privileged to be allowed to film "Love Letters to Gaza" ,
a unique theatrical evening at the Calder Bookshop & Theatre on Saturday 22nd October 2011
Love Letters to Gaza - a theatrical evening
Entry was by donation to charities
helping Gaza -
Medical Aid for Palestinians &
the Palestine Trauma Centre (UK)
How do you say ‘I love you’ to someone you’ve never met? How do you tell them to keep hoping when the odds seem stacked against them? *Love Letter to Gaza* is an unique theatrical event using verbatim personal messages of love, support and hope from people of all ages and all walks of life to the people of Gaza.
There’s a letter from a school-girl to the children of Gaza, another from a committed activist, poems from people who’ve never written poetry before and a sky full of peace cranes and kites. And that’s only the beginning.
In July this year thousands of letters written by Americans were en route to the people of Gaza on the American ship 'Audacity of Hope'. The ship was prevented from leaving a Greek harbour to join the Freedom Flotilla II. With luck the letters from the UK will reach their destination. They will travel to Gaza with the next overland Viva Palestina aid convoy, alongside many hundreds of teddies knitted by volunteers throughout Britain.
On September 23 Palestine sought full membership of the UN. *Love Letter to Gaza* is a timely reminder that nothing has changed for the people of Gaza – their land is still under siege, their lives are in daily peril and and they have none of the 30 rights listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Sergio Amigo of the Calder Bookshop was the instigator and director of 'Love letters to Gaza'
The theatre was decorated with a thousand origami cranes trapped in a nets to represent the thousands of Palestinian prisoners languishing in Israeli dungeons
The cast of 'Love Letters to Gaza': Jon McKenna, Tracy-Ann Wood, Laura Freeman, Clare Quinn, Daniel Kelly, Leigh Outram and Simon Roberts (left-to-right)
Jon McKenna and Tracy-Ann Wood
Daniel Kelly and Leigh Outram
Maelo Manning (11 years old) reading her own letter to Gaza
Jon McKenna, Tracy-Ann Wood, Laura Freeman, Clare Quinn and Daniel Kelly
Original appeal for 'Love Letters to Gaza
Love Letter to Gaza
27 July 2011
The Calder Bookshop & Theatre are calling for submissions of letters for a collaborative theatrical event to be performed in September this year at the Calder Bookshop & Theatre, Waterloo.
The American ship 'Audacity of Hope' has been prevented from leaving the Greek port of Perama by the Israeli, American and Greek governments; as a result it has withdrawn from the Flotilla II intended to break the siege of Gaza. The only cargo of this ship is letters written by Americans sending messages of love and hope to the people of Gaza.
We want to piggy-back on the idea of this cargo by collecting material from the people of the UK to weave into a theatrical evening. Precisely, we want you to write your own personal love letter to Gaza. In addition, if you can, let the people of Gaza know what you have been doing to help them, to impress on them that they are not forgotten; that they are continually in our thoughts.
The love letter could be a letter, a poem, a drawing or a piece of music - whatever is found in your imagination. By submitting material, which must be original, you give us permission to perform, print, display or use part of it; that means you will be giving us non-exclusive copyright.
Please let us know if you want to use your name, a pseudonym, or retain anonymity. It may be helpful in constructing this theatre event, if you include some indication of your age (young, middle-aged, old), gender and circumstances, either in your letter or separately. Please include some contact details.
Entries to: email@example.com with 'To Gaza' in the subject line, please; deadline: 8th August 2011
Box office takings will be donated to two charities to benefit Gaza.
Warning: we may not be able to use everything submitted so there is a possibility that your material will be not be used in performance.
If you need help in getting started the suggestions below might be useful.
Think of the issue that concerns you most about Gaza and base your letter on that. Address your letter to the whole of Gaza - or write as if to a person; the person could be similar in age; it could be from a grandparent to a child; one pregnant woman to another; from one unemployed person to another; man to man; woman to woman; child to child; child to adult. Activists could use pages from their diary or a generalised statement of their involvement - perhaps a report from an event.
An olive branch and an image of Handela - an icon of Palestinian resistance.
An icon of Palestinian resistance, Handala is the name of the well loved cartoon character, created by Naji Al-Ali the political cartoonist, who was 10 years old when he and his family were expelled to Ein Al- Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon. A small, toughened child dressed in rags with his hands clasped behind his back as a sign of rejection, Naji describes Handala in these words:
"Handala was born ten years old, and he will always be ten years old. At that age, I left my homeland, and when he returns, Handala will still be ten, and then he will start growing up. The laws of nature do not apply to him. He is unique. Things will become normal again when the homeland returns.
I presented him to the poor and named him Handala as a symbol of bitterness. At first, he was a Palestinian child, but his consciousness developed to have a national and then a global and human horizon. He is a simple yet tough child, and this is why people adopted him and felt that he represents their consciousness."
During the holy month of Ramadan, as we move towards the Eid, I was going around Muslim shops in Tower Hamlets and elsewhere telling them that although they had collection boxes for the Mosque, although they had religious imagery in their shops, although they were selling dates to the faithful people to break their fast - the dates were made in Israel! They were stained with the blood of the Palestinian people! And Muslim shop keepers were selling them!