On Tuesday, the circus came to Dheisheh refugee camp here in Bethlehem. Red noses, mimed bus journeys, stilts, juggling, acrobats, music and much much laughter.
The team from Canada and Europe were touring Israel and then with the help of the joint Israeli-Palestinian organisation, The Alternative Information Center, decided to spend their spare time performing in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
On Monday they entertained the children of Hebron, on Tuesday they spent the day in Bethlehem before taking a tour of the Wall and housing demolition areas of Jerusalem on Wednesday and to Bi'lin, north of Ramallah, for Thursday and Friday (where they will be for Bi'lin's weekly demonstration against the Israeli Army's uprooting of their olive trees and confiscation of half their land for the building of the Separation Wall).
The performers were fantastic. Young and strong, full of energy, and just what the kids of Dheisheh needed and least expected. Moreover, Dheisheh camp actually has its own in-house circus set up and supported by the local NGO, Shiraa'
The performers joined forces and after one hour of working together, the professionals and Dhieshe's most flexible and courageous, flung each other around the local playground, jumping, dancing and at times almost flying. The Dheisheh kids did us proud, pedalling between the performers on their unicycles and tottering on their stilts; while juggling and moving to the vibe of the hula-hula hoops.
The crowd moved closer and the clapping set the rhythm. The touring circus made a much appreciated decision to spend their extra time with the children of the OPT. We appreciate their genuine lust for fun and creativity, which visibly lightened the atmosphere. Their colours and moves detracted from the graffiti around the camp of child martyrs, bullet holes and decaying UNRWA housing blocks.
The interaction was also an exchange, as the circus described themselves as 'unpolitical'. They were shocked and distrurbed at the destruction and injustice in which they found themselves performing among...but ...thank you for coming, come again, come and keep the children laughing.
Posted by Peacerider