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The political prisoners

For one of the political prisoners in an Israeli prison, smuggling sperm, creating new life, bringing the family forward despite imprisonment, became the ultimate symbol of resistance and hope for the future. Israeli theater director Einat Weizman is working with the detainees.

In 2017, the Israeli performing artist visited Einat Weizman the festival Counter-Performances with the performance Shame, where she together with Morad Hassan documented censorship and harassment against Palestinian and Jewish artists who criticize the occupation from within.

She uses documentary theater as a tool to examine and expose some of the most illuminated and taboo consequences of Israeli segregationist policies.

Weizman says there is a war going on about the narratives or self-narratives in Israel. She wants to use her position as an artist to shed light on such, where the artist is an expert on hidden narratives and can challenge or nuance these prevailing narratives. Therefore, the artist is dangerous.

"Are you not afraid to humanize the enemy?"

In the audience conversations after the screening, Weizman would rather talk about a group that has a far more threatened existence and room for expression than the artists, the political prisoners. She told about the play Prisoners of the Occupation, which she wrote in collaboration with Palestinian political prisoners. The first version of the play had been stopped by Minister of Culture Miri Regev, because she meant it glorified terrorists.

Seriously, Israeli artists and activists are faced with the question "Are you not afraid to humanize the enemy?"
In an increasingly right-wing populist Israel, it has become legitimate to argue that human rights do not apply to Palestinian political prisoners, because they are not human beings, they are terrorists, beasts.

Weizman told about the campaign to get the poet released Dareen Tatour who had been imprisoned and placed under house arrest for a poem she published. . .

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Marius Kolbenstvedt
Theater director and writer. Resident at Nesodden.

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