IBDAA, The Children of Dheisheh Refugee Camp

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Posted by Esarhaddon from accel12.nyc.untd.com ( on Friday, July 04, 2003 at 4:30PM :

On Thursday July 3, 2003, 8:00 P.M. IBDAA’s children dance troupe from the Dheisheh Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, Palestine depicted the daily history, struggle and aspiration of the Palestinians people in Palestine to a thousand Arab/None-Arab audience in the Los Angeles. IBDAA dance troop has toured in Europe, the Arab World and North America. This summer IBDAA children dance troupe will be touring North America for the second time. IBDAA Dance troupe is a project of IBDAA Cultural Center. For more information please visit: www.mecaforpeace.org

IBDAA, is a grassroots initiative of Dheisheh Refugee Camp, founded in 1995. IBDAA serves over 1500 children and young people annually through various programs, while providing job opportunities to over 60 families in the camp. IBDAA’s mission is to provide an environment for the camp’s children and young people to develop their ability, creativity and leadership skills through social, cultural and educational activites that are not readily available in the camp. IBDAA strives to empower the children and instill in them confidence and strength to face their difficult future, while educating the international community on the Palestinian refugee issues. IBDAA’s program includes a nursery, kindergarten, children’s library, computer and internet centers, restaurants, multipurpose hall, sports programs, community mural women’s cooperative, music courses, guesthouse, income generation projects, and scholarships which are constantly being besieged and destroyed by Israelis arm forces on regular basis.

Dheisheh Refugee Camp was established in 1949, after the expulsion and flight of more than 750,000 Palestinian following the creation of the state of Israel. Those that fled to Dheisheh originated from 45 villages west of Jerusalem and Hebron, the descendants of whom comprise the 12,000 inhabitants of the camp today. A resident and active community, Dheisheh has a long history of struggle against oppression. Until the Israeli army’s withdrawal in 1995, the camp was surrounded with a high barbed wire fence. Soldiers and violent confrontations filled the alleys, killing tens of residents, while hundreds were injured, imprisoned and disabled for life. During the peace process years, the worsening plight of refugees was largely ignored in the negotiation framework, bringing a sense of stagnation and desperation to the community. Since the second Intifada (Palestinian uprising) began in September 2000, Dheisheh Refugee Camp, continuously been besieged and invaded by the Israeli army, and losing a number of its resident in the violence


Part I- Al-Matakal (Political Prisoners).
This is a theatrical performance about the daily reality of occupied Palestine imprisonment. This striking piece depicts the ongoing struggle in society where the majority of men and boys have experienced multiple imprisonments in Israeli jails.

Part II-Al-Waseeya (The Will)
This piece is a story of Palestinian farmers and village life in pre-1948 Palestine. This piece depicts the relationship between farmers and the land and recounts the determination of the Palestinian people to defend their land against various historic occupying forces; the Ottoman Empire, British and illegally Israel rule. The songs featured in this act are national hymns and traditional Palestinian folklore ballad preserved through the centuries.

Part III – Al-Khayma (The Tents)
This dance and verse reflect the history of Palestinian refugees beginning with their lives as farmers continuing through the 1948 Al-Nakhba and disposition of their land, and the military occupation. It concludes with the Intifada Palestinian national resistance movement, which began in 1987 and again in 2000.

Part IV – Mautini (My Homeland)
This song across the Arab World is considered and unofficial and popular national anthem of Palestine.

-- Esarhaddon
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