Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Questioning foreign funding in Palestine

"Gaza - Iman Aoun’s new play, Yasmine’s Home, weighs the advantages and disadvantages of funds provided by donor countries to the Palestinian Authority and local NGOs. Staged at Ashtar Theater in Ramallah, the play relies on interaction with the audience, a method developed by Brazilian director Augusto Boal, who founded the Theater of the Oppressed movement in the mid-20th century. Aoun poses some tough yet daring questions in the play: Does foreign funding result in real development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)? Are we able to live without them? If so, how can we do that?
After her own experience with donors, Aoun, who is the artistic director of Ashtar Theater, found herself asking many questions. Her last battle was with a partner organization that funded the play Gaza Monologues. The organization requested the omission of the word ‘martyr’ from the script as a condition to continue funding the project. Aoun refused. Consequently, she began to question the intentions of donor organizations: Do they not have their own private agendas? And should we accept promoting their political message? Is this moral?"

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