Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My Name is Rachel Corrie: Controversial Play makes debut in Canada's Capital

'The scariest thing for non-Jewish Americans in talking about Palestinian self-determination is the fear of being or sounding anti-Semitic.' - Rachel Corrie

Vision Theatre presents to the Ottawa stage for the first time a play which has become a hot-topic debate in regards to opposing views about the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian land.

My Name is Rachel Corrie premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London, England during the spring of 2005, to sell-out houses and rave reviews. Despite the success and accolades, theatres in New York, Florida and Toronto cancelled productions or declined to produce it after publicly announcing their intentions to do so.

My Name is Rachel Corrie is a play without a playwright, edited from he emails and journals of Rachel Corrie, a young peace activist. An American who went to aid Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Rachel died at the age of 23, killed by an Israeli bulldozer while attempting to stop the demolition of a Palestinian home. Following her journey from a young girl with big ideas in Olympia, Washington, to joining a group of international peace activists in Rafah, to her untimely
death it is a deeply moving personal testimony that exposes us to the inner thoughts of a young woman driven by boundless curiosity and a keen sense of justice. Rachel's writings are woven together by the actor Alan Rickman and Guardian journalist Katherine Viner to share with us her perspective on the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, and her observations of the people caught in this political conflict. It's scary. It's beautiful. It's controversial. This timely
and powerful piece of theatre is sure to inspire discussion and debate. Come and see it for yourself...

My Name is Rachel Corrie, taken from the writings of Rachel Corrie and edited by Alan Rickman and Katherine Viner, features Sarah McVie as Rachel Corrie and is directed by Paul Griffin. Set & Lighting Designer is Lynn Cox, Sound Designer is Jon Carter and Stage Manager is Natalie Giselle.

My Name is Rachel Corrie runs September 10 - 20, 2008 at the Arts Court Theatre at 8pm. No performances on Sundays & Mondays. Tickets are $25 for Adults and $20 for Students & Seniors at the Arts Court Box Office, 613-564-7240.

Special panels organized by Independent Jewish Voices in association with Vision Theatre will take place following the performance on September 10, 11, 16, 17.

'Here is a play where the real dialogue begins when the curtain comes down. MY NAME IS RACHEL CORRIE is theater that not only stirs our hearts but sticks in our heads.' - Newsweek


Post Performance Panels organized by
Independent Jewish Voices
in association with Vision Theatre

September 10
'Those who dare to put themselves on the line for justice in Palestine'
(Colin Stuart, Ehab Lotayuf, Maxime Brunet)

September 11
'Conditions on the ground in the Occupied Territories'
(Bill Skidmore, Samah Sabawi, Corey Balsam)

September 16
'Jews woriking for justice in solidarity with Palestinians'
(Arthur Milner, Diana Ralph)

September 17
'Working for Peace: What you can do'
(Ben Saifer, Marjorie Robertson, Bahija Reghai)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Canadian Complicity Undermining Peace in the Middle East

Canada has become one of the strongest supporters of Israel's violations of international law, with Prime Minister Harper infamously calling extensive bombing of Lebanese civilians in 2006 a “measured response”. The minority Conservative government made Canada the first in the world to cut off funding to the democratically elected government of Palestine in 2006. The Harper government has also taken an unbalanced approach to the Middle East with its unquestioning support of Israeli militarism at key United Nations votes.

In addition, the Harper government has been a key supporter of Israeli and US sabre-rattling against Iran. This, despite the fact that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons, and the US and Israel already possess such weapons and have repeatedly threatened to attack Iran.

Israel @ 60: No Time to Celebrate

In 2008 Israel is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its “founding” in 1948. Palestinians and allies around the world are saying this is NO TIME TO CELEBRATE!

Palestinian Civil Society organizations issued a statement in March 2008 calling on civil society around the world to Boycott the “Israel at 60” Celebrations, and to instead focus on the Sixty Years of Dispossession and Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.

In May 2008, Israel celebrated the birth of a Jewish state but disavowed any responsibility for the destruction of the Palestinian homeland and the forced displacement and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, what Palestinians call the Nakba, or Catastrophe. More than half of the indigenous Palestinian population living in Palestine (an estimated 1.3 million people) was displaced by Zionist militias and the State of Israel between the end of 1947 and early 1949.

According to the Palestinian Appeal to International Civil Society:

"Israel at 60 is a state that continues to deny Palestinian refugees their UN-sanctioned right to return to their homes and receive compensation, simply because they are “non-Jews”. It still illegally occupies Palestinian and other Arab lands, in violation of numerous UN resolutions. It persists in its blatant denial of fundamental Palestinian human rights, in contravention of international humanitarian law and human rights conventions. It still subjects its own Palestinian citizens to a system of institutionalized discrimination, strongly reminiscent of the defunct apartheid regime in South Africa. And Israel gets away with all this, thanks to the unprecedented immunity granted to it by the unlimited and munificent US and European economic, diplomatic, political, and academic support."