Bethlehem, West Bank, Sep 27 (EFE).- Festiclown, a multidisciplinary event for children, has returned to Palestine’s occupied territories this week, following a pandemic hiatus, with a rich program of performers including trapeze artists, clowns, acrobats, jugglers and hip hop artists.
The event is organized by Spanish NGO Payasos en Rebeldía, which roughly translates as rebellious clowns.
“Festiclown aims to put the world of the circus at the service of freedom, peace and joy so that for a week, Palestine feels like other cities in the world that regularly enjoy the circus and so they feel embraced by the circus artists in their cause,” the director of Festiclown, Iván Prado, told Efe.
The festival is running from September 22 to 30 and has already toured the Palestinian cities of Nablus, Hebron, Ramallah and occupied East Jerusalem and will close in Bethlehem with a very special event that will bring together the NGO’s performers with local artists that have trained at the Aida refugee camp as part of an outreach project by the Spanish organization.
On Monday, hundreds of children enjoyed a circus show and a rap performance at the camp that ended with the kids jumping up and down, waving Palestinian flags and shouting “Free Palestine!”
The Aida refugee camp, where 5,500 people live just a few meters from the West bank Barrier, was created in 1950 to house Palestinians living in Jerusalem and Bethlehem who were displaced when the State of Israel was created in 1948.
Prado said that Festiclown, which began in 2011, also seeks to “reinforce the Aida circus school”, maintain ties with Palestinian circus artists and, above all, “send the message that they are not alone, that clowns and circus folk love freedom and we are in favor of ending this genocidal occupation”.
“It has been an extraordinary welcome, from very generous people, who look at us with light in their eyes, who hug us on the street, who stop the car to greet us,” Prado said.
Prado says more than 10,000 people have already enjoyed the shows during the 7th edition, with a big uptake in Nablus, an area that has been especially affected by deadly clashes with Israeli forces in the last months.
“Despite living in such a tough situation, the fact that people are trying to build circus projects shows the strength and humanity of this town,” Prado concluded. EFE