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Play about 17-year-old Palestinian youth killed in 2000 tours Atlanta, St. Louis, New York

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A play about martyrdom in the second intifada that has been widely praised is playing to sold-out audiences on campuses across the country and you should check it out if you get a chance. The show is called There Is a Field, and the playwright is the prolific activist/author Jen Marlowe. Marlowe did extensive reporting on the case of Aseel Asleh, 17, killed in October 2000; and this dramatic work featuring a diverse cast of actors and dealing with state violence generally is the result.

There Is A Field is a story of how a Palestinian family journeys through grief after their young son, Aseel, is killed by Israeli police forces. While offering an intimate view into the racism and violence faced by Palestinian citizens of Israel, the play transcends any particular time or place to reflect on oppressions in Israel/Palestine, the United States, and around the world.

Aseel Asleh

Aseel Asleh

Here’s a detailed description of the work:

As the Second Intifada erupted in the West Bank and Gaza, demonstrations also began in Palestinian villages and towns inside Israel. In October 2000, Israeli forces killed thirteen unarmed Palestinians in these demonstrations.

The youngest of those killed was a 17-year old boy named Aseel Asleh. Aseel was shot point blank in the neck by Israeli police while nonviolently demonstrating outside his village.

There Is A Field is a documentary-style play about Aseel’s life and his killing, told from the perspective of his older sister, Nardeen. Through Nardeen’s struggle to cope with the murder of her brother, the play also addresses the larger struggle facing Palestinians inside Israel

Based on interviews and primary sources collected over 15 years, the play offers a uniquely personal lens for understanding inequality as the root of state violence and impunity. Audiences throughout the United States will find particular resonance with themes raised by Aseel’s life and murder, and post-play discussions and actions will create space to further explore connections and build solidarity across universal struggles for liberation and equality.

Jen Marlowe

Jen Marlowe

Here is the forthcoming schedule for the Land Day tour of the show, in Atlanta, elsewhere in Georgia, then the St. Louis/Ferguson area, and winding up in New York.

Mon April 4 @ 7:00 pm: Atlanta, GA
Emory University
Emory Center for Ethics
1531 Dickey Drive. Atlanta, Georgia 30322
(Visitor parking info: 29 Eagle Row, Atlanta , Georgia 30322)
Sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine and the Emory Center for Ethics
Co-sponsored by Candler Social Concerns Network
Open to the public. Suggested donation of $10-$20; no one turned away
Contact: Dina Bashar Masri

Tues April 5 @ 7:00 pm: Atlanta, GA
The AUC (Spelman College, Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University)
Sale Hall, Morehouse College
Sponsored by: ACTS (Actively Changing Tomorrow through Service)
Open to the public. Suggested donation $1-$20
Contact :[email protected]

Wed April 6 @ 6:00 pm: Athens, GA
University of Georgia
Arena Theatre
Fine Arts Bldg, 255 Baldwin St, Athens, GA 30605
Osama Mor: 718-644-6606, [email protected]
Sponsored by: Athens for Justice in Palestine

Fri April 8 @ 7:00 pm: St Louis, MO
Washington University in St Louis
1 Brookings Dr, St. Louis, MO 63130
McMillan Hall
Campus Map: (#70 on the map)
Sponsored by: Students for Justice in Palestine
Co-sponsored by: Social Justice Center (SJC)
Post play discussion hosted by Adalah
Contact: Stephanie Aria

Sun April 10 @ 3:00 pm: St Louis/Ferguson, MO
Community performance
2720 Cherokee, St. Louis, Missouri 63118
Sponsored by Hands Up United and St Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee

Wed, April 13 @ 7:00 pm: NYC
Soho Playhouse
15 Vandam, between Varick Street and Sixth Avenue
Sponsored by: Columbia University Center for Palestine Studies, African American Policy Forum, Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies
RSVP here

Thurs, April 14 @ 7:00 pm: NYC
Soho Playhouse
15 Vandam, between Varick Street and Sixth Avenue
Sponsored by: Columbia University Center for Palestine Studies, African American Policy Forum, Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies
RSVP here

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5 Responses

  1. Ozma
    April 2, 2016, 4:35 pm

    Wow, this play will be showing in New York. Maybe there is hope for the previously censored play “The Siege”.

    • just
      April 2, 2016, 5:28 pm

      Super news, indeed! I hope that the tour is extended to more theaters and cities. Good luck and thank you!

      Speaking of attempted censorship and muzzling of free speech, I missed this entirely:

      “West Haven I-95 billboard on USS Liberty is anti-Israel, critics charge

      WEST HAVEN >> A billboard on Interstate 95 is sparking outrage from a local lawyer and criticism from the Anti-Defamation League for what they say is its anti-Israel message.

      But the veterans organization and its supporters that sponsored the billboard say it depicts one of the most controversial mysteries in U.S. Navy history and they are still demanding answers.

      The message on the billboard, in capital letters, reads: “Help the USS Liberty Survivors.” Underneath, in smaller letters, also all capped, the message continues: “Attacked by Israel.” The red, white and blue colors of the American flag are faded and serve as the background of the large sign. The billboard depicts a ship on one side and a wounded sailor on the other. The bottom of the billboard lists the website …

      … But many veterans, including retired Adm. Thomas Moorer, a former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, and Capt. Ward Boston, a former Navy attorney who helped lead the military investigation, believe the attack was deliberate, according to the USS Liberty website. Boston signed an affidavit stating former President Lyndon Johnson and his Defense Secretary Robert McNamara ordered that the inquiry conclude the incident was an accident. Moorer calls it “one of the classic all-American cover-ups.”

      So, the controversy continues.

      Max Buxbaum, an attorney who lives and works in New York but grew up in New Haven and has a home in East Haven, says he did a double-take as he drove up I-95 Wednesday evening and spotted the billboard.

      The sign is located between exits 40 and 41 on the southbound side of the highway but is only visible to motorists from the northbound side.

      “Inoffensive to southbound drivers but highly offensive to northbound drivers,” Buxbaum said.

      In an email, Buxbaum said he was shocked when he saw the billboard.

      “It’s one of those conspiracy theories that are kept alive by the same sort of people who say that Jews are responsible for everything from Pearl Harbor to 9/11,” he wrote. “Considering that my father’s entire family was wiped out in the Holocaust, it was particularly troubling to me on a personal level.”

      He believes Alison Weir, founder of “If Americans Knew,” is one of the people behind it. Weir is a journalist who says her website “analyzes media coverage of Israel-Palestine” and “provides information on topics that are substantially misreported or unreported in the US media.”

      Weir acknowledges her allegiance to the veterans group and said “there really is no doubt about it whatsoever” that the attack on the Liberty was deliberate.

      “There is a great deal of evidence that Israel was very well aware it was attacking a U.S. ship,” she said.

      Weir said there is nothing anti-Semitic about the message on the billboard; rather it is a group of veterans — which includes Jewish servicemen who were on the ship at the time of the attack or their families — who continue to believe what really happened was covered up and they were “treated badly by the government, Israel and the media.”

      “Anytime you say anything that isn’t positive about Israel, you’re labeled anti-Semitic,” she said. “What about the Jewish sailors who are part of this? Are they anti-Semitic, too? I’m not young and I have a life’s history of opposing bigotry. All people are worthy of respect and dignity.”

      But Steve Ginsburg, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League-Connecticut, said that while the words themselves are not anti-Semitic, “the misleading ad targets Israel and that can have an anti-Semitic impact.”

      “It is clearly anti-Semitic in its conspiracy theory (against Israel) that has been proven wrong,” he said. “They have chosen not to believe it.”

      Bruce Barrett, co-owner of Barrett Outdoor Communications Inc., which owns the billboard, said he received one phone call about the billboard and immediately had his sales staff check it out and personally went to the USS Liberty website and clicked through the links to determine whether there was hateful language against Israel by the group or its supporters.

      “I found nothing that appears to be anti-Semitic,” he said. “My sales staff checked and determined there was no hate speech.”

      Barrett said his company would never condone putting up a billboard that contained hateful language, but he is a huge proponent of freedom of speech.

      “People have a right to challenge historical events,” he said. “They should have a right to say that.” …”

      A LTE was published today:

      “Thank you for your report about the billboard asking Americans to help USS Liberty veterans, whose ship was ferociously attacked by Israel, killing and injuring over two-thirds of the entire crew. It is disconcerting to learn that the ADL opposes a billboard honoring these American veterans, the most decorated crew for a single engagement in the history of the U.S. Navy. Such a stance seems ill-considered, as it might suggest to some that the ADL’s loyalties are with Israel and not America.

      — Alison Weir

      Richmond, California”

      Thanks to Alison Weir et al, and Bruce Barrett.

      • Kay24
        April 3, 2016, 12:26 pm

        Only in a zionist controlled nation can a billboard supporting our veterans, asking for an investigation, and wanting justice, be considered “anti-semitic”.

        Life in the our United States gets ridiculous by the day. Sad.

  2. Kay24
    April 3, 2016, 12:27 pm

    Hope this play comes to Princeton NJ.

  3. MaxNarr
    April 4, 2016, 3:32 pm

    You may notice that nobody can actually say he was killed by the IDF because it’s simply not known. The Or commission was not allowed by the family to exhume the body for autopsy to analyse the bullet wounds so this case remains a mystery.

    Maybe the play is a murder mystery?

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