Postcards From Palestine |TWO: Rehearsal, lunch and Circus!

Today is Friday. Ramallah is nicer when it’s less busy and our taxi driver is happy to take the city center road directly to Ashtar Theater, where we have our last rehearsal before the opening tomorrow.

The rehearsal is going well.  We have to stop now and run for a quick lunch before attending a first event of the day at 5:00pm. We chose a place called “Garage” not far from Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre where the event will happen.

In Garage there are some clients but everyone is a foreigner. The food is delicious and fresh but it arrives late. We have to take our sandwiches to go. The event at Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre (where Mahamoud Darwish the famous Palestinian poet’s last office is) is happening in the Garden.  

Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre Gareden - Pierre Muylle presentation.jpg

As it is warm, Pierre Muylle chooses to do his presentation of “Zahr” outside. Pierre is a Belgian artist from Bruges, who searches for objects in Palestine that make us wonder: “Where do they come from? Who produced them? What do we do with them”? Things are noticed, packed, transported, unpacked elsewhere and shared with a curious audience. Uncovering objects and discovering the connecting force they have.

Surprisingly, he has collected objects from my hometown of Nablus - objects that you never imagine could exist: like a hand written magazine; a painting that seems to belong to an Israeli militant; and many others. The most interesting part of Pierre’s presentation is the unexpected story behind each object, and his narration. He is a very good writer, slowly easing you into the world of these objects.  For example there is a painting of vegetables; when you see it you think “This is something you see everywhere in art academies”. But the REAL story of the painting is that is has 400 sisters (another 400 paintings of the same kind – all of vegetables). Pierre reproduces the 400 frames in the garden of Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre to give us an impression of what these 400 paintings would look like.


From that lovely event we jump directly into a car to go to the Ramallah Circus School in Beir Zeit, a town near Ramallah, to see a documentary film called  “What Happened In The Tent”. (

“What Happened in the Tent” is a story in which documentary makers Majd Khalifeh and Roel Nollet search for a connecting force in circus arts. An exchange project between two circus schools, one in the West Bank, the other at Molenbeek in Belgium, brings together two groups of youngsters from vulnerable zones. For local youths, in many cities in the Palestinian Territory, there is a lack of entertainment and distraction from the sometimes harsh reality. With the help of the Palestinian Circus School young people can escape the daily routine and transform their energy into a positive force.

As soon as you arrive the Ramallah Circus School you enter a world full of joy, fun and happiness; there are some kids practicing and the film is shown inside the tent.

Although the film was full of joy, when I exited the tent where the film was shown, it was with a sigh. When you see a possibility of happiness that doesn’t come, it makes you sadder.

Ramallah Circus School.jpg