On May 3, 2012, 10 teenager members of the Diyar Dance Theater of Bethlehem, Palestine presented their “Portraits of Fear . . . Room for Hope” at the Women’s Club of Minneapolis’ packed auditorium. It was the opening event in Westminster Presbyterian Church’s Palestinian Arts Festival.
This performance emphasized the process of creating hope in the midst of fear in the following six segments:
- Palestinian young people come together from different neighborhoods to discover their identities and self-confidence in the midst of oppression.
- The young people try to develop a positive spirit in the face of depressing information in the newspapers about the occupation.
- The young people live within many social constraints created by men oppressing women, the old oppressing the young and the strong oppressing the weak.
- The young people face lack of work opportunities with 40% youth unemployment.
- Fears of isolation help the young people unite to become stronger as a community.
- The young people find strength by uniting to forge hope, artistic confidence and a feeling of freedom.
The Diyar Dance Theater is a program of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church of Bethlehem, Palestine, which is a partner of Westminster Presbyterian Church. Its mission is to celebrate Bethlehem’s rich history and culture and to nurture creativity, imagination and freedom of expression.
The photos are by Tom Northenscold.