Samia Khoury: Will we ever enjoy a world without walls or barriers?

Posted on Jul 22, 2019

Image: Samia Khoury presents a copy of her book to Pope Francis during his visit to Palestine.

Samia Khoury presents a copy of her book to Pope Francis during his visit to Palestine.

by Samia Khoury

Once again I attended the closing performance of Al-Fawnees last night after I had been at its opening on Saturday, the 13th of July 2019.  It ran full house for a whole week at Yabous Cultural Centre in Jerusalem.  Al-Fawanees is a musical composed by my son Suhail and was performed for the first time at the opening of the Ramallah Cultural Palace in 2004.

The political situation has deteriorated so much since then and East  Jerusalem has become almost another ghetto in which the Israeli occupation has  been trying to  squeeze us into .  It was so important for a show like Al-Fawanees to lift our spirits and put some life into  the streets of East Jerusalem.  We needed such an evening to divert our attention from watching  the news of so much brutality against our people and so  many  absurdities on the political scene.

For those of you who have read my book Reflections from Palestine: A Journey of Hope, I have a paragraph about it in my last chapter about Music.  The musical is based on a children’s story “The Little Lantern,” by the renowned Palestinian writer,  Ghassan Kanafani, but special lyrics were written for the musical by Wasim El-Kurdi.  The Orchestra of the National Conservatory of Music  accompanied the musical which was quite an achievement from 2004, when Suhail had to work with a German orchestra at the time, but the orchestration was done by Bishara El-Khil.  However Edward Muallem was still part of the  team who trained the children in acting and helped in the production while  the main Director  was Fernando Toby from Colombia.  I know how much effort  was put into this work as I watched Rania, my daughter in-law, and director of Yabous accompanying the family every day from morning to night.  Both their boys were guards in the musical and the girls played in the orchestra, and the team of Yabous and the Conservatory as well as  the volunteers have been outstanding throughout this great work.  Here is a quote from my friend Cedar, who attended the musical:  “Al-Fawanees was delightful, very very enjoyable. BRAVO Suheil and BRAVO for the whole set. The music, orchestra, the child performers…..everything. A performance to be proud of. Congratulations to every one of them and congratulations to Palestine.”

The story about the will of a dying king to his daughter is symbolic.  The princess  cannot inherit the throne until she brings the sun into the Palace before the long candle goes out.  Eventually that was possible with a united population,  and when everyone in the kingdom carried a lantern making their way to the palace.  The princess, realizing the sun cannot enter the palace behind  walls and barriers  had ordered the guards to pull down the gates and walls, so with everyone carrying a lantern into the palace  it seemed like the sun did enter the palace, and  the story ends happily with a great celebration.   The joy on children’s faces as they performed with so much passion,  was shared with the audience who gave them a standing ovation and the clapping went on and on.

Will we ever enjoy a world without walls or barriers?