News / Arts & Entertainment

    Playwright Explores Lebanon's Sectarian Divide

    Playwright Explores Lebanon's Sectarian Dividei
    X
    July 17, 2013 5:17 PM
    A country with 18 religious sects and a history of sectarian conflict, Lebanon often seems on the brink of violence. Since the uprising in Syria began more than two years ago, that tension has escalated, especially between Sunni and Shia. Lebanese playwright and director Yehia Jaber is trying to defuse the tension through theater. In a one-man play, he highlights the history of Tarik al Jadidah, a low income and predominantly Sunni neighborhood in Beirut that often is seen as a barometer of Sunni sentiment. Paige Kollock reports for VOA from Beirut that the play is one way of the many ways Lebanese are dealing with the tension in the country through art.
    Paige Kollock
    A country with 18 religious sects and a history of sectarian conflict, Lebanon often seems on the brink of violence. Since the uprising in Syria began more than two years ago, that tension has escalated, especially between Sunni and Shia.

    Lebanese playwright and director Yehia Jaber is trying to defuse the tension through theater. In a one-man play, he highlights the history of Tarik al Jadidah, a low-income and predominantly Sunni neighborhood in Beirut that often is seen as a barometer of Sunni sentiment.

    The play, Beirut Tarik al jadadih, is one of the many ways Lebanese are dealing with the tension in the country through art.

    Actor Ziad Itani is portraying the women in Tarik al Jadidah and the scrutiny they face when it comes to marriage. Societal norms dictate that women must choose the right man, from the right family, and of course, the right sect.

    In a one-man play with 14 different characters, the production has brought sectarian slogans and stereotypes from the street to the stage. With stark portrayals of real-life characters, it reveals and subtly mocks the demonization that exists between Lebanon’s sects.

    Jaber said the play is an account of the Sunni-Shia conflicts that Lebanon and the Arab world are experiencing.

    “Based on my experience as a fighter and survivor of the Lebanese civil war, all wars start as tragic and end comedic," he said. "The outlandish differences between people depicted in the play are an exaggeration of the religious fanaticism we are experiencing. Laughter, for me, is an emergency exit. Laughter can easily get you out of a calamity.”

    By recounting the political and social history of the largest Sunni neighborhood in the Lebanese capital, Jaber aims to show how closely connected Lebanese are to one another.

    For Itani, a journalist and first-time actor, the play hits close to home. He grew up near Tarik al Jadidah, and has reported on and observed its residents. He said that in the current political climate, satire is proving more effective than political dialogue.

    “Over the last three years, the Arab World has been through instability that has provoked changes in the mindsets of every Lebanese and Arab citizen," he said. "The popularity of comedy has proven it has the power to change what is happening in the streets much more than political speeches and protests."

    Jaber said all of the characters are based on real-life personalities and that only the names were altered. His goal is to change the way people think by showing them their common history.

    You May Like

    No More Space Race for US, Rivalry Gives Way to Collaboration

    What began as a struggle for dominance in space between two world powers has changed entirely to one of joint efforts

    Beijing Warns Critics Over South China Sea Dispute

    Official warns critics that the more they challenge China's position regarding disputed territories in one of world’s busiest waterways, the more it will push back

    Move Over Millennials, Here Comes iGeneration

    How the first generation to be born, almost literally, with a smartphone in hand, might change America

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020i
    X
    Ramon Taylor
    May 05, 2016 10:05 PM
    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Border Crossings: Bannersi
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 04, 2016 1:07 PM
    Singer and Songwriter, Michael Nelson better known as "Banners" sits down with Border Crossings host Larry London in Studio 4 to talk and perform songs from his debut self titled EP.

    Singer and Songwriter, Michael Nelson better known as "Banners" sits down with Border Crossings host Larry London in Studio 4 to talk and perform songs from his debut self titled EP.