Due to unprecedented demand, world-renowned Palestinian poet Rafeef Ziadah’s show “We Teach Life” in the International Literature Festival Dublin has been moved from the Peacock to the main stage of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre at 8pm on Sunday 22nd May.
Tour organiser, the Irish playwright Donal O’Kelly says: “To have Rafeef Ziadah perform her work on the Abbey stage in the month of the 1916 Rising centenary is hugely significant, members of the Abbey company having died in the Rising. That a refugee takes to the stage of the national theatre this year, when the EU is treating refugees so harshly, is urgently appropriate. The fact that Rafeef is Palestinian, for 68 years denied their land by Israel’s military occupation and settler colonialism, makes it even more relevant. Her poems of dispossession and resistance could not find a more appropriate stage than that of Ireland’s Abbey Theatre.”
One of the outstanding cultural phenomena of 2016 in Ireland has been the rise of the #WakingTheFeminists movement sparked off as a response to the lack of female writers and directors in the Abbey Theatre’s 2016 “Waking The Nation” centenary programme. Lian Bell, a key campaigner with #WakingTheFeminists, says: “The fact that the demand for tickets to see Rafeef Ziadah has warranted a move to a larger venue is a hugely positive one. I’m delighted that space has been found for a woman refugee poet performing her own work on the stage of our national theatre.”
Speaking about her upcoming Irish tour, Rafeef Zidah has said: “I am both delighted and humbled by the strong support my performance has received in Dublin so far and really looking forward to all my performances in Ireland. I hope my work can bring to the stage a small glimpse of the resilience of many Palestinians and refugees who ‘Teach Life’ with a steadfast smile every day.”
About Rafeef Ziadah
Rafeef is a member of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee, the Palestinian body of the BDS movement worldwide. BDS is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice. This non-violent movement is at present being criminalised in several European countries. It will resonate internationally that Rafeef performs in the national theatre of Ireland, the country that gave the word “boycott” to the English language in 1880, and the country where in the 1980s the Dunnes Stores strikers demonstrated the power of boycott, commended by Nelson Mandela for their help in ending South African apartheid. As anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela recognised, “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
Rafeef Ziadah has performed her poetry all over the world, most recently on a sellout tour of Australia. “We Teach Life” went viral when it was published online and has been republished in many languages. Her new album “We Teach Life” was released on November 2015, an exciting blend of Rafeef’s poetry and music by the album’s producer Phil Monsour.
“Sometimes anger provokes truth: bare, free, not to be stifled or evaded. Sometimes anger, indignation, despair, full blown love of the life of one’s people, one’s own land and planet, can bring fierce flower to the poet’s heart. Then we are blessed with passionate words of resistance that can become the foundation of prophecy. A change for which there is no turning back. Such is the case of this poet.” – Alice Walker
“The words that she says with such beauty and grace hit you right in the heart. They are more powerful than any weapon.” – Angela Davis
“Rafeef ’s poetry demands to be heard. She is powerful, emotional and political. Please read her work and see her perform. You cannot then be indifferent to the Palestinian cause” – Ken Loach