Yabous Cultural Center and Yabous Productions
Sabeel paid a visit to Yabous Productions’ new center. It is located in a refurbished cinema building in East Jerusalem, which had closed its doors due to the First Intifada and the resulting closure around Jerusalem by the Israeli government. With the help of few donors, Yabous Productions finally fulfilled its dream of having a spacious cultural center. Inside there are two cinema halls, a library, a coffee shop, a literature hall (to host writers, book reviews, discussions, etc.) and a professionally-staffed nursery for participants to leave their children at while they enjoy watching their movies.
Mrs. Rania Elias is the Director of Yabous Productions. She is an ambitious Palestinian woman originally from Bethlehem, and married to a Jerusalemite. She is able to work at Yabous because of a temporary Jerusalem-access permit through the family reunification application. She gave a brief presentation on resisting the occupation through culture, and indicated the significant role that arts, music, and literature play in the process of strengthening Palestinian resolve.
Resistance through Culture
The Palestinian identity and culture had been continuously suppressed by the Israeli occupation in different ways and means; trying to make us ignorant about our history and culture, preventing artists from coming to Palestine, denying entry visas to international artists, prohibiting cultural events, renaming of street names, and closing institutions just to name a few. But as an assertive society with a rich heritage, we Palestinians have been able to express ourselves with our powerful voices through culture and art and pursue activities and events with a greater challenge. For us cultural resistance is carried out in many forms such as establishing a national orchestra, creating an exhibition, building a school of music, renovating a theatre, organizing a festival, publishing of writings, organizing conferences, seminars and lectures etc…
Resistance through Culture is our ability to implement cultural activities and determination to work and continue working and to highlight the occupation’s brutality towards even the most peaceful manners of resisting occupation “through culture and arts”
Yabous certainly does play a part in helping to unify the city and the region, in the face of increasing isolation from the larger West Bank due to Israeli occupation.
Our visit concluded with a tour of the facilities led by Mrs. Elias. She elaborated on the future plans of Yabous for each area that is not yet completely renovated. Yabous Cultural Center has many accessible programs for people of all ages. We pray for Yabous Center and its employees as they continue to cultivate and celebrate the Palestinian heritage in Jerusalem.