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Spanish artist uses theatre to shed light on refugee crisis

By Khetam Malkawi - Sep 15,2015 - Last updated at Sep 15,2015

AMMAN — The tragedy of Syrian refugees who risk their lives to cross the Mediterranean should be highlighted through art, to attract the world’s attention to their crisis and for Europeans to accept more refugees, Spanish actor and theatre director Marco Magoa said.

Magoa, whose play “The Sky & I” will be performed in Amman on Thursday, said, the main theme of his play is the uncertain destiny of Syrian refugees who flee conflict in their homeland, heading to an unknown future in Europe.

“I feel sad that the world’s attention to the Syrian refugees’ crisis has increased only over the past few months, when hundreds of Syrians are losing their lives in the sea while looking for a peaceful destination,” Magoa said in an interview with The Jordan Times.

He said that Jordan is a good example of an Arab country that despite limited resources has received more than 1 million Syrians, while some countries are still debating our receiving a few hundreds or thousands.

“This is the first time I have seen an Arab country that helps solve almost 100 per cent of other Arab countries’ problems… Jordan is the destination for most refugees, though some think of their stay here as a transit point,” Magoa said.

He added that “The Sky & I” is the first part of a trilogy about the tragedy that strikes on the Mediterranean, where thousands of migrants risk their lives fleeing conflict and instability in their countries, in small, often decrepit vessels in an attempt to reach European shores.

The play will be performed in Arabic by young Jordanian, Palestinian, Iraqi and Syrian artists.

This first part, said Magoa, focuses on the moment the main characters leave their home country to embark on a journey across borders to reach the coast and go on board a vessel, heading to unknown lands.

It is the moment when one character realises that his situation reached its peak and he can no longer go back, and the journey starts.

The performance will be accompanied by poems by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish about memories of the abandoned homeland, and Jordanian poet Islam Samhan.

The second part of the trilogy “Nothing” will be performed in Egypt, while the third part, “Mare Nostrum, End of your Dreams”, will kick off in Denmark, with a planned tour to other European countries.

Magoa, who lived in Syria, Morocco and Egypt for some time, said living in those countries, especially in Damascus, for a while, was one of the reasons that prompted him to write the trilogy.

He also said that those who flee their countries looking for peace and a better future, should be accepted and spared the deadly trip across the Mediterranean.

“We should accept each others as humans and not based on origins,” Magoa said, adding that European artists who speak Arabic like him, and know the crisis in Syria and other Arab countries, should contribute to conveying this message to their European fellows through art.

Prior to the performance in Amman, Magoa held two workshops at Instituto Cervantes in Amman. 

One was for children from Al Hussein Camp for Palestinian Refugees and the other for young artists, including Jordanian and Syrian actors and actresses.

 

The event in Amman is hosted by the Spanish embassy in cooperation with the Spanish Programme for Development Training in the Cultural Sector (ACERCA).

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