Photos courtesy of Alrowwad Society
Abdelfattah Abusrour, PhD., teaches “beautiful resistance” for Palestinian children as they struggle with lifelong trauma.
Dr. Abusrour, founder and general director of Alrowwad Cultural and Arts Society will visit the Islamic Resource Center, 5235 S. 27th St., Greenfield, on July 15 at 7pm. The event is open to the public and registration is not required.
The goal of Abusrour’s U.S. summer tour is to create awareness about the Palestinian children who have lived their entire lives in refugee camps under Israeli occupation. An expert in child trauma, Dr. Abusrour will talk about “beautiful resistance,” a technique he developed to help children cope with persistent trauma.
Alrowwad for Culture and Arts, was established in Aida refugee camp-Bethlehem, Palestine in 1998 and registered as a nonprofit organization in August of 2003.
The vision of Alrowwad is to create a Palestinian society free of violence where women and children are empowered through art, self-expression, social entrepreneurship and innovation through self-expression.
The aspiring filmmakers of Alrowwad Film School training program shooting their short films in Aida camp.
Wisconsin Muslim Journal spoke to Dr. Abusrour about his important message and U.S. tour prior to his presentation at the Islamic Resource Center.
How are Palestinians under Israeli occupation faring considering the increase in settler violence these past few years, including the recent genocide and devastation in Jenin?
Most of the time you expect that this is the end, this is the worst that can happen and yet they (Israeli government) surprise us beyond our imagination by what they invent.
It’s an extreme colonial government and they put no limit on their atrocities, for the extremism, for the terrorism. The colonizers come to Palestinian towns and villages and burn them, burn houses, cars. Ministers in this government openly invite soldiers to kill people without any judgment, to make the life of Palestinians impossible.
The Israeli government calls for an “attack on terrorism,” but then they demolish the infrastructures of Jenin. There are huge lies and we only hear that Israel has a right to defend itself, but their victims don’t have that right? They victimize the resistance of the Ukrainians but when it concerns Palestinians, it is terrorism?
We do not need symbolic gestures. Israel will not stop colonizing as long as they have allies like the United States government. The result is the demolition of the refugee camp in Jenin. The Israeli government is more extreme than ever. All over the world, anyone who dares to criticize Israel or say the Palestinians are suffering, are attacked, threatened and blackmailed.
What do you hope to accomplish in the United States while you are here?
I have a chance to tell my story and to be the voice of Palestinian refugees. Not because we want to weep on our past or solicit pity and tears, but simply because it is our right and we have the right to reclaim and choose whether we want to return.
The second part is believing that we share a lot of things that bring us together to connect with other Palestinians, Muslims, Arabs, international groups, in arts, culture and education to build bridges as equals. And to support all that empowers people, inspires hope and promotes life, so that every day that comes, should be more beautiful than the day that goes.
The Alrowwad program offers the opportunity to get to know about the various fields of media to be able to use it as a means of expression.
Everyone is a change-maker and if people are waiting for miracles to happen, they will not happen, they need to provoke them to happen.
I want to express that the Palestinian cause is a political cause, not a humanitarian cause. We are not poor because we are lazy or do not have resources. We are put into poverty by this illegal occupation which deprives the right to circulate, to export, to manufacture…even to fall in love and marry whomever you want.
Unfortunately donor countries dictate what we should do rather than consult with us and help us do what we really need to do. So the message is, that as a cultural and artistic center, we want to see people building with us, creating possibilities, to acknowledge our achievement.
If they won’t support us financially, then consult with us to build infrastructure and create jobs so people keep their dignity. Don’t just come to throw crumbs on the table and say we have helped these poor miserable people, or we feel with you, we pray for you. Yes, prayers are good but at the end of the day we have an organization to run. If there is no action, just good intentions, those good intentions do not change the world.
Make charity constructive, developmental and not just an act to feel that we have helped the miserable. We need people to use their power if they are journalists, politicians, artists, musicians, to defend what is just and right.
Another part of our work, is fundraising to build partnerships and expand the friends of Alrowwad network.
The Alrowwad women’s program is an opportunity for women to discover and develop their skills.
We are parents who want to see our children grow up, change the world and create miracles. They should be walking at our funerals and not the other way around. We owe our children a better future so they think about living for their country and not just dying for their country.
Do you see, besides your work, do you see any glimmer of hope?
We do not have the luxury of despair. Allah is just and we cannot allow injustice to win. Even in the dark moments, when I ask children their hopes and dreams, some of them who are eight years old, say, ‘I want to die, because nobody cares.” I want them to understand we do care.
We cannot give up. It is against my faith to give up.
Alrowwad Society was eager to bring the joy of Eid al-Adha to the participating children by distributing gifts. The children were able to express their creativity and develop their artistic skills.
Alrowwad Culture and Arts Society concluded its first international summer training program for the Alrowwad School of Cinema in June 2023 with students from the French National Film School ,“La Cinefabrique”
Alrowwad Culture and Arts Society conducting a two-day training on facilitating projects, manage risks, communication and advocacy.
The Alrowwad Culture and Arts Society is an independent non-political and non-governmental association in the Aida refugee camp. Friends of Alrowwad USA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.
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Friends of Alrowwad USA
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