Cafe Palestine 17

Café Palestine Seventeen with Jonathan Chadwick, Hossam Madhoun and Jamal Al Rozzi


The Café presented a project with cultural, therapeutic and political importance. Jonathan Chadwick, director of Az Theatre in the UK, has for many years collaborated on projects with Gaza’s Theatre for Everybody run by Hossam Madhoun and Jamal Al Rozzi. Hossam and Jamal coordinate drama and other therapy programmes for traumatised children. Jonathan, Hossam and Jamal spoke about their plans to rebuild the Al Mishal Cultural Centre in Gaza and perform The Emigrants, a play by Stanislaw Mrozek, in a special Gaza adaptation of Mrozek’s play designed for young (18-30 year olds) audiences in Gaza. The Al Mishal Cultural Centre was the only independent, fully equipped theatre venue in Gaza. It was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike on 9th August 2018.

The Cafe started with live music from Gaza featuring Mohammed Shaer playing oud, and Najla Hameed singing the famous Fairuz song “There is a Cafe at the Crossroad”. A translation of the song courtesy of Heba Zaphiriou-Zarifi from PalMusic UK.

“There is a Cafe at the Crossroad”

There is a stove and
There is a fire,
My beloved and I
Endowed it
With our secrets.
I came upon it
I found two young lovers
They filled our seats
Took the journey away from us.
Oh yellowed leaves of autumn
We age, we age
The Streets the houses
Are wider and wider
The world may come to an end
Nothing is left
But you my homeland
Oh My homeland
Oh My homeland,
You remain a young child

Like the arrow returning
From travelled time
I cross the streets,
Not one human smiled to me
All my friends have grown old
Everything has changed
They have become
The past era
They have become
The gold of forgetfulness.