World Theatre for Equal Dignity (WTED)
HumanDHS is primarily grounded in academic work. However, we wish to bring academic work into "real life" as well. Our research focuses on topics such as dignity (with humiliation as its violation), or, more precisely, on respect for equal dignity for all human beings in the world. This is not only our research topic, but also our core value, in line with Article 1 of the Human Rights Declaration that states that every human being is born with equal dignity (that ought not be humiliated). We agree with Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, who advocates the building of bridges from academia as follows, "I have always believed that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential for public policy. It is possible to affect public policy without being an advocate; to be passionate about peace without losing analytical rigor; to be moved by what is just while conceding that no one has a monopoly on justice." We would like to add that we believe that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential not only for public policy, but for raising awareness in general.
We look for interested people, who would like to develop our WTED page. Please see our Call for Creativity.
Masked directed by Ami Dayan
"Masked" is a play by an Israeli playwright about three Palestinian brothers at the DR2 theater in Union Square, NY, a powerful, provocative, compelling play about the conflict between, within, and around this family caught in the conundrum of the Middle East situation.
Miss Saigon (Musical)
From wikipedia: Miss Saigon is a modern adaptation of Giacomo Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly, and similarly tells the tragic tale of a doomed romance involving an Asian woman abandoned by her American lover. The setting of the plot is relocated to the 1970s Saigon during the Vietnam War, and Madame Butterfly's American Lieutenant and Japanese geisha coupling is replaced by a romance between an American GI and a Vietnamese bar girl.
Comment by Evelin Lindner (26th August 2007, Brisbane, Australia):
I saw Miss Saigon at the Lyric Theatre of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) in Brisbane on 26th August 2007. The connection to the issue of dignity and humiliation that struck me was that love, a force that can connect people in profoundly dignifying ways and can provide them with ultimate integrity, is rendered powerless as long as the world is divided into countries that are defined by the Security Dilemma (please see Lindner's publications for more). The Security Dilemma divides communities and fosters hierarchical social structures internally. The Security Dilemma is a dilemma because it is so tragic.
Its tragedy is dramatically displayed in Miss Saigon. The deeply inhumane division of our global human family, a division into countries that require visas and legal papers to be accessed, is one of those tragedies. These dividing lines are stronger than love, in many cases also in today's world. The other tragedy is that individuals in traditional hierarchical collectivist societies do not extend personal freedom to their members so that they would be able to honor love. Kim (Miss Saigon) had been promised away in marriage by her father as if she was a commodity owned by her family. Also this tragedy is still widespread in today's world. Not to mention the tragedy that also in Western individualistic societies, who pride themselves of the fact that their members "own" themselves and are not owned by others like commodities, still the dignity of the individual can be overruled by money. In the sex trade, for example, bodies are sold and dignity destroyed, also today, all over the world.
In Miss Saigon, suicide is the only way to uphold personal dignity, for Kim. She is surrounded by circumstances that transform all choices, except suicide, into humiliating sell-outs of her dignity. She, even though burdened by unimaginable hardship throughout all her life, hardship that would have broken most people's integrity, proves to be the only player who musters the personal perseverance and courage to stand by her dignity and love. On a personal level, she pays the ultimate price (her life) for her lover's lack of persevering faith in their love.
Please hear also critical voices (Warriors and Rulers: The Roles of Asian Women in Asian Society): "Orientalist stereotypes of sexist Asian men dominating their women prevail in the western imagination. That is why enlightened European men need to rescue Asian women from their oppression by offering them the chance to join liberated European/Euro-Am society as the sex mates of white men.
Many European/European American whites, both men and women, believe in the need to rescue women of color from their societies of origin, and particularly from men of color. This gives rise to some white people's attitudes of smiling benignly on unions between white men and women of color while frowning on unions between white women and men of color.
No where is this attitude more obvious than when it comes to the Asian women-white men syndrome. White-male-produced entertainment depicting Asian-female-white-male couples abound. Sayonara, Miss Saigon, Madame Butterfly are prime examples. Yet there are far far fewer films depicting white-woman-Asian-male couples."
By Tina Ottman (29th July, 2007)
A literal "theatre of the oppressed", Juliano Mer-Khamis's Freedom Theatre was founded in 2006 in Jenin Refugee Camp, Palestine, inspired by the work of his late mother, Arna Mer-Khamis, whose life and work is documented in her actor-filmmaker son's extraordinary film Arna's Children. (Arna Mer-Khamis was a peace activist who received in 1999 the "alternative Nobel Peace Prize" the Right Livelihood Award, for establishing the "Care And Learning - In Defense of "Children Under Occupation" project, including the Stone Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp, to alleviate children's trauma under occupation through art and theatre.) The Freedom Theatre rises from the ashes of Arna Mer-Khamis's Stone Theatre, which was destroyed during the 2002 Jenin refugee camp invasion; it is a space for performances and workshops given by local children and visiting artists, aiming to "empower children to find new ways of solving problems and to develop the confidence needed to face the hardships of their everyday reality", a place where boys and girls can "can equally and safely express themselves . imagine other realities and challenge existing social and cultural barriers" (http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org/aboutus-aims.php).
The Beauty Inside by Catherine Filloux
This play followed a Turkish woman attorney who defended the survivor of a rape and attempted honor killing, and the girl's quest to keep the baby against her family's wishes.
Lemkin's House 2005, by Catherine Filloux
Raphael Lemkin, who fled Poland in 1939 and eventually ended up in the United States, campaigned to make genocide an international crime.
Theatre Without Borders (TWB)
This is an informal group of individual theatre artists around the world, who are working to support international theatre exchange.