Culturelicious: How do you feel about Hamas?

By Fatemeh Fakhraie, cross-posted from her blog

Last Sunday, I went to a local production of Jennifer Jajeh’s solo show “I Heart Hamas.” The show’s site gives a pretty good synopsis:

With the current ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, the threat of global terrorism, and the never-ending negotiations and hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by all of the bad international news. That’s exactly how Jennifer Jajeh feels. And to make matters worse, Jennifer is Palestinian. Well, Palestinian American. Or more precisely: a single, Christian, first generation, Palestinian American woman who chooses to return to her parents’ hometown of Ramallah at the start of the Second Intifada.

Join her on American and Palestinian soil on auditions, bad dates, and across military checkpoints as she navigates the thorny terrain around Palestinian identity. Weaving together humor, slides, pop culture references and live theatre, Jajeh explores how she becomes Palestinian-ized, then politicized and eventually radicalized in a fresh, often funny, searingly honest way.

I really enjoyed the performance. Jennifer’s wit when talking about her Jewish cat Judah or preachy Palestinian audience members made the evening fly by. She’s a wonderful performer, and it showed in both the show’s comical aspects and its serious ones. Her performance and the show’s vivid audio brought her life in Ramallah into startling perspective.

It was comforting and refreshing to hear someone address the, “No, where are you really from?” question. Though I’m Iranian and Muslim, I related to so many of Jennifer’s experiences as a Christian Palestinian trying to figure out where she fit in America. She spoke about feeling confined and uncomfortable in the small Palestinian American community, but being completely alienated from Palestinians in Ramallah. She talked about her frustration with trying to find a place for herself within mainstream American life, sharing examples from elementary school and her attempts to find work as an actress. She spoke about making people uncomfortable just by virtue of who she was—wishing aloud that she could be “ethnic, but without the baggage.”

If you get a chance, you should definitely see the show. She’s currently doing a college tour and will be in Los Angeles early next year—watch for updates at her website!

About This Blog

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at team@racialicious.com.

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

Comments on this blog are moderated. Please read our comment moderation policy.

Use the "for:racialicious" tag in del.icio.us to send us tips. See here for detailed instructions.

Interested in writing for us? Check out our submissions guidelines.

Follow Us on Twitter!

Support Racialicious

The Octavia Butler Book Club

The Octavia Butler Book Club
(Click the book for the latest conversation)

Recent Comments

Feminism for Real – Jessica, Latoya, Andrea

Feminism for Real

Yes Means Yes – Latoya

Yes Means Yes

Sex Ed and Youth – Jessica

Youth and Sexual Health

OMLN

Online Media Legal Network

Recent Posts

Support Racialicious

Older Archives

Tags

Written by:

Fatemeh is currently finishing her master's degree. She currently runs a website dedicated to critiquing how Muslim women are portrayed in both Eastern and Western media.