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Narratives of resilience: Highlights from ‘The Return’ festival

With a firm belief in the Palestinians' right to return to their homeland, the second edition of the "The Return" festival was held at Loyac Academy on Sunday. Through a compelling monodrama and an expressive choreography performance, artists portrayed the ongoing suffering and resilience of Palestinians, reminding people to keep supporting the cause.

In her theatrical piece, “The Gazelle of Akka”, Palestinian actor and writer Raeda Taha narrated chapters of Ghassan Kanafani’s life, honoring his legacy as a prolific author and activist whose life was tragically cut short by his brutal assassination at the age of 36.

In her conversation with Kuwait Times, she noted that despite Kanafani’s death, his works continue to have a significant influence on people today. “The world must understand that Zionists not only target armed resistors but also those who hold pens, as sometimes the influence of words surpasses that of weapons,” Taha noted.

She emphasized that as a writer, critic, activist, sculptor and painter, Kanafani's multifaceted personality vividly symbolizes the true Palestinian identity. “Ghassan serves as evidence that Palestinians are not merely resistance figures waiting to die at any moment, but they can also be talented artists,” she remarked. Speaking of death, Taha emphatically highlighted her people’s rejection of the concept.

“We don’t believe in death, because we only die for the sake of life,” she affirmed. The show also depicted the unique bond between Taha and Kanafani, who was a friend of her father's, and emphasized the remarkable parallels in their lives and deaths. Both were driven by a singular cause, competing to make the ultimate sacrifice for reclaiming their land, until they tragically fell victim to Zionist violence.

She remarked on inheriting from them their admiration for life, as both lived it to the fullest. “My dad and Ghassan never stopped laughing, whether at life itself, with their endless jokes about it, or in celebration of its moments," she recalled. This trait was evident in Taha’s portrayal of Kanafani’s life in her show, which encompassed everything he cherished, from the arts and music to his inspiring literary works. She vividly mimicked his manner of speech and expression, bringing his memory to life.

As the rest of the event unfolded, the choreography performance led by Tina Zuboic, head of Loyac's dance department, depicted glimpses from the current horrific situation in Gaza. In a sentimental manner, she expressed her heartfelt solidarity with Palestine through movements and a blend of contemporary and traditional songs about Palestine.

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