Their smiles are masks—but these masks reveal rather than hide inner thoughts. The people wearing them belong to the “Home of Life” community, and their stage is the everyday streets of the West Bank, where they are using pointedly playful street theater to address the realities of Palestinian life.
“Palestinian laughter” aims to highlight and critique the problems Palestinians face, which include not only the Israeli occupation but also the corruption of their divided government, weak infrastructure and a poor educational system. The campaign will continue throughout January in all West Bank provinces, where roughly fifty young men and women will put on smiley faces over their own, with each person carrying a sign expressing a different suffering, whether political, economic or social.
The “pained smiles” that wandered through Nablus on January 8 included: “Because there the separation wall is in the middle of our home…Laugh wanted“, “Because we have two governments…Laugh wanted”, “Because the death of Palestinians every day becomes ordinary news…Laugh wanted” and “Because we belong to a conservative society and we have the highest percentage of viewers accessing porn sites…Laugh wanted”.
By taking its activism to the streets, the group hopes to realize a shared home “where dreams are grown, ideas are made, and questions are raised”. As campaign coordinator Azad Shams told the press, “we should always be strong and happy…I believe laughter is kind of resistance.”
For more info – Home of Life’s Facebook page