Actor, comedian and writer Ramy Youssef has shared a touching story about performing at the first ever comedy festival in Palestine.
The Golden Globe winner took to Instagram to share a series of photos from the night back in 2015 and explained that “most comedy festivals take place at one main venue, but we did shows in various spaces around the region because our audiences were under occupation and unable to come to us.”
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“The show I remember most almost didn’t happen. We planned to perform in Gaza, but at the last minute, we were denied entry by the Israeli Defence Force. But we’re arabs – so we figured out a way. We found an office in Ramallah with a webcam and performed comedy virtually for the Gaza audience thirty minutes down the road. (I think making us the original zoom comedians.)”
Ramy explains that after the show, he did a Q&A and recalls a girl asking how Palestinians could help with the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
“The girl who asked this question is currently a citizen of nowhere. She’s not welcome where she is, yet there is no way for her to leave. Still the first thing she wanted to ask a group of Americans, was how she could help us.”
Ramy is telling this story because he says “occupied people are occupied everywhere. Those who are abandoned can feel each other from across the world.”
He adds that “Israel and Palestine is not about Jews vs Muslims” but rather the accountability of the Israeli and American governments.
“Maybe this is politically difficult, but it’s not morally difficult. We should be able to speak up for that young girl in that way that she hopes to speak up for us.”
Ramy ends by joking about wanting to be able to perform there again:
“I wanna be able to get heckled in Gaza.”
(Feature Image Credit: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock.com)