By Yousef M. Aljamal – Gaza
The Science and Culture Centre in Al-Nusierat Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip acknowledged the anniversary of the passing of William Shakespeare through a display of his play, King Lear, which was adapted into an animated film by high school students.
Dr. Kamal Ghunaim, Head of the Board of Trustees, told the crowd that attended the event at the Ministry of Education: “This is not the first material to be produced in English by the Center and it aims to help bridge the gaps between Palestinians and other nations.” Ghunaim stressed that Arab and Muslim literature influenced Shakespeare, such as in Othello, which contextualized the work of Arab poet, Deek Aljin Alhomsi, in which he talked about killing his wife, Ward, after being told to do so by his cousin, Abultaib.
Ghunaim added that, “King Lear has paid a heavy price for listening to dishonest people who told him half-truths.”
Ali Abuhasabalah, Director of the of Middle Area Directorate at the Ministry of Education, thanked all students and teachers who were involved in the production of King Lear, adding that, “this is an achievement to the Directorate as all students and teachers involved attend high schools run by the Directorate.”
Dr. Abdallah Kurraz, Professor of English Literature at Al-Azhar University, highlighted Shakespeare’s ability “to use language and discuss universal themes such as freedom and equality.” He noted that Palestinians share a common ground with Shakespeare who showed us how, in the Merchant of Venice, “we should not follow the example of Shylock, who exploited the poor and needy.”
In his concluding remarks, Mohammed I. Aljadili, a teacher of English language and Director of the animation produced by the students mentioned the different stages of selecting students and training them. Aljadili noted that this work helped “reveal the creativity of students and highlight their creative and leadership abilities.”
English major students at Gaza’s various universities as well as high school students study the works of Shakespeare. His words and wisdom live on as they explore his literary works. Shakespeare himself said in Sonnet 18:
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
– Yousef M. Aljamal is the Palestine Chronicle Correspondent in the Gaza Strip.