I have directed a play that was inspired by the testimonies collected in the book by Gianluca Solera “Muri, lacrime e za’tar” (“Walls, tears and za’tar”).
An actress in my company, Elisa Renaldin, read some extracts from the book, and it was through her that I was able to make contact with a person of great humanity, with an enviable cultural background. It goes without saying that I am very proud to have taken part in this project and to have been its director.
Za’tar is a mixture of aromatic herbs used as a condiment for a variety of Arab and Middle Eastern dishes. It also indicates thyme, which is able to grow in, and resist any adverse environmental situation, and which, in the book, and in the play inspired by it, symbolises how deeply rooted people are to the earth and to their origins.
Za’tar is the title of the play, but also of a project of collaboration with a binational movement made up of former Israeli soldiers and former Palestinian combatants, who have come together in Combatants for Peace, an organisation that fights against the occupation, using non-violent means, and that represents the new critical conscience in the region that is trying to achieve peace and tolerance.”

Daniele Brajuka

"Muri, lacrime e za'tar" is a journey, away from the organised tours and official propaganda, that discovers places and people, in a land that cannot find peace, where a people imprisoned by the last ethno-colonial ideology resists by drawing on the overwhelming power of life, relying on certain, little things, like za'tar in olive oil, into which homemade bread is dipped. At a time when an attempt is being made to cancel the identity of Palestine from the maps, I have recorded signs and words, and documented the Palestinian suffering, and the social and human consequences of the occupation on the Israelis. From meetings with politicians and defenders of human rights, refugees and settlers, rabbis and patriarchs, soldiers and prisoners, country folk and taxi drivers, I have built up the picture of a divided land. In the personal stories told, in the travel journals from cities in the Occupied Territories and in Israel, in the meetings with people, Jews and Arabs, that are morally and materially imprisoned by this conflict, there is a wall growing, metre by metre, dividing mothers and children, oppressors and oppressed. But between the walls, there are cracks, which people of good will, who are desperately trying to live with dignity, see, and pass through."

Gianluca Solera

If there's one thing we need now, it is to make the voice of civil society resound, and to create alliances between the Israeli civil society, who reject the Occupation, and the free and democratic civil society of the Arab countries. It is a need, an imperative, and a strategic choice. It will undoubtedly be a challenge for the Arab Spring. During the eighteen days of Maydan at-Tahrīr, my Israeli friends, who have served in the ranks of the Refuseniks, those who refuse to do military service in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, and who created Combatants for Peace, a movement that brings together former Israeli soldiers and former Palestinian militiamen, asked me to create a bridge with the young Egyptian revolutionaries, because they wanted to send a message of support and to meet them. There was an intense exchange over the Internet. After consulting some friends in Tahrīr, all activities proved to be impossible, because the word of an Israeli in support of Tahrīr, even if it were for the liberation of the whole of Palestine, would have been used by the counterrevolutionary forces and by the means of information, to weaken the movement of the young people, who had taken to the streets.

Gianluca Solera


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