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Theater of Resistance

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We Are the Children of the Camp is performed by children, but it isn't exactly kids' stuff. Presented last week in Burlington, Montpelier and Glover, the work is adapted from the improvisations of 11 Palestinian children, ages 10 to 16, from the Al-Rowwad Theatre Group of Bethlehem. It recounts the history of the Palestinian people told through their own eyes, from the Balfour Declaration of 1917 until the recent peace talks. Using music, dance and pantomime, the children act out scenes of daily life in the refugee camps, from playing amid gunfire to the humiliations of military checkpoints. Many of the play's images and themes are violent and intense, including video sequences of explosions, street warfare and soldiers assaulting civilians. At times its language is provocative, even incendiary, and the play has been criticized for using children as a mouthpiece for anti-Israel propaganda. But it's not essential that everyone agree with its message, said Al-Rowwad director AbdelFattah Abu-Srour. "This is what we live, and it has to come out," he said. "If people don't recognize that, how we can we talk about peace and love and justice?"