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Selkie Girl by Jessica Shirley with kind permission
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Dream Of Trees: “The Seed is Here. It will only Grow.”


Trees 2010-07-02_5D_7407_Artem_Sapegin (1)Tree tops © Ajven with kind permission (Ajven is from Nove Zamky, Slovakia)


There is a thing in me that dreamed of trees,
A quiet house, some green and modest acres
A little way from every troubling town,
A little way from factories, schools, laments.
I would have time, I thought, and time to spare,
With only streams and birds for company,
To build out of my life a few wild stanzas.
And then it came to me, that so was death,
A little way away from everywhere.

There is a thing in me still dreams of trees.
But let it go. Homesick for moderation,
Half the world's artists shrink or fall away.
If any find solution, let him tell it.
Meanwhile I bend my heart toward lamentation
Where, as the times implore our true involvement,
The blades of every crisis point the way.

I would it were not so, but so it is.
Who ever made music of a mild day?

~Mary Oliver

(linked to haiku my heart ~recuerda mi corazon)

04.05.11 - 12:12 PM

Freedom Theater: "The Seed Is Here. It Will Only Grow."

by Abby Zimet

We mourn the murder of Juliano Mer-Khamis, 52, Israeli actor, director and rights activist killed by masked gunmen outside the theater he founded in the Jenin refugee camp as a bridge to peace. The son of a Jewish mother and Arab father, he was a symbol of resistance who believed in the "fire" of thought, art and the written word. More here, here and here.

Great Sower of Seeds

Bright, Young Trees Nourished by Love

Face Harsh Winds of Change.

~Noelle Renee 4.28.11

Note from Noelle:  This film features some of the theater’s actors and plays and a discussion of its history. Juliano Mer Khamis talks about his reasons for starting the theater in a very personal way. It is one of the best films that I have seen to date on the theater.

  • To Donate Directly to the Freedom Theater in US Dollars Please Use the following Fiscal Sponsor Link for:
  • The Friends of Jenin Freedom Theater and Grassroots International, two groups that share common values of supporting global justice, human rights and social change, including  in the Occupied Palestinian Territories


Noelle Renee

For More Haiku My Heart Posts Please see Recuerda Mi Corazon where true hearts take flight!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Freedom Theater in Jenin: Empowering Children Through the Arts


Photo by Tarek

Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

About Us

The Freedom Theatre - a theatre and cultural centre in Jenin Refugee Camp - is developing the only professional venue for theatre and multimedia in the north of the West Bank in Occupied Palestine. Since it opened its doors in 2006, the organisation continues to grow, develop and expand, enabling the young generation in the area to develop new and important skills which will allow them to build a better future for themselves and for their society.

Empowering Children And Youth
Having grown up amidst a violent military occupation, the young generation in the Jenin area struggle with ongoing fears, depression and trauma. At the same time, few opportunities exist for these youngsters to find positive and creative outlets for their emotions which can allow them to develop a healthy and meaningful sense of themselves and their surroundings.

The Freedom Theatre therefore offers children, youth and young adults in the Jenin area a safe space in which they are free to express themselves, to explore their creativity and emotions through culture and arts. It provides them with opportunities to develop the skills, self-knowledge and confidence which can empower them to challenge present realities and to speak out in their own society and beyond.

Creating Change
The benefits of cultural activities nevertheless go far beyond the individual. Having endured the hardships of an ongoing, violent military occupation, Palestine today is a shattered society and the population struggles with increasing isolation, fragmentation and disillusion. Countering these trends, The Freedom Theatre believes that theatre and the arts have a crucial role to play in building up a free and healthy society.

By encouraging freedom of expression and respect for individual rights, cultural activities break taboos, stimulate cooperation and enhance understanding of the other. Both for artist and audience, the creative process consists of imagining alternatives, rearranging reality and accepting new ways of life. In societies that reward obedience over initiative and following rules over experimentation, this is radical. In theatre it can also be magical.

Care And Learning
The vision of The Freedom Theatre builds upon a unique project, Care and Learning, run by Arna Mer Khamis in Jenin Camp during the First Intifada. Her work was documented in the film Arna's Children , directed by Juliano Mer Khamis - Arna's son who is today the General Director of The Freedom Theatre.

Arna's project focused on using theatre and arts to address children's immediate trauma, chronic fears and depression - all results of a violent Occupation. At the same time, the fierce and energetic humanity of this woman, who was born to a Jewish family and who had chosen to live and work among the Palestinians, challenged the children with possibilities for an alternative reality. The Stone Theatre, which was built as part of Arna's project, was destroyed in the Israeli invasion of the camp in 2002.



Juliano Mer Khamis was murdered in front of the Freedom theater in Jenin on April 4th, 2011 after many death threats for his good work. The work of the Freedom Theater will continue with your help.
Our Mission
The Friends of the Jenin Freedom Theatre, Inc., was established in 2006 in New York to help support The Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp in the West Bank, Palestine. We provide financial and logistic support to The Freedom Theatre by:
  • raising funds for the ongoing operational expenses of The Freedom Theatre.
  • helping finance The Freedom Theatre’s expansion plans, including a new building to house the theatre, new programs and additional staff.
  • establishing relationships for The Freedom Theatre in the United States.
  • hosting children and others involved in the theater during their travels in the U.S.
  • arranging for outside productions to stage performances at The Freedom Theatre.
  • building alliances with actors, artists, educators and others.
Letter To The People Of The Jenin Refugee Camp
We would like to introduce ourselves. We are the Friends of the Jenin Freedom Theater, a group of individuals in the United States who have come together to support the excellent work of the Freedom Theater. Our members come from many walks of life and many religions; we are Christians, Muslims, and Jews, united in our efforts to do what we can to spread awareness about the Jenin Refugee Camp and act as a means for individuals and institutions in the United States to help rebuild and maintain the Freedom Theater.
Our involvement with the Freedom Theater began in 2006, when we had a chance to meet Juliano Mer Khamis and hear him discuss his film “Arna’s Children.” We had all seen the film previously and had been deeply affected by it. All of us are veteran human rights activists and long-time supporters of the Palestinian people, but rarely have we been so moved. After meeting Juliano and hearing more about the efforts to rebuild the Theater, we decided to do our small part for this essential project. Each of us has been supporting the Palestinian people for years or even decades, but in all those years we had seldom been given the chance for involvement in such a wonderful endeavor.
These past seven years have seen a growing outrage among supporters of Palestine in the United States and around the world, accompanied by an even greater amazement at the strength and courage of the Palestinian people. Such outrage and amazement has engendered a growing determination to do more in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their resistance to the Occupation and their insistence on leading normal lives under brutal conditions.
As Juliano told us when we met him, the Freedom Theater is part of that resistance and determination. We therefore have been working to build a small but effective organization here to carry on various activities in support of your and Juliano’s work, including fundraising and awareness-building.
We see our organization as more than a project, however—we see it as a relationship with the people of Jenin. Several of us have already visited the Jenin Refugee Camp; many of you have met them. Others will follow. As we continue with our work, we look forward to seeing this relationship grow and develop. We have each seen something special in the Freedom Theater and in the people of the Jenin Refugee camp, and we intend to maintain our relationship with you for many years to come.
In solidarity,
The Friends of the Jenin Freedom Theater
Board Of Directors
  • Constancia Dinky Romilly, President
  • Inea Busnaq, Vice President
  • Dorothy Zellner, Treasurer
  • Mahmoud Bitar
  • Kathleen Chalfant
  • Felice Gelman
  • Yoram Gelman
  • Ismail Khalidi
  • Liz Magnes
  • Jen Marlowe
  • Josh Perlstein
  • Ann Petter
  • Mariam C. Said
  • Terry Weber
  • Maya Angelou
  • Issa Mikel
  • Yoav Elinevsky
  • Kathy Engel
  • Eve Ensler
  • Danny Glover
  • Suheir Hammad
  • Abdeen Jabara
  • Miriam Margolyes
  • Vanessa Redgrave
  • Jean Stein
  • Lubna Hammad
Contact Us

Friends of the Jenin Freedom Theatre
P.O. Box 592, Tarrytown, New York 10591
Contact: Constancia Dinky Romilly
Tel: 917 991 5653

Support Our Friends

Girls drama workshop in actionIf you would like to play an active role in fundraising and networking for The Freedom Theatre or make a donation to one of our friends and partners worldwide, please contact one of our official Friendship Associations or partners.

  • Friends of The Jenin Freedom Theatre, United States


Noelle Renee

Friday, April 22, 2011

Healing Reflections


Deep Reflections

We Look to the Light

To find the True Reflection

of Our Own Wholeness.

~Noelle Renee

4/22/11 (Good Friday)

(subject: “Fergus”  and his mirrored reflection with kind permission )

For More Reflective and Fascinating Haikus, Please visit my dear friend Rebecca at Recuerda mi Corazon. You will feel that you belong at once and know that it is worth the journey!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

State of Mind

State Of MindWith Kind Permission of  the Photographer, Sherwin James

Sweet Darkness

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing:
the world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

~ David Whyte ~

(House of Belonging)

For Rebecca

rebecca's heart (1)


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Postcards from Paradise: Holy Palmer’s Kiss

Len Whiting and Olivia Hussey in Franco Zeffirelli ‘s Romeo and Juliet (1968)

All Creation is Sacred, so this Palm Sunday, I thought that I would recall the beauty and innocence of those first moments of Eternal Romance between Romeo and His Juliet as they tryst at the ball, cloaking youthful flirtation in the chaste  vocabulary of Pilgrimage, Prayer and Palming.


O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear;
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!
So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows,
As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows.
The measure done, I'll watch her place of stand,
And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand.
Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!
For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.


[To JULIET] If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.


Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss.


Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?


Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.


O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.


Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake.


Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take.
Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.


Then have my lips the sin that they have took.


Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged!
Give me my sin again.

~Act I, Scene 5 Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

For More Postcards from Paradise Please go to Recuerda Mi Corazon! You will be grateful for the journey!

This Film is short and so Worth Watching!

May Life Rise Up to Meet You! ~Noelle

Saturday, April 16, 2011

“A Big Hug, Stay Human":Reflections on the Death of Vittorio Arrigoni





"When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth
and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and
for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall.
Think of it ... always."

~ Mahatma Gandhi ~



A big hug, stay human: Reflections on the death of Vittorio Arrigoni

Article Published on


| APRIL 16, 2011

a big hug

stay human

Your Vik

This is how Vittorio "Vik" Arrigoni always signed off in his emails.

The 36-year-old Italian, my colleague and inspiring friend, was murdered Friday by a group claiming to be Jihadists in Gaza. The Salafis do exist in very insignificant numbers in Gaza, and it is allegedly they who produced the YouTube video of Vik blindfolded, beaten, handcuffed behind his back. The video roughly translated to:

"We kidnapped this Italian prisoner, Victor, who brings to our country the corruption and the destruction of our people, and behind him his infidel country Italy..."

The message demands the release of Sheik Abu al Waleed Al Maqdisi, a leader in the small sect, who had been arrested by Hamas a month earlier. On failing to release him, the video said Vik would be executed by 5 p.m. Friday, Gaza time.

I had known Vik since November 2008, when I arrived in Gaza via the Free Gaza movements "Dignity," the third boat to break the siege.

Vik, active in Palestinian justice for nearly 10 years, was already well-known in Gaza, for more than his characteristic pipe, never far from his mouth, his array of political tattoos, his Che hat, and his wacky humour. He was known for facing Israeli bullets, shelling and water-canoning when accompanying Palestinian fishermen just miles off Gaza's coast, in Palestinian waters. Vik, and the other internationals who re-started the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in Gaza, went on a near-daily basis with Palestinian fishermen, documenting the Israeli navy's crimes against them and standing in solidarity with fishermen whose injuries, abductions, and killings at the hands of the Israeli navy rarely go reported.

The ISM, accustomed to dangerous work -the principal being standing non-violently in solidarity with Palestinians in places where they are oppressed and aggressed by the Israeli army -- it closed in 2003, shortly after Rachel Corrie was run over and killed by an Israeli soldier driven bulldozer.

Vik had worked with the ISM in the occupied West Bank, was arrested and deported for his non-violent activism, and had documented the tragedies and injustices Palestinians in Lebanese refugee camps face. He was no lightweight, in heart nor in size, and was not politically-naïve. He stood for Palestinian justice, self-determination, the right to resist, the release of the over 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners languishing in Israeli jails, and the return of Palestinian refugees. Accordingly, one of his tattoos was Handala, the cartoon character drawn by Palestinian Resistance Artist Naji Ali.


He arrived in Gaza in August 2008 on the first Free Gaza voyage, the first boat since 1967 to dock at Gaza's harbour. Before that, he was integrally involved in Free Gaza's two years of planning, fundraising, advocating, and overcoming bureaucratic hurdles.

Before I arrived in Gaza, Vik had already been newly-injured once (not including his Occupied West Bank days) when the water-canon the Israeli navy aimed at the Palestinian fishing boat Vik accompanied shattered its windows, sending glass shards into his back. This, by the way, is standard procedure by the Israeli navy: attempt to damage or destroy as much equipment on the boat as possible; kidnap fishermen and confiscate boats and equipment; force fishermen to drop their nets into the sea, or plainly steal the nets. All of this Vik and the rest of ISM were documenting. (ISM Rafah: Italian activist injured by Israeli navy off Gaza coast, 16 September 2008).

Just a couple of weeks after meeting him, Vik was abducted with 15 Palestinian fishermen and two other ISM activists, Andrew, a Scot, and Darlene, an American. All were taken from well within the 20 nautical miles allotted to Palestinian fishermen under the Oslo accords. Vik was tasered by Israeli soldiers who tried to push him onto a sharp piece of wood, Vik jumping into the icy sea to avoid further injury. The fishermen were released, the three activists deported, the fishing boats kept. Abu Adham only received his boat well over a month later, vandalized and unusable. His boat would later be shelled and set aflame by the Israeli navy, completely destroying it.

Vik, ever determined to witness Gaza, returned on Free Gazas 5th successful mission, arriving just weeks before Israel began the 23-day assault on the entire Gaza Strip.

During the war, ISM and Free Gaza rode with ambulances, documenting Israel's war crimes and crimes against civilians. Vik managed to both accompany ambulances and race back along darkened, drone and F-16 targeted roads, to Gaza Citys Ramattan News Agency -the only place we were able to report from-to give non-stop phone interviews and write for his blog, Guerilla Radio as well as Italian and international media, including IL Manifesto and Peacereporter.

In those horrifying 23 days, Vik's humour and compassion matched that of our Palestinian medical colleagues, with whom we rode.

Vik was a counselor to many of us, with an empathetic ear, wise words, and always a "yalla" (lets go) to get things going. His lack of mastering Arabic didn't matter, he peppering his English speech with Italian curses and Arabic adjectives.

To say he was eccentric in some ways would be an understatement, but it would also be irrelevant. He was a fully-conscious humanist and used his political readings and personal experience to advocate clearly, intelligently, often humorously, and humanely for Palestinian justice. He was always ready to go out with the fishermen or get up before dawn to accompany farmers facing similar threats from the Israeli army.

Many a sleepy morning we would meet to take a shared taxi Vik had arranged for our accompaniment work in the southeast or north, Vik always in good humour. He always documented our accompaniments with his hand-held camera, along with one or two of us, and would quickly have the footage transferred to computer and uploaded to the internet.

Vik managed -- despite the busyness of our lives in Gaza and the constant barrage of invitations from Palestinians to eat, drink tea, stay overnight with their family -- to write his book recounting the Israeli war on Gaza and the daily injustices Palestinian face. Stay Human, the English translation, was the book title and his life motto.

When we heard that Vik had been abducted, my colleagues and I, as well as friends who knew Vik, all felt disbelief, then a small hope that he would be released. Why, after all, would any group want to kill someone whose name was as big as his heart and dedication to Palestine.

Our hearts were broken when some hours later we learned Vik had been killed, not only assassinated but hanged. Hamas security reports to have found his hanging body in a Gaza City apartment.

My colleagues and friends, still in disbelief, mourn and celebrate Vik. "He survived so much, he was so strong and robust and this large, life-filled, hard living, sensitive, open man. He was all about staying human," Polish activist Ewa Jasiewicz said. "His spirit's never going to die. His impact, what he's done, the effect he's had on people, his book, his words, his courage ...there was revolution in his daily life. He lived it with love."


"Through all the tears I'm shedding, and the pain -- I'm overwhelmed also by love. A love for Vik, and a memory of his huge capacity for love, and his generosity with it," said Andrew Muncie, from Scotland.
Max Ajl, the author of Jewbonics, and U.S. activist wrote: "He was a magnificent, wonderful person, and a great friend to so many of us. He died because was in Gaza resisting the occu¬pa¬tion. I will miss him."

Before his murder, Vik had planned to briefly leave Gaza, to visit his ill father. "He stayed on and on further once the recent bombing began," UK activist Adie Mormech said, referring to Israel's newest resurgence of mortal bombings, killing nearly 20 Palestinians, including three children, and wounding nearly 70 in the last weeks. "I knew him for a year in Gaza, he was my best friend," said Adie.

But it isn't only his international colleagues who are grief-stricken. Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank are holding memorial vigils for Vik Arrigoni, as well as friends and supporters in Italy and around the world.

"We are heart-broken," wrote Ayyesh, from Nablus. "To our hundreds of friends in Italy, to his family, to our global community, we in Nablus send our condolences from the Palestinians to our friend and fellow activist Vittorio Arrigoni, a most wonderful human being."

Shady Alassar, a Palestinian from Gaza, echoed the sentiments and protests of Palestinians in Gaza over Vik's murder.

"To the family of Vittorio," he wrote on his Facebook page. "The murder of your son, Vittorio, was a big shock to us. It's unfair. We want you to know that our thoughts are with you during this difficult time. Our prays for his and your peace. Our hearts are so in agony for his loss."

Khalil Shaheen, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights Head of the Economic and Social Rights Department said, "Vittorio Arrigoni is a hero of Palestine. He was available everywhere to support all the poor people, the victims."

"Vik was truly a person greater than life," wrote Israeli activist Jeff Halper.

"You will always hold us up and inspire us. Like the Palestinian fishermen you loved so much, we and all others fighting for the fundamentals of life throughout the world commit ourselves to seeing your vision through."

And I remember him, his dedication, mischievous smile, compassion, humility, and readiness, whether to join a Palestinian-led non-violent protest against Israeli attacks on Palestinian farmers or to share a coffee and a shisha and discuss politics.

Following Vik's execution, Gazas main resistance factions -- including Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and Popular Resistance Committees -- all issued statements condemning Vik's murder.

Hamas spokesman Ehab Ghussein said to media that the kidnappers had no intention of trading Vik, instead killing him quickly. Hamas security have reportedly arrested two suspected Salafist members, though other reports have the Salfists groups in Gaza denying involvement.

A Haaretz article headlines "Hamas official hints Israel killed Italian activist to intimidate future Gaza flotilla members."

Vik, were he alive, would be among the activists not intimidated by such an act. In spring 2011, a Canadian delegation will join Freedom Flotilla 2 in sailing to Gaza, to "expose the Canadian government's unjustified support for Israel" and to reject the Israeli-imposed, internationally-backed -including Canada -siege on Gazas 1.5 million Palestinians. Which is why Vik was there in the first place.

A big hug, stay human.

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian and was an ISM member in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.

Taken from Remembering Murdered Italian Activist Vittorio Arrigoni (A Letter)

Omar Refaat

Letter to Vittori Arrigoni
Seldom does one get the chance to shed precious tears over a complete stranger, torn inside by a loss that on the surface is not your own. Today I’m proud simply for having lived on this earth alongside you, knowing that one night we might have gazed upon the same stars and wondered why. Today the world has been taught an eternal lesson, one that can and should change each and every soul wandering this maddening circus, one that is powerful as a fiery earthquake that shook the foundations of humanity and stripped our ugly, ageing body to a stark naked and sadly despicable truth. So rest in peace, your untimely departure is our loss and failure. Your death is even more meaningful than your glorious life. Your name will go on to make every ugly heart tremble in shame and disgust and your beautiful and sad tale will remain a reminder of our eternal fight , a glowing lantern in this dark age till what you lived and died for triumphs or we just burn this thing to the ground. And I truly hope each child that is brought to this place gets to know who you are, what you mean and what you stand for, to cherish the beauty and sadness of your epic journey and divine existence. You have given us a universe to ponder, a thought that can change the course of this rapid, silent decay. We have failed you and I beg your forgiveness on behalf of this blind herd and I truly hope you find it in your heart to forgive those who ended your stint on this earth. I guess this is a bit immature though for I’m sure you already have. And I implore you to give us your blessings to continue the fight for your noble cause, to shine down on us and light our way. I implore you to tell us it is all right, that there is still hope after all. Your story will inspire the whole human race till the end of time. That I’m sure of. So thank you from the deepest corner of my heart and the purest note in my melancholy soul and don’t be scared, God is waiting for you with a loving and caring smile. The angels of heaven and earth are yearning to embrace your beautiful soul for your work is done here and you deserve better than this mess. And don’t worry. You are not the only one and your end is a beginning.

Looking forward to the honor of meeting you in person.

Omar Refaat
Cairo, Egypt
April 15, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Haiku My Heart: Children’s Haiku~American Garden

Red and Yellow Leaves

Red and yellow leaves
Drift to the ground
A cool breeze

Joey Ramirez 10yrs
Webster School

winter rainy day

winter rainy day
playing in the big puddles
water everywhere

Karle Henry 9yrs
Dry Creek Elementary School

stars twinkle stars shine

Stars twinkle, stars shine
Hovering in the dark sky
I wish they were mine

(VERSE) Holly, grade 4
(PICTURE)Holly, grade 4
@@@@@Peacham Elementary School, Peacham, Vermont

following the bee

following the bee
from one lilac to the next--
curious toddler

(VERSE) Will Brideau, grade 9
(PICTURE) Eric Santiago, grade 10
@@@@@School of the Arts, Rochester, NY

For More Haiku My Heart Please Go to Recuerda mi Corazon. You will be thrilled that you did!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Arigatou Gozaimasu! To All Who Made Our Shelterbox Vision a Reality!

Arigatou Gozaimasu to Thom Brommerich for these beautiful Flower photos! Thank you for your kindness in letting me use them.

Forever Oneness,
who sings to us in silence,
who teaches us through each other.
Guide my steps with strength and wisdom.
May I see the lessons as I walk,
honor the Purpose of all things.
Help me touch with respect,
always speak from behind my eyes.
Let me observe, not judge.
May I cause no harm,
and leave music and beauty after my visit.
When I return to forever
may the circle be closed
and the spiral be broader.
~ Bee Lake ~
 (an Aboriginal poet)
The Names that follow are like the music and beauty of a litany of prayers whispered in the early morning light, a moment of grace amidst the interminable struggles that may sometimes overwhelm. I Breathe in and out and am thankful, always for them.
~Noelle Renee (Aquatic Angels)
Names of Those Who Offered their Love, their Hearts, Comfort,  and Shelter to the People of Japan

Margaret R. Pangert
(I bow in the Shinto tradition.) May the earth continue to live ~ Then the flowers shall bloom ~ And we people shall live again.

Leslie Young
"I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings." Psalm 61:4

Russ Chaffin
Prayers and blessings to the people of Japan

Jennifer A Irwin
May the children find shelter in their parents arms and temporary and new homes.

Bonnie L Ladd

Juliet Tibma
Blessings and Comfort for the People of Japan.

Sarah J Wallis

Norma Schambach
We continue to pray for you!

Elizabeth Smith
For Japan's people sent with prayers of healing

Gillian B. (10 years old)

Marie Steele


Ganbatte Nihon!

rebecca brooks
if you take care of this moment, you will take care of all time- Buddha

Stephanie Hilvitz
Happy to be part of the team

Dawn R Elliott
I love the Shelter Box concept! Bravo!

Annie Jeffries
God bless you. Holding you in my heart.

Susan J Fox
Holding Hands Across the Globe

Noelle R Clearwater
For Love, Compassion, Shelter and Dignity.

Meri Arnett-Kremian
May you find shelter for body and soul.

~More shining Beads in the Rosary of Loving Hearts for Japan~
Without these translucent and sacred gems, we may never have made our final goal. We are eternally grateful for their efforts.

Kathy in SB


Lisa Marie DiNunzio

Kim Candlish

Sarah J Wallis

Dawn R Elliott

Sherry Smyth

deb taylor
holding Japan in my heart

Kim Mailhot
One Big Heart!

Kim A Andersen
Peace by piece
I Thank Each and Every One of You for Your Time, Your Open Hearts, Your Deep and Lasting Kindness and Your Mercy to the People of Japan Who So Need Our Love and Good Will. We Met Our $2,000 Goal Thanks to You! You Are Blessed!
And Finally ~ My Special Thanks to the Lady around whose Heart we All Gather in so much Love And Kindness Each Week. Without Her, Completing This Journey Would Not Have Been Possible. Arigatou Gozaimasou, Rebecca!

~Noelle Renee

Friday, April 8, 2011

Haiku My Heart: Children’s Haiku From the Japanese Garden: Lift Up Your Hands to Bless The World 日本 and Reach Out Your Arms in Love to Nippon


The following are haiku and pictures written and drawn by Japanese grade school and high school children living in Japan. These were published online on a website called Children’s Haiku Garden, along with haiku written by children from the U.S., Canada, Australia and several other countries. I see the website as an international garden where all haiku and the children who write them coexist peaceably.

each insect
its own summer

(VERSE)Saori Yamada 11yrs :Japanese
(PICTURE)Saori Yamada 11yrs:Japanese

a raindrop on the window
in the morning sun

(VERSE) Mai Sonokawa 14yrs :Japanese
(PICTURE) Saki Tokuda 15yrs :
@@@@@Yatsushiro Daiyon Junior High School, Kumamoto Prefecture

spring thunder
breaking some umbrellas,
cherry blossoms scatter

(VERSE)Shotaro Kajihara 12yrs :Japanese
(PICTURE)Emi Sugita 12yrs:Japanese

The sound of the waves
Soothe the pain of my heart
At the evening shore

(VERSE)Masayo Matsumoto 15yrs :Japanese
(PICTURE)Miho Kobayashi 14yrs :
@@@@@Yatsushiro Daiyon Junior High School, Kumamoto Prefecture

moon light
the blossom pink wind

(VERSE)Yuko Miyazawa 15yrs :Japanese
(PICTURE)Seika Yanagawa 15yrs:Japanese

a red dragonfly
little Mi-chan

(VERSE)Mitsuyo Katsumata 8yrs :Japanese
(PICTURE)Midori Hasegawa 11yrs:Japanese

These Haiku May be found at the following link

 For More Haiku My Heart, Please Visit Recuerda Mi Corazon. You will be so grateful that you did. Thank you.

Mission To Help Bring AID and Comfort To Japan:
The Aquatic Angels is a fundraising team that has formed online in an effort to help the wonderful and deserving people of Japan who need our mercy, compassion and care. We are giving you the opportunity to Join Us in Offering the Japanese People, who have faced the disaster of both Earthquake and Tsunami ~Shelter, Comfort, Warmth and a Chance at Human Dignity in the Face of True Disaster. If you would like to help our team, Aquatic Angels,~ simply Sponsor us by clicking on the team name or any one of the other colored links in this paragraph, which will direct you to our team page where you may offer whatever gift of Love your heart leads you to give. In addition, there is a wonderful image of a Japanese doll taken by my teammate Rebecca Brooks at the bottom of my blog page. It says “ShelterBoxUSA” and Aquatic Angels Team. You may click on her as well to reach the Aquatic Angels’ team page. We are trying to reach a $2,000 goal and we are nearly there. The cost of sending one ShelterBox is $1,000 USD. Our money has already gone to sending various boxes and we want to keep contributing. Please open your hearts and give whatever you can to help our Japanese Brothers and Sisters. Lift up your hands to Bless the World and Reach Toward Japan in Love and Peace. Thank you for reading this in kindness.

Added Note: Rebecca of Recuerda mi Corazon has generously offered her Winged Stained Glass Heart pictured at the bottom of my blog. Her offer follows. Thank you,

Noelle Renee ~Aquatic Angels Team Captain

Message From Recuerda mi Corazon:

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Here is a short film explaining the groundbreaking work of 81  percent of donations go directly to helping people  in need. Deployment of boxes is entirely a volunteer effort.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Juliano Mer Khamis ~ In Loving and Respectful Memory of An Extraordinarily Human Being

ג'וליאנו מֵר חמיס‎‎     جوليانو مير خميس

Juliano Mer Khamis
A Morning Offering

I bless the night that nourished my heart

To set the ghosts of longing free

Into the flow and figure of dream

That went to harvest from the dark

Bread for the hunger no one sees.

All that is eternal in me

Welcome the wonder of this day,

The field of brightness it creates

Offering time for each thing

To arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn:

The quiet loyalty of breath,

The tent of thought where I shelter,

Wave of desire I am shore to

And all beauty drawn to the eye.

May my mind come alive today

To the invisible geography

That invites me to new frontiers,

To break the dead shell of yesterdays,

To risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today

To live the life that I would love,

To postpone my dream no longer

But do at last what I came here for

And waste my heart on fear no more.

~ John O'Donohue ~


by Anthony Alessandrini
Jadaliyya is tremendously saddened to report the murder of Juliano Mer Khamis earlier today. Juliano, 52, who was the Artistic Director of The Jenin Freedom Theater and the co-director of the award-winning documentary Arna’s Children, was shot by unknown assailants in Jenin as he was leaving the theater. We offer our deepest condolences to his family, his friends, and all who worked with him and loved him.

Juliano was born in Nazareth in 1958. He was the son of Saliba Khamis, a Palestinian citizen of Israel who was at one time the secretary of the Israeli Communist Party, and Arna Mer Khamis, a Jewish Israeli who spent her youth in the Palmach but became an anti-Zionist activist and a fearless fighter for peace, justice, and human rights. In interviews, Juliano would tell a story that marked the “racial lunacy” into which he was born: his mother went into labor while taking part in a protest against the imposition of martial law on Palestinian villages in Israel. She was rushed to the hospital, "but the doctors refused to stitch her and she nearly bled to death," he said. "They knew she was married to an Arab."

Growing up, Juliano for a time adopted his Jewish maternal name and joined an elite fighting unit of the IDF. "For a whole year my father wouldn't talk to me. He simply kept silent," he told an interviewer. But in 1978, while stationed in Jenin, he refused an order to forcibly remove an elderly Palestinian man from a car and ended up in a fight with his commanding officer. He was imprisoned for a few weeks and then left the army. Ultimately, he came to identify himself, as he put it in 2009, by stating: "I am 100 percent Palestinian and 100 percent Jewish."

He worked extensively as an actor in film, television, and stage, beginning in the 1980s; during this time, he also began to work with his mother on the original Freedom Theater project in Jenin. Funded in part by the prize money that Arna Mer Khamis was awarded when she won the Alternative Nobel Prize, the theater was part of a larger project, “Care and Learning,” set up by Arna and a number of volunteers in the Jenin Refugee Camp. She was the vision behind the project until her death in 1994.

In 2003, Juliano collaborated with Daniel Daniel to produce and direct the documentary Arna’s Children. The film lovingly documented the work of The Freedom Theater, and the lives of the children from Jenin who participated in the plays and theater workshops. The film is also a document of the horrific destruction visited upon the Jenin Refugee Camp when it was invaded by Israeli forces in April 2002, and an account of the Battle of Jenin fought against this invasion. Following the lives and deaths of the young people who participated in The Freedom Theater, as well as the destruction of the theater itself in the Israeli invasion, the film was regarded by many as a masterpiece, and was awarded the Best Documentary Feature prize at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival. In the words of one reviewer, the film is “a work of art, because it was made with a trembling hand, with the stammer of someone who does not know whom to mourn most: his mother, the boys from the Jenin camp or the trampled hopes of people yearning to be free." It is also a film made with tremendous courage and honesty, two virtues that were the trademark of Juliano’s art. Elias Khoury wrote of Arna’s Children: “It was not an ordinary film. I do not know from where Juliano drew the courage and bravery to create this masterpiece, which appeared before my eyes as a testimony stronger than both life and death together.”

The reaction to Arna’s Children helped lead to the possibility of rebuilding and expanding The Freedom Theater in Jenin. In 2006, the theater opened its doors, and since then, it has offered a wide variety of workshops and other opportunities to young people in the camp, along with training in filmmaking, and the first Acting School in Palestine was opened at The Freedom Theater in 2008. The theater has also produced a number of plays, including Men in the Sun and Animal Farm. The theater’s most recent production, Alice in Wonderland, co-directed by Juliano, opened in January to standing-room-only crowds  and rave reviews. All this constitutes a rare legacy, achieved through a tremendous collective effort, and Juliano was the visionary behind it all.

Juliano Mer Khamis was a fearless artist, and a fearless human being. Arna’s Children and The Freedom Theater are only the two most visible parts of his legacy, a legacy that bespeaks the role artistic creation can play even amidst the most horrible depths of injustice and suffering. “The Freedom Theatre will provide the children of the camp a tranquil environment to express themselves and create,”he wrote, describing the vision of the theater in 2006. To imagine the possibility of opening up a space of tranquility, of expression, and thus of possibility, in Jenin Refugee Camp, whose name has become synonymous with the most vicious and destructive brutality of the occupation, might be seen as madness. Its very existence is a testament to the power of the artistic tradition that Juliano embodied with such beauty and power.

In Arna’s Children, Juliano documented, tenderly and fearlessly, the many ways that martyrdom comes to the young artists of Jenin camp. He showed us that every life lost in Jenin needed to be seen and understood as an unspeakable tragedy worthy of our remembrance. As Khoury wrote, so movingly, on the establishment of The Freedom Theater in Jenin: “It stands on ground laid down by the child martyrs, who found that the meaning they learned in Arna’s theatre led them in their early youth to create the epic of Jenin Refugee Camp, through its heroic resistance in 2002. These are the children who we watched in the film Arna’s Children, dying and their blood covering their dream of becoming actors and artists. They are the true owners of The Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp.” Juliano has joined them. The loss of his voice is an irreplaceable one.

Arna’s Children can be purchased on DVD here, with all proceeds donated to The Freedom Theater in Jenin. For other ways to support The Freedom Theater, see here.
Juliano's family has issued a very moving statement that is a testament to his life and work: it can be found here.
Lastly, before this wonderful film about the Freedom Theater, here is a link to an interview that was done with Juliano on his remarkable documentary, Arna's Children, in 2005. It was aired on "Voices of the Middle East and North Africa" on KPFA Radio in Berkeley, California.
Taken directly from

A Short Film on Juliano Mer Khamis’ Theater

Note From Noelle:
We have lost a great and courageous man who spoke for those who had no voice. There is no comprehending the depth of inhumanity that would bring any one person to such actions against someone so pure of heart whose life made such a marked difference to so many. I do not believe that Mr. Mer Khamis would wish people to respond violently to what has occurred. This is a time for unity of purpose, for clarity of vision and for strength of resolve. It is time for the Children of Jenin and their theater ~a place that has been a source of hope, self-expression and personal solace in times of emotional trauma. We must find ways to continue to support this theater in years to come. Juliano Mer Khamis’ gave up his career in acting to devote his life to these children. I am asking, what I can do, now that he is gone.  Here is the link for donation.