And peace is what everyone wants.
So it was with great curiosity that I answered the email of one of my readers. He noted that he had been driving along and saw a big beautiful car with Arab plates and the letters umtpal.com. He asked me to follow it up, and I did.
http://www.umtpal.com/ is the website of a very upscale automobile dealership, the United Motor Trade Company, with branches in Ramallah, Shechem, Bet Jala, Bethlehem, Gaza and more. The cars on sale are Audis, Volkswagens and Skodas - beautiful expensive cars. Folks who could afford those cars were anything but poverty stricken. Was that a hopeful sign? Perhaps the economic situation in the Palestinian Authority is doing well. I hope it goes well for the State of Israel too.
While looking through the UMT website, I happened upon a line, "We are represented by our branches and dealers nearly all over the PNT."
I had heard of the PA, but not the PNT, so I googled it. I never found an explanation that I think is appropriate for this website, but I found something else.
What kept coming up in the search was the Palestinian National Theater, "a Palestinian non profit cultural institution which strives to create and to develop a unique cultural life in Jerusalem, by way of producing and presenting artistic, educational and entertaining programs that reflect the aspirations of the Palestinian people."
Holding down a theater company is a very impressive and difficult task. I know, because I have been involved in theater for almost ten years now through my theater company, Raise Your Spirits, and my dance production company, DAMES of the DANCE.
The PNT had several theatrical productions listed on its website and short clips from its productions, which looked well done.
They had local themes, and even Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen. Ghosts is one of Ibsen’s most powerful works, but also one of his most controversial, dealing openly with the ‘‘ghosts’’ of the past and taboo topics like social diseases, infidelity, etc. I was surprised to see those performed by an Arab theater company, but I'm sure it was a big success.
The last entries in the PNT were from 2006 and I found myself rooting for them to continue their theater company. Bringing theater to the public is another sign of normalcy.
And if the Palestinian Authority has a population that can afford the snazzy new cars offered by the UMT, I certainly hope they have the means and intent to continue theater and culture for their people.
When I founded the Raise Your Spirits theater company in 2001, it was out of a desire to give women chizuk (strength) in the face of Arab terror. Since then it has continued to brighten the lives of about 40,000 women. A community that supports theater is a healthy community.