by Gabriella Ribeiro and Rob Persons, PJC Peacework Interns

On August 9th, 2017 a number of Peace & Justice Center volunteers, interns, and staff members came together and performed an informative pop-up piece that gave insight into the current and looming crisis in Yemen. Through weeks of discussions in our Peacework and Programming Team meetings and the leadership of the summer Peacework interns, we were able to create this performance piece to give an overview of what is going on in Yemen today and what has happening for the past few years.

The intention of the performance was, among many things, to humanize the number of people killed and wounded in the Middle East that we so often see throughout Western media as well as to highlight how the United States, and specifically, how all of us, play a role in the continuation of political turmoil and deterioration throughout the country today. We attempted to humanize the situation in Yemen by sharing personal stories of those who have been affected and distressed by incessant bombings, food insecurity, and the worst cholera outbreak in the world, alongside the facts and statistics that we have become so accustomed to.

As the Peacework interns, we are very aware that the performance piece does not go into all of the complexities of the situation in Yemen. We have purposefully chosen to keep some aspects vague, as going into too many of the political details of the civil war has the potential for taking away from the initial intention of the performance. Therefore, we have intentionally and thoughtfully included links (below) to different forms of media – including, videos, podcasts, and articles – that give contextualization and perhaps, go into more detail than what our performance allowed.

Additionally, we have decided to share our Pop-up Performance Script publicly with our community because we believe that the information and the personal stories that we have chosen to share are meaningful and portray a side of the conflict and humanitarian crisis that mainstream media has a tendency to overlook. Our hope is that folks can share the script with others or even take on the important task of having their own performance piece using our script as a platform to do so.

We would like to take the time and thank all of the Peace & Justice Center volunteers, interns, and staff members who took the time to work with us in order to make this performance and our vision a reality; whether that was contributing to the editing process, providing meaningful feedback, or actually performing in the piece.

Links to learn more:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29319423

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/06/key-facts-war-yemen-160607112342462.html

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2016/08/yemen-conflict-controls-160814132104300.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwwP3SiBIC8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LN10fkAisWA

https://www.yemenpeaceproject.org/blog-x/2017/3/15/episode29

http://www.humanosphere.org/podcasts/2016/09/podcast-breaking-complex-crisis-yemen