War is Never a Solution

A statement by Teesri Duniya Theatre

Teesri Duniya Theatre profoundly mourns the loss of civilian lives, both Palestinian and Israeli. We unconditionally condemn the October 7th assault by HAMAS. We mourn the deaths of the more than 1,500 Israelis killed since October 7th. No matter what the cause, we condemn the horrendous attacks, killings, and kidnappings of Israeli civilians. We appeal for the safe and immediate release of all hostages.

At the same time, we categorically state that the horrendous attacks by HAMAS cannot justify the ruthless collective punishment of the Palestinian people. We condemn Israel’s relentless carpet bombing of residential areas, hospitals, mosques, churches and schools, and their use of prohibited weapons against civilians. No party to an armed conflict is above international humanitarian law – civilians must be
protected at all costs, irrespective of who they are. It must be stated that protecting civilians does not mean ordering their evacuation to a place where there is no shelter, no food, no water, no medicine and no fuel while continuing an indiscriminate, ruthless bombing campaign. Since October 7th, Israel has killed more than 10,000 Palestinians. This includes over 2,500 women and 3,900 children. This is ethnic
cleansing. For more than half a century, Israel has maintained armed occupation and operated through a system of apartheid. Palestinians have been made refugees in their own land, living a survival mission every day and night for over 75 years.

We categorically state that opposition to the government of Israel’s armed occupation, war crimes, state terrorism and other atrocious crimes carried out in the name of defending Israel, does not constitute antisemitism. We vehemently denounce antisemitism, just as we denounce islamophobia, anti-Muslim bigotry, homophobia, transphobia and all forms of racism and hatred.

We stress that, like all countries in the world, Israel has the right and indeed the obligation to defend itself – likewise do the Palestinians have the right to self-defence against their occupier. International laws and the UN Charter sanction the defence against occupiers. We condemn the Western countries who deflect the blame from the occupier to the occupied, willfully ignoring that people under occupation have the legitimate right to self-determination and liberation from oppression.

We believe Israel’s right to defend itself and Palestine’s freedom are not oppositional. We believe Israel and the people who comprise it will be safer if Palestine is free.

We condemn most mainstream Western media for its dehumanized portrayal of Palestinian people, ignoring that Palestinians have been living under occupation, dispossession, racism, and state sanctioned violence for seven decades. The media has consistently blamed the victims for the crimes committed by the aggressor. Doing so has deprived people all around the world of their right to know the truth.

We demand an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, the safe release of hostages, a lift to the siege, allowing entrance to humanitarian aid including: food, water, medicine, fuel and supplies, an end of the construction of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, and the initiation of lasting peace negotiations.
We strongly denounce the United States’ untiring support for the occupation and for providing Israel with war ammunition used against Palestinian civilians. We strongly denounce the UK, France, Germany, Canada, NATO, E.U., and most of the Western world for mischaracterizing anti-occupation movements as the presumed destruction of Israel, weaving together the false narrative that Palestinian liberation equals any sort of antisemitism.

As Canadians, we firmly denounce Canada’s complicity and willful deflection of the problem from Palestine to HAMAS, for equating security with peace, for not demanding a complete ceasefire, for not calling to end settlements, and for its silence on occupation, ethnic cleansing and genocide. We question Canada’s sincerity about the land acknowledgments, settler colonialism and efforts for decolonization when it utterly fails to recognize Israel’s settler colonialism over Palestine and the occupied territories.

We applaud the millions of Jewish people around the world who are fearlessly speaking up against the crimes Israel is committing in the name of Judaism. Their courage is admirable. We join people worldwide who peacefully resist occupation through boycotts, marches, blockades, art, theatre, literature, music, festivals, films and more.

As a theatre company whose moniker is “Change the World One Play at a Time” and whose mission is diversity, inclusion and social justice, our values lends to us creating a safe space for free speech, fearless expression, and raising our voices in support of peace – for silence tantamounts to blessing war. We open our doors to artists of all communities, Arabs, Jews, and others, to unite in support of peace.

We firmly believe that lasting peace can only be attained through negotiation, by addressing the root cause, by halting settlements, and by ending the occupation, by building an understanding through listening, thus ending Western complicities and stopping all violence, including state violence.

In solidarity for peace!