This past week, Juliano Mer-Khamis, the internationally renowned actor, director and producer, was killed outside of his theatre, the Freedom Theatre in the Jenin refugee camp.
Juliano was a forceful leader for a simple idea: art can transform lives, politics, and make the world a better place.
The Freedom Theatre was founded in 2006. Juliano described its mission as “using the creative process as a model for social change, provide opportunities for the children and youth of Jenin Refugee Camp to develop the skills, self-knowledge and confidence which would empower them to challenge present realities and to take control of their future.”
The son of a Palestinian father and a Jewish mother, Juliano lived, worked and created in both cultures. He considered himself “100% Palestinian and 100% Jewish.”
He was killed in his car with his one year old son on his lap. Palestinian police have arrested a member of Hamas.
Juliano’s partner, Jenny Nyman, noted that “he always said that he would rather die on his feet than live on his knees.” There’s no doubt that his life on his feet — his work, his example, and his actions — have inspired so many in the region and around the world.
He was once asked, what is the key to a happy life? Juliano responded, “To have somebody love you without conditions, despite who you are.”
Juliano, his accomplishments and his dreams, will always be loved.
- Bill Reichblum