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Monday Aug. 13, 2012 8:32 AM (EST+7)
Palestinian-American combats stereotypes with comedy

Read more: culture, comedy, stereotypes, discrimination, Palestinian-Americans, intifada, Hamas, US policy, US foreign policy

RAMALLAH, August 13 (JMCC) - Comedian Jennifer Jajeh uses a T-shirt that reads "I 'heart' Hamas" to express her frustration at stereotypes about Palestinians prevalent in the West, reports al-Arabiya.
The comedian’s performance in which she shares stereotypes she has encountered as a Christian Palestinian-American woman, and other perceptions of Palestine and its people, has been highly praised by US critics.

“The show has very little to do with Hamas actually,” Jajeh clarifies, in an interview with Al Arabiya. “It’s a theatrical exploration of my Palestinian-American identity and my move to Ramallah in 2000-2001 (during the start of the Second Intifada).”

Hamas stands in as a symbol for the image and narrative generated by Western media about Palestinians, she explains.

“We’re allowed to be villains or victims and more often than not in the West we’re cast as the villain. I wanted to own that terminology, play with it in a cheeky way, but also honestly examine the effects of violence and Occupation in a way that wasn't happening,” she says.

Jajeh feels she does not fit into Palestinian or American culture, and that is one of the things she is afraid to tell us. She is also sheepish that she was angry and disappointed that the Intifada interfered with her chances to “hang out” and “party.”

“I admit a lot of embarrassing things in the show in order to humanize the experience for the audience of landing in this unfamiliar world of Occupied Palestine. I need them to know I’m being honest with them and they can trust what I’m relaying to them, that I’m not being didactic, which is how so many Palestinian stories are presented,” Jajeh says.







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