Words by Zane Datava, Jelena Sitar and Sukhanwar Gulabuddin
Photos by foto.samfundet.no
It is Saturday afternoon in Trondheim, both adults and children sit in the circular entrance room at Samfundet eagerly waiting for the beginning of the show. The Flying Seagull Project creates new worlds out of the given surroundings. Dressed like the pirates and treasure hunters, actors play simple sketches. They use everything what is available around, and only a few things except music instruments. The Flying Seagull project creator’ s richest and never ending material is the audience, both adults and children get involved in cheerful, funny episodes of events, and all laugh together, dance, and play. A new ‘world’ performers create is a little more exciting, more livable, a lot more free, and funnier than the everyday life reality. That is what is needed in many places and their mode of playing doesn’t require using any language or special settings. Their goal and philosophy is to bring smiles for those who need it, as they recognize it as a basic human right. Since 2007 they have been around the world, spreading smiles in refugee camps, hospitals, orphanages, and slums, among other places.
ISFIT has brought them to Trondheim, and they received a warm welcome.
Now it’s Saturday night. People run up the stairs charging to the door to get a seat as close to Latrice as possible. The hall is getting filled with tension and excitement in awaiting Latrice Royale to come to the stage.
Here she comes, with an emotional and uplifting theme focusing on her life story. The songs treat about her life and having a positive outlook, loving yourself and believing in yourself, as well as not regretting mistakes but learning from them and being grateful for all the experiences you had. They made you who you are. She also sings a related song, which is a Broadway classic “I am what I am.”In the end, the audience is given a proper cathartic moment, as Latrice goes off the stage and walks and dances among the people gathered. It gets even more emotional when Latrice’s fiancé, the pianist, asks the audience to sing her a birthday song in Norwegian. After singing the classic “Happy Birthday” in Norwegian, the crowd starts singing the special Norwegian birthday song which brings Latrice to tears. Love is in the air, and standing ovation seems not to have any end. We are not going to forget that night.
Then, finally, it’s Sunday early afteroon and a talk between Peace Prize Laureates. Dr. Shirin Ebadi and Ayat Al-Qurmeziwere are invited to share their views and concerns on the course of peace in ISFiT 2017.
Dr. Ebadi, the first speaker of the session, focuses on the role of young people in the fight against discrimination and making the world less discriminated and safer place for everyone.
“In many parts of the world, politicians are talking about building up walls to divide people- but sooner or later the walls will be demolished by people, as we witnessed the case of the Berlin wall. But I am more concerned about the walls that they want to build between our hearts, and you as young generation make sure to erase such boundaries and gaps which separate our hearts and build bridges to unite the world,” says Shirin Ebadi. According to her, ISFiT is a good model of diversity, where young people have a platform for dialogue and getting to know different cultures and civilizations. This is crucial in shaping a future based on trust, tolerance and mutual respect.
Ayat Al-Qurmezi, a young human rights activist and the Students’ Peace Prize winner, also delivers a touching speech highlighting her personal journey and fight for justice and freedom. On 2011, Ayat was arrested and sentenced to one year in prison after she joined a protest and read her revolutionary/critical poem against the corrupt regime in Bahrain. Sher was released after spending three months in a cell on a condition to stay quiet and not further oppose the government policy and system. She says “I made my first press interview, as I just steeped out of the jail because I had a strong commitment to fight for the rights and freedom of my people.”
Ayat believes that there is always a double standard in some countries, and one gets support based on nationality or passport identification, not as equal human beings. “You might know that, how much people suffer every day, even they get killed, but none of you even add our national flag on your Facebook profiles to show solidarity, because we are not from Paris,” she adds.