Nehna wel Amar wel Jiran - Us, the Moon and the Neighbors - Nous, La Lune et les Voisins

In 2010, we were living in Mar Mikhael, a district of Beirut. Our neighbors never went to the theater, and when we explained what we were doing, they would ask us which TV channel they could watch us on. We set up on our street to play one of our shows. Nearly 250 people attended this performance, (targeting without understanding it the huge question of public spaces in Beyrouth city). This is how the festival was born: by this simple desire to get to know each other, then finally becoming real neighbors. The five editions, “Us, the moon and the neighbors” transformed Vendome stairs in Beirut into a large open-air theatre, breathing life into its gardens, school yards, houses, and rooftops... For three nights, under the moonlight, Mar Mikhael became a space for reunions: a common tribune where words and movement are expressed freely and exchanged with kindness. Professionals and amateurs shared this big stage at the heart of the city where traditional, classical and contemporary dance, theatre, and music left no room for borders nor elitism, neither hierarchy of arts nor humans. The spirit of this festival remains. Our harbour today is a village in the mountains: Hammana A port is a space where we exchange and revive, trade and get resourced. It’s a starting point and the point of return. A space for those who wander to meet and those who host. It’s often a resting place for people who are very different from one another: a microcosm of our humanity, always in motion. Since 2019, « Us, the moon and the neighbors” adventured in meeting other partners and other realities, travelling from one port to another, and weaving a collaborative and precious network of poetry smugglers. Tripoli, Hermel, Saida, Baalbeck, Saidoun ... A network of friends and a fabric of associations across the country allow us to create a common adventure and to carry together a collective dream: they invite us from one region to another to relish the diversity of this common territory. “Us, the moon and the neighbors” is a promise made to the stars. It’s a light - dim at times perhaps -, but a light nevertheless that reminds us that beyond all our fears, living together and embracing each others’ differences is possible and wished for by the majority amongst us. We want to throw a starry-eyed look at the world, just like a naive clown. Collectif Kahraba carries a childlike dream: the unity in diversity. To trigger unity, we must acknowledge and love this diversity. Every time we take the road together and travel through poetic territories bringing with us around fifty artists, musicians, actors, dancers, circus artists, puppeteers, photographers, directors, visual artists, illustrators. The festival generates a local and international network of collaborations, inviting each of us to be co-responsible for the setting up of an event which affirms that culture is essential to human dignity and that cultural diversity guarantees mutual respect and understanding .

2021

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2017