On Tuesday I was given the opportunity to visit Edinburgh to attend the Fair and Ethical Trade on the Fringe event running from 7-27 August, and to attend some exhibitions and a drama as part of the Just Festival which runs concurrently from 5-28 August. The fair is an opportunity to visit and buy from ethical stalls from abroad eg Kenya and Peru; from fair trade stalls from Edinburgh and farther afield, and some local craft and food stalls. The Just Festival creates a space for dialogue and platforms for engagement in local, national and international questions of social justice, equality and identity. In line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it celebrates humanity in all its differences, promoting the exploration of new perspectives with the aim of reducing religious, political and social intolerance.
It was great to meet BAFTS’ members Lumina Jewellery and One World Shop on their stalls at the fair, as well as the event organiser Tania Pramschufer. I had the opportunity to talk with two stallholders from Kenya – Dorostel International and Sanjo Artists – about their organisations and how they were helping women in small communities; and to other UK-based stallholders about a potential interest in joining BAFTS. There was time to pop in on Hadeel selling crafts and food from Palestine, and meet with Equal Exchange for a catch-up chat. The whole city was abuzz, as both the above events sat alongside the Edinburgh Fringe Festival itself and a book festival too!
I intended to visit some exhibitions on Gaza and Displacement of refugees but these had been damaged by severe winds. I managed to see one small one on refugees which was a bonus. The day was rounded off with attending a beautiful, hopeful, proud and vibrant drama entitled “Beautiful Resistance” by Al Rowwad Cultural and Theatre Society, a group of young Palestinians living in Aida refugee camp and working through the daily challenges and restrictions of Israeli occupation and violence through drama, dance and music. They were supported by the Amos Trust. As the General Director of the Alrowwad Theatre Society, Abdelfattah Abusrour, who introduced them and spoke of some of them being delayed and imprisoned before release, and last minute visa rejections being overturned, said:
“As Palestinian refugees, we do not have the luxury of despair. We choose Beautiful Resistance”.
(The link to Al-Rowwad goes through to images from the event on their Facebook page, as their website is in Arabic. To see all BAFTS’ images from the day, please go to the BAFTS’ Facebook page and see our posted and shared pictures on 17th August.)