Amany El-Sawy, I’m Ahed. Abstract of the Play.



Although I am Egyptian, yet my play “I’m Ahed” belongs to the canon of Palestinian literature known, highlighted S. K. Jayyusi in Anthology of Modern Palestinian Literature, by for its preoccupation with “the treatment of place and time, of tone and attitude, and in its particular involvement with the pervasive political issue”. Since the initial expulsion of 1948, some Palestinians have moved and lived in places other than Palestine, in smaller or larger communities, in Western countries or in refugee camps in neighbouring Arab states. Others still live as internally displaced people after the loss of their original homes in their respective villages like Ahed. “I’m Ahed” shows the loss and injustice contributed to the perpetuation of Ahed’s struggle to return and regain her home/house.

The play is divided into seven scenes. The setting is a luxurious villa on the Shore, with a fruitful garden; the villa was Ahed’s. Nevertheless, it is inhabited by another girl who seems to be ignorant of the awful crimes her Israeli family and ancestors have done to Ahed and her family. The sound of the sea waves are intermingled with Ahed’s passionate song. Ahed bitterly sings the Palestinian national anthem, and her striking voice seems like a spontaneous overflow of nightingales roaming freely, mingling with the sea spray. The Girl tries to know the reason of Ahed’s melancholy, and after many trials Ahed furiously faces her with the blunt fact of her family who usurped her house and land.

This fact is disclosed in Sarit Hadad’s hopeless expressive and telling monologue. Sarit is the Girl’s aunt, and her speech is very close to a hallucination which reveals a heated oppressed brain and soul. A sense of guilt haunts her speech, and she discloses the horrors her family and people have done to the Palestinian children. Sarit admits that because of their brute colonization, Palestinian people become the wretched of the earth.  They are reduced to dark refuges in their camps. They become hollow, yet threatening. Sarit ends her monologue and the scene by asking Hannah – the Girl- to leave the house in order to be free. Nevertheless, the play last scenes juxtapose the previous dark and chaotic ones. The play ends with a hopeful tone. The stage is lit, full of birds and olive trees.

Finally, the curtain falls with the Palestinian flag. Colors are noteworthy in this play. The green color is always associated with Ahed who symbolizes the olive trees and the green land of Palestine. Also, the white color symbolizes Ahed’s and all children’s purity and innocence. On the other hand, the black color dominates the scene in which Sarit hallucinates in her monologue and outbursts her sense of guilt and discloses the horrors launched against the Palestinians. Singing, also, is important motif in the play. The choice of the songs is done deliberately to express the anguish of colonization, the agony of the loss and the trauma of helplessness.

Amany El-Sawy