The Hour of Separation
By Kathryn Haddad
New Arab American Theater Works will work with local community members to create and present stories of one hundred years of Syrian and Lebanese immigration and emigration.
Through interviews, workshops, a staged reading, and interdisciplinary production, we will explore what has changed (and what has remained the same) in 100 years of movement between countries. We hope to reflect on anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment, as well as highlight successes and triumphs of our people.
The first big wave of Arab immigrants came to the Americas one hundred years ago as a result of war and famine in the Middle East. The Ottoman empire was falling, and more than 50% of the population died from starvation in Mount Lebanon (then a Syrian province), and were forced to emigrate from their lands. Many of them came to the Americas for a new life where they were seen as strange ‘others’.
Today, a similar emigration is occurring from war torn Syria. Hundreds of thousands are fleeing war to find refuge in America. Through interviews, research, workshop, community dialogue and staged reading, the project attempts to make connections between the past and present condition of Syrian/Lebanese immigrants in Minnesota and beyond asking, What has changed in 100 years of Syrian and Lebanese immigration to America, and what has remained the same?