Osama Awwad: Smile Therapy

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With all of the problems in Palestine, entertainment is often the last thing on people’s minds, says Osama Awwad, a journalist working in Bethlehem. With continuous Israeli army raids, checkpoints, funerals on a daily basis and clashes erupting almost everywhere, the Palestinian territories are not a walk in the park. In fact, a 2013 study by the Palestinian Neuroscience Initiative estimated that 40% of the Palestinian population are clinically depressed.

But Osama feels it is important to focus on the bright side and tries to change the perception of entertainment journalists through his radio show, theatre workshops, and work as an actor and singer. He admits that sometimes other journalists criticize him and accuse him of trying to divert attention from reality, but he believes what he is doing is a different form of resistance. Osama adds that hope is what people need now in Palestine, and that entertainment gives ordinary people room to breath and the chance to forget their tough reality, even if only for a little while.

 

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