Soap Opera Offers Peace Messaging in 26 Episodes
Peace messaging and soap operas don’t often spring to the mind as companion pieces, but one East Jerusalem radio series is working to teach active nonviolence to young listeners in a format they enjoy.
East Jerusalem is in a state of social disintegration due to the prolonged Israeli occupation and overall political stalemate, so messages of love and forgiveness are especially needed there.
The Arabic-language soap opera, “Hadudet al-Balad,” has aired in 26 episodes, each 15 minutes in length, and written and performed by a professional Palestinian team. The target audience for the program is primarily Palestinian youth, ages 16-30, who represent a significant majority of the population. That demographic includes many avid followers of radio soaps, giving the program a solid audience in the desired age group for organizers from Middle East Nonviolence and Democracy (MEND).
The soap opera was broadcast during Ramadan on the Internet radio, Hunaalquds, under the auspices of the Institute of Modern Media of Al-Quds University (IMM). The program also was broadcast on FM radio stations throughout Palestine via the Josour Network.
The message of the soap opera will be amplified this fall through focused discussions in East Jerusalem high schools that are designed to bring the subjects of nonviolence, love, and forgiveness even more focus in everyday discourse.
The project is implemented jointly by MEND and the IMM. A similar program co-sponsored by MEND had a successful two-year run in 2003 and 2004.