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A group of puppets will embark on a journey spanning 20,000km to bring attention to the pressing issue of the climate crisis.
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A group of puppets will embark on a journey spanning 20,000km to bring attention to the pressing issue of the climate crisis.

The team responsible for the Little Amal puppet, which brought attention to the refugee crisis in Europe, is now aiming to initiate a worldwide discussion on the climate crisis with their upcoming project. This project involves a group of animal puppets embarking on a 20,000km journey.

Amir Nizar Zuabi, the Palestinian artist who co-founded the Amal project, stated that The Herd, a production featuring numerous puppets and set to tour various cities in Africa and Europe, aims to inspire people to approach the climate crisis from a new perspective.

According to Zuabi, climate change is currently the most significant issue we are encountering. It is often discussed in relation to emissions and the Kyoto agreement, which can be difficult for people to fully comprehend. However, Amal’s approach and our goal for The Herd is to provide a more tangible and emotional connection to this issue.

The journey of The Herd is set to begin in spring 2025 from west Africa, although the exact starting location is yet to be determined. The proposed route will cover Senegal, Morocco, Gibraltar, Spain, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and ultimately Norway.

The “main” group will consist of approximately 30 puppets that represent the migrating creatures of the Serengeti. However, they will be accompanied by a “large migration” of diverse animals as they reach new destinations, resulting in a herd that could potentially contain many more puppets.

Zuabi stated that the concept involves migrating alongside a constantly changing and expanding group of animals.

The creators of Little Amal’s journey are The Walk Productions and Handspring, the South African company known for their puppetry in the War Horse theatre show. To bring The Herd to life, The Walk Productions will collaborate with Ukwanda, another South African company, to design the puppets.

Little Amal walks though Hampstead Heath in London.

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Little Amal’s 8,000km trip from Turkey to the UK captured the attention of approximately 2 billion individuals, including online interactions. This journey transformed the 3.5-metre high puppet representing a Syrian nine-year-old girl into a worldwide symbol, even leading to a meeting with the pope. Zuabi expressed their goal of reaching the remaining 5 billion people with The Herd.

The artist from Palestine was informed that visiting the UK might be challenging due to the heated political discussions surrounding immigration. However, the residents of Folkestone, Dover, and Kent were very welcoming and there was a large turnout. Although there were some individuals who expressed their discontent, the artist believes that given the opportunity, people will demonstrate kindness and goodwill.

Being a voice for countless voiceless children is a great responsibility, but it also brings me immense joy.

Zuabi views The Herd as an extension of the Little Amal initiative. During his travels through Europe with the puppet, he conversed with refugees who frequently mentioned that drought and climate change were the driving forces behind their forced migration.

He stated that they had recently returned from the United States and Mexico where a significant portion of the migration crisis is caused by the climate crisis. This is due to crop failures and insufficient income.

Launching The Herd initiative in the southern regions of the world will redirect our focus towards those who are most impacted by the climate emergency, according to Zuabi. He believes that the western world tends to view this issue solely through their own narrow perspective. “For these individuals, it is not a mere concept, but a tangible reality that extends beyond just recycling,” he stated.

Zuabi was raised in Nazareth and has created acclaimed theatrical works centered on the consequences of the Nakba, which involved the displacement of Palestinians from Israel. He expresses that the ongoing conflict must serve as a pivotal moment for the Middle East. “In light of the unfolding atrocities, I am compelled to hold onto the hope that we will learn and grow into better beings,” he stated. “I choose to believe that there is still a glimmer of hope for a brighter future.”

I believe we are currently facing a critical period, not only for Palestine and Israel, as the recent outbreak of violence has revealed some profound realities about the state of the world. There will likely be a great deal of introspection in the aftermath.

Source: theguardian.com