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The Student News Site of Buckingham Browne & Nichols School

The Vanguard

The Student News Site of Buckingham Browne & Nichols School

The Vanguard

One-man show examines life ‘In Between’ Israel, Palestine


Half-Israeli, half-Palestinian, Ibrahim Miari grapples with his identity during his hour and half, self-written and directed one-man show, performed before the Global History 2 and Arabic 1, 2, 3, and 4 classes on May 11. Prompted to reflect on his story during an interrogation at an Israeli airport, Mr. Miari re-enacted scenes from his life. Throughout his show, he considered his tenuous existence “In Between”—the name of his play—two worlds at odds.

“What is your story?” Mr. Mirai, playing the role of the Israeli airport official, asked, at the beginning of the play.

As himself again, Mr. Miari flashed back to Purim, a Jewish holiday, in second grade, one of the first instances in his life when his identities came into conflict. For the costume contest in honor of the holiday, the young Avram, as Mr. Miarai’s first name was then, asked his grandmother if he could dress as an Arab.

Now playing his Jewish grandmother, Mr. Miari responded incredulously, “Who dresses up as an Arab for Purim?” earning a laugh from the audience. “You would make a great Arab but no.”

Instead, Mr. Miari donned an anodyne costume with flowers. When it was stolen by another girl, Mr. Miari’s father, enraged, removed him from the Jewish school and enrolled him in an Arab one, beginning Mr. Miari’s shift to a primarily Arab identity. Mr. Miari explained to the audience that he learned Arabic dancing, the Arabic alphabet, and changed his name to Ibrahim, the Arab derivative of Avram. Performing the dance for the audience, Mr. Miari directed them to listen to the tempo and clap accordingly.

Flashing back to the present day, Mr. Miari’s narrated his engagement to a Jewish woman, and the refusal of a Jewish rabbi and a Muslim sheikh to officiate the marriage because Mr. Miari would not commit to either religion.

At this point, his identity struggle came to a head, Mr. Miari said.

“I want to explode myself,” he had written in a diary, which the airport official uncovered, pointing to it as evidence that Mr. Miari might be a terrorist.

Mr. Miari then launched into a monologue about his fraught identity.

“I’m not Muslim enough; I’m not Jewish enough, not Israeli enough,” he said. “I’m an Arab citizen who happens to live in Israel, of Palestinian descent, but I’m not Palestinian because I don’t live in Gaza. I live inside the Green Line [boundary demarcating Israel’s borders, decided during the 1949 Armistice], but I’m not Jewish. They don’t know what to do with me. I’m a demographic problem. I’m the country cancer. You start with a few, and, if you don’t put walls up at checkpoints, they rot.”

Explaining the sentiment he scribbled in the diary, he finished by saying, “I’m a ticking bomb.”

During the play’s resolution, Mr. Miari described his plans for his wedding, which would strike a happy medium between Jewish and Muslim tradition, he said. He and his fiancée would break glass, a Jewish wedding tradition intended to summon the destroyed Temple of Jerusalem down from heaven, he said. But, because that would entail the replacement of the Mosque built on the same land, which Mr. Miari as a Muslim did not condone, they would instead break the glass to heal “this broken world.”

Mr. Miari chose to end on the uplifting note because he is an optimist, he said.

“There has to be hope, an act of moving towards peace.”

During the subsequent question-and-answer period, Presley Jacobson ’25 asked about his relationship with his heritage today; “How have you come to terms with your identity?”

Mr. Miari said he is grateful for his rich heritage.

“I see it as a positive thing.”

Andreu Beltran ’25, a Global History 2 student, said the play expanded his understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Learning about an individual’s experience, and how they relate to a conflict can be really effective in teaching yourself more about why that issue is significant.”

This was the third time Mr. Miari performed “In Between” at the school, the last being in 2019. He was invited by Upper School (US) Arabic Teacher Amani Abu Shakra and US History and Social Sciences Department Head Susan Glazer, each with ties to parts of his identity.

Ms. Abu Shakra, a friend of Mr. Miari, has watched his play eight times.

“I have learned something new about my identity every time,” she said. “I have a deeper understanding of what it means to have a hyphenated identity and to belong to places where you aren’t welcomed.”

Although the play concerned the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, its themes are universal, Ms. Abu Shakra said.

“This is the experience of every immigrant in the world. You have one foot in each country all the time. The countries you’re in treat you that way too. You stop being Arab enough, you’re never American enough, for Mr. Miari he’s never Israeli enough, he’s never Palestinian enough. In anthropology, it’s called the liminal space; you’re inbetween. So, you create your own reality, surroundings, and understandings.”

However, seeing Mr. Miari reconcile two different identities gives Ms. Abu Shakra hope that others can do the same, she said.

“People can find peace within themselves first so that they can find peace with each other,” she said. “The bigger picture for me was, if one person is able to live and flourish having inside identities of being Palestinian and Israeli, of being Muslim and Jewish, and be able to bring that together and make it a positive journey, then can we do it for the rest of the people? If one person is able to make all of these identities work together in a nice positive way, you can do it for the rest of the people.”

The play also resonated with Dr. Glazer, Dr. Glazer said.

“As an American Jew, you navigate your Jewish identity, your American identity, your Jewish-American identity. The play allowed me to compare it to the Israeli-Jewish, Israeli-Palestinian identities. So, I connected with a different experience, but somebody that I share an identity with in certain ways.”

The play brings the history students are studying to life, Dr. Glazer said. “

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is so complicated. But this story gives such a human face to it.”

Dr. Glazer echoed Dr. Abu Shakra’s hope for peace.

“There’s so much hurt and loss on both sides,” she said. “I hope, seeing this story, it creates a sense of, we are human, and we can’t be put in boxes. If we could try to find some way to see the humanity and the connections, then that’s a path forward. I mean, in our own society, a lot of people have these intersections and if we embrace them rather than let them divide us, then it would be a beautiful thing.”

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Alexandra Kluzak, Editor in Chief

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