Sesame Street seeks Gaza access 21Oct09 October 23, 2009

Educational organization wants to promote self esteem for Gazans, talk about peaceful conflict resolution.

Middle East Online -  21 October 2009


JERUSALEM – Big Bird and his pals are trying hard to get access to the Gaza Strip to talk about peaceful conflict resolution and carry out some Muppet Diplomacy, Sesame Street announced on Wednesday.

“We know that it’s an extremely volatile area, but we also feel that it’s really important that we take these step forward to promote self esteem for Palestinians,” said Gary Knell, president of the Sesame Workshop, the educational organisation behind the popular children’s series.

A Palestinian version of the series — Sharaa Simsim — is already shown in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but the signal does not reach Gaza, an impoverished and overcrowded territory struggling to recover from Israel’s devastating military offensive at the turn of the year.

“We are going into production with new programmes now based in Ramallah that will focus a lot on peaceful conflict resolution,” Knell said at a news conference in Jerusalem

He said he is particularly keen to send the famous Muppets to Gaza.

“We have felt it important to broadcast (Sharaa Simsin) in Gaza. We feel the children there are in need of positive programming in light of the circumstances over the past couple years,” Knell said.

He said he hoped this could be realised within a year at most.

“We’re going to work with the ministry of education in the Palestinian territories, the prime minister and others to build a really strong Sharaa Simsim, and it is our goal to have this broadcast in Gaza,” he said.

“I believe the program needs to be seen and we’ll use whatever means we can to get it to the children,” he said.

He said he was considering broadcasting the programme to Gaza through satellite, but was also looking into asking the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) or non-governmental organisations to show it to the children of Gaza.

Sesame Street marks its 40th anniversary this year and is seen in more than 140 countries. That “has pretty much made it the longest street in the world,” said Knell.

If you liked this article, please consider making a donation to Australians for Palestine by clicking on the PayPal link
Thank You.
Bookmark and Share

Add a Comment

required, use real name
required, will not be published
optional, your blog address