I did not know François Abu Salem; I had not seen his stage work–as actor and director in the Al-Hakawati Theater Company which later evolved into the Palestine National Theater. I found out about his death by accident two days ago.
Within a matter of months, Palestinian theatre has lost two of its most original practitioners–the first, a victim of an assassination, and now François Abu Salem, an appparent suicide. For a people under occupation, exhausted and battered, art matters and matters deeply as resistance but also redress, as a form of self-assertion but also of solidarity.
And that is why, the death of François Abu Salem is an occasion for mourning, even for those of us who knew him solely though his theatrical work–alive and vital.