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February 7, 2019 10:37 am

Puppets on a String Draw Children’s Smiles in Gaza

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Children play with marionette puppets made by Palestinian artist Mahdi Karera, during a show at a kindergarten in Gaza City, Jan. 29, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.

A Palestinian puppeteer is tugging at heartstrings in Gaza.

At a kindergarten, Mahdi Karera, who describes himself as Gaza’s first marionette-maker, put on a show about the importance of reading.

An opening song-and-dance number featuring a clown, a cook, a teacher, a boy and a girl, drew cheers and laughter from the young audience.

“There has never been a marionette theater in Gaza,” Karera, 39, told Reuters. “Puppets have a role: they entertain people — children and adults. They promote positive values and change negative ones.”

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Karera, who said he taught himself how to make and operate marionettes, has created 30 puppets out of wood, foam, plastic and metal wire in a workshop on his home balcony.

“I am strongly attached to them, they are like my kids,” he said.

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