Giant refugee puppet joins ‘huddled masses’ in New York By Reuters


By Andrew Hofstetter

NEW YORK (Reuters) – An enormous refugee lady puppet, referred to as “Little Amal,” walked round New York Metropolis’s Occasions Sq. on Friday, elevating consciousness of the plight of displaced kids in search of security throughout borders.

The 12-foot-tall (3.66 meters) puppet, whose identify means “hope” in Arabic, began her journey on the Syrian-Turkish border in July 2021, met with Ukrainian refugees in Europe, and can go to town’s 5 boroughs over the subsequent 2-1/2 weeks.

Amal represents a 10-year-old in search of her mom who set out searching for meals and by no means returned, mentioned Peter Avery, director of theater for the New York Metropolis Division of Training and producer of Little Amal Walks New York.

“After the Center East and Europe, the producers of Little Amal selected New York as a result of they mentioned America and Europe particularly are the place the ‘huddled lots’ are welcome, the Emma Lazarus poem,” mentioned Avery, referring to the phrases inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

Broadway performers and about 200 New York Metropolis college students serenaded Amal to calm her in bustling Occasions Sq..

“To see a bit … Syrian refugee lady being welcomed like a rock star everywhere in the world is simply so transferring,” mentioned Eric Sirakian, who stars in “The Kite Runner” on Broadway.

Designed by the Handspring Puppet Firm based mostly in South Africa, Amal involves life with the assistance of a puppeteer on stilts inside her bamboo body controlling strings that create the puppet’s facial expressions. Every arm is operated by a puppeteer exterior.

“Little Amal’s message to the world is, ‘Do not forget us,'” Avery mentioned.

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