Truth and Treason by Rahul Varma
Iraq 2007, after Ramadan
It is 2007, and Iraq is roiling under the American occupation. Fractured by warring political factions, threatened by Islamic fundamentalism, preyed on by American industrialists, it is a place where the cry of a dying child often goes unheard. Against this backdrop, the Americans prepare to host the Conference for Democracy and the Salvation of Iraq, a glittering assembly of powerful Iraqis and Americans. One day, at the checkpoint in front of the conference, a little girl in search of her father is shot by an unidentified American soldier.
Ten-year-old Ghazal Ahad, the daughter of an Iraqi writer jailed by the dictator Saddam, lies critically wounded at the checkpoint. As an angry mob gathers, the American officer in charge, Captain Edward Alston, tries to deal with the ‘incident.’ He learns that the girl has a rare blood type, and requires an immediate transfusion from her father, who is still in prison. He tries to arrange for the transfusion, and is about to let the girl’s distraught Canadian mother (Nahla) join her daughter, when he is overruled by Commander Hektor Frank. Hektor insists that Omar Ahad, the girl’s father, is a ‘terrorist’. While Edward and Hektor argue, the girl dies in U.S. custody.
As the conference unfolds, Edward and Hektor struggle to contain the fallout from the ‘incident’. Nonetheless, a Sheikh declares a fatwa on Edward, the Iraqi Prime Minister finds his government threatened, and Hektor, who harbors a secret past, is forced to ‘protect’ both the army and himself.
At the centre of this chaos unfolds an intensely private drama of grief, revenge and forgiveness. Surrounded by those who would exploit, dismiss or deny the death of Ghazal, all in the name of combating evil, three individuals affirm her existence in very different ways. The apolitical and stricken Nahla struggles to persuade a vengeful Omar to return to Canada. Omar, identifying his personal grief with his country’s troubles, renews his political activities and invites the wrath of Hektor. Edward voluntarily faces Omar and confronts the divergence between his army duties and his conscience, thereby endangering his own position. As the turmoil tightens around them, we are led to question not only what comprises ‘war’ and ‘terror’, but how, where and by whom the real ‘war on terror’ is fought...
Keywords: War, Peace, Terrorism, 9/11, Iraq, War on TerrorYear Printed: 2012
First Produced: 2009 at Teesri Duniya Theatre, Montreal, QC.
Running TIme: 90 minutes
Male Cast: 7
Female Cast: 2
There is a possibility to use chorus. The clergyman and the Prime minister can be played by the same actor