Rarely out of the news, the coalition forces' presence in Iraq has been the subject of much controversy and political debate over the past three years.
Girl Blog from Iraq: Baghdad Burning is based on a blog written by 'Riverbend', a 25-year-old Iraqi woman living in Baghdad prior, during and after the invasion. It is dramatised by a cast of five young American actors.
It takes a few minutes to acclimatise to the style of the play. A time-line narrator walks through the audience interjecting with the actors on stage, reading out the dates of each diary entry and describing the events of conflict that happened on that particular day.
But the spectator quickly begins to focus on the events and experiences of a country decimated by conflict and descending into civil war. Read on...
A professor of mine told me once that history is not written by the winners, but by the artists. Of course, that's the kind of thing you expect to hear from a self-important, as-yet-unpublished playwright/artiste. However, certainly in my lifetime, the portrayal of events in film and literature surrounding the Vietnam War have changed as we've gained perspective and sought to reconcile ourselves. We're seeing with the 9/11 "docudrama" that John posted about earlier an attempt to re-write history over the events of 9/11 (and there are many films made/slated for theaters as well).
The beauty of Riverbend's blog is in its simplicity of being just one woman's reaction to the events in her country. It's not about the greater question of theoretical politics, it's not about right and wrong. It's about how the machinations of political forces outside of her control are affecting her and her family's lives in very tangible ways. Perhaps it is Riverbend's experiences that will serve as the first attempt to write the history of our war in Iraq.