Saturday, May 28, 2016

Rashomon Syriana


Assad
(Boastfully) I tricked my neighbor, Sunni, and seduced his wife, Syria. She felt ashamed afterwards, just like whore, and she begged Sunni to fight for her honor. He fought bravely, I have to admit, but I was much stronger and had better allies, so I managed to kill him at the end.
Syria
(Angrily) Assad did not seduce me. He raped me. Sunni disavowed me and turned Islamist with shame. I accidentally killed him with a dagger to his cold heart. I should have bashed his head in, that shit-for-brains.
Sunni
(Skyping from what he believes to be Heaven, despite the lack of virgins) Syria is a bitch. Yes she was raped by Assad, but she enjoyed it, so much that she wanted to stay with him. She even asked him to kill me to get me out of the picture. Assad was so appalled by her fickleness, he gave me a choice between killing her and letting her go. That was so honorable of him, I thought, I ended up pardoning him and becoming his bitch. I changed my name to Isis, because it felt more appropriate. But I was still so taken by Syria’s treachery that I accidentally stumbled and the dagger I was carrying in my hand went through my heart. Someone would later steal the dagger.
Obama
(Speaking nonchalantly) All these stories are false. I know, because I was there when the rape and murder happened. I could have stopped the whole thing, but I just didn’t want to interfere. I didn’t think it was my business really. Anyway, Assad did rape Syria. She wanted Sunni to avenge her honor. Sunni was a bit hesitant because he felt that Syria didn’t put much of a fight, and that she was now defiled. What an idiot. But Syria kept insisting, and kept inciting the two men against each other, until they started fighting. There were hesitant at first, and obviously incompetent, I could have stopped them. But you know, not my business. Anyway, eventually Assad won and killed Sunni, but only because he got a little help from his friends: Khamenei and Putin. At that point, Syria ran away to Europe, and Assad limped his way back to his lair, where he is now being “protected” by his “friends.” In a moment of epiphany, I decided to keep the dagger with which Sunni was killed, you know, as a souvenir and to commemorate the whole event, and all that. I felt it the moral thing to do.
Putin
Let me show you what the moral thing to do is. See those children that Syria left behind, I am going to take their clothes and baby bottles and give them to the starving and cold children in Russia. I am a good provider I am.
Obama
Confound you, you bandit. I won’t let you do it.
Putin
I’m a bandit? You stole the fucking dagger and you’re calling me a bandit. How rich!
Europe
You know, I will reluctantly take some of the children and the refugees. Some of my children may not like it so much, and may give them hell, but, I have to find a way to appease my guilty conscience. After all, I, too, watched the whole thing and did nothing. I was of 28 minds about it, and some of them didn’t seem to fit really. But most refugees have to stay far. Very far.
UNHCR
You guys are all inconsiderate moronic assholes.
Syria
Is there a way of drawing your attention again to the fact that I am still alive, and still being raped? Is there anyone left who will stand up for me?
© Ammar Abdulhamid 2016

Note: I think it was around 1978 when my Mom played the role of the wife in the Syrian version of Rashomon. I attended many of the rehearsals and quite a few of the shows. They took place at the famous Al-Hamrah Theater in Damascus. The audience did not seem to get the play. By the late 1970s, Assad’s soldiers had come to make up the majority of the audiences attending such cultural events, all to the detriment of the cultural scene in Damascus, and Syria in general. I don’t think the play was ever produced again. 


Monday, May 23, 2016

Shakespeare's The Tempest: A Modern Syrian Version: Act 30 – Scene 321


Spectator 1
Hey, look over there. A shipwreck.
Spectator 2
Close. It’s actually all that is left of Syria.
Spectator 1
Wow. What happened? Where are the cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples?
Spectator 2
They all dissolved into thin air, like the baseless fabric of all promises of succor made.
Spectator 1
I see. Instead of acting on Never Again, a little bit of history just repeated itself.
Spectator 2
Indeed. Our indulgence has set the monsters free again. For the past is nothing more than a never ending prologue to more of the same.
Spectator 1
And for all too many of us today the revels are now ended, a bit prematurely perhaps. 
© Ammar Abdulhamid 2016



Saturday, May 21, 2016

Mourning: Act 3 - Scene 2



Hassan Nasrallah
Let’s sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings…
Fighter 1
Who is he talking about?
Fighter 2
Commander Badreddine who’s just been martyred in Syria.
Fighter 1
I see. But isn’t he exaggerating a little. After all, the man was a fucking asshole. I mean he was sexting my neighbor’s wife from the “battlefield” all the time. I doubt he ever had a chance to actually fight. He let husband do all that. I mean the man was fighting under him, how sick is that?
Fighter 2
How do you know all this?
Fighter 1
She showed me some of his… messages. We’re sorta having an affair.
Fighter 2
Doesn’t that make you an asshole as well?
Fighter 1
That may be. But you’ll never hear anyone speaking about me as a king, even if I were martyred.
Fighter 2
Yeah, I know. I guess you and I are more like “close the wall up with our Shia dead” types.
Fighter 1
Which is why I say “fuck it.” 
© Ammar Abdulhamid 2016



Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Threat: Act 1 – Scene 1






Obama
(in a surprised tone) Threats again me?
Rhodes
(matter-of-factly) Yes, Mr. President.
Obama
That I should be taken out of the White House and shot?
Rhodes
Hanged, to be precise.
Obama
Hanged? I would’ve thought that by now they would’ve come up with something more original than calling for lynching a black man.
Rhodes
We are not dealing with very imaginative people here, Mr. President.
Obama
That much is obvious. And it’s the Donald who said it
Rhodes
No Mr. President. It’s his retired octogenarian butler.
Obama
So all this uproar and you’re basically telling me the butler did it?
Rhodes
Precisely, Mr. President.
Obama
There’s something absolutely unedifying and somewhat anticlimactic about this.
Rhodes
You know Mr. President, the times they are decadent.
Obama
Indeed. I guess, there is no other choice. Have him arrested, and questioned.
Rhodes
The Butler, Mr. President?
Obama
No. The Donald. Might as well, you know. A little mischief before I leave office.
Rhodes
I’ll get right on it, Mr. President. (Leaves stage)
Obama
(looks out of the Oval Office window) To be or not to be, why is this question still relevant?  Is it because it makes us feel sophisticated, or because I am no longer down with R2P? But how can I be blamed for that? Getting down with OPP is much more fun for my bare bodkin? He can bear a fardel or two for OPP. R2P? Not so much. And enterprises of great pith and moment with this regard their currents turn awry, and lose the name of action.

© Ammar Abdulhamid 2016