Culture

'Fallujah': An Iraqi play about the atrocities committed by ISIS

Iraq

The people of Fallujah try to address their past under groups such as Al Qaeda in Iraq and ISIS through a play performed by locals.

Young people in Iraq have thought of a number of innovative ways to portray and raise awareness about life under ISIS and the many crimes committed by the group. In Fallujah, a city that was under ISIS occupation for more than 2 years and has seen more than a decade of terror and turbulence, young Iraqis have been using theatre to tell their story to the wider public.

Mohammed Dawud and a number of his friends and fellow actors have made a play telling the story of a man who’s son has been executed by ISIS militants. The play is set in Fallujah and is designed to show the heartbreak and horror that thousands of residents of the city had to endure.

“We tried to address this period through a dramatic play. The play begins with a tragedy,” explained Dawud. Meanwhile Ayad al-Abadi, an activist who helped organise the theatre production explained that the reason why the play starts straight away with the death of a child is to elicit an emotional reaction from the audience and show that this was how ordinary life was for many living in the city. “The scenes of hanged children and killings are very painful. We recalled the dark days of displacement and violence that the country experienced,” he said.

Summary executions, torture and economic deprivation were common features of life in the city and other areas held by the terror group. As a result, communities were devastated and families were torn apart as thousands were forced to flee from their homes.

Forms of artistic expression were severely limited in Fallujah and other cities under ISIS rule. Only forms of art which served as propaganda for the group was permissible and anyone found using music and art for other purposes were punished severely. Therefore, this production is also an opportunity to revive this tradition for people in Fallujah and across the country.