Daily Archives: March 17, 2006

‘Talking to terrorists’ opens in the US

Robin Soans’s play finds the normal in the extreme

By Kevin Cullen in the Boston Globe

There was a moment when she was reading Robin Soans’s script for “Talking to Terrorists” that Carmel O’Reilly found herself almost unconsciously nodding in recognition. It was the line in which a British Army colonel remarks that had he grown up in Crossmaglen, a village hotbed of the Irish Republican Army, “I would have been a terrorist.”

O’Reilly, artistic director at the Sugan Theatre Company, grew up in a small village in County Fermanagh, a rural corner of Northern Ireland, and Catholic boys she knew joined the IRA after they’d been beaten or humiliated by British soldiers in the early 1970s. She became a teacher in a technical school, and one night she was stopped by masked men who had mounted a checkpoint. But the masked men weren’t men, they were boys — Protestant teenagers who had joined a loyalist paramilitary group to battle the IRA — and she recognized their voices behind the masks. They let her go.

The next day in school, she and the boys behind the masks greeted one another as if nothing had happened.

Now O’Reilly is directing Sugan’s production of “Talking to Terrorists,” which makes its US premiere tonight at the Boston Center for the Arts. Drawing on interviews with those who have committed, witnessed, or been victims of terrorism, the play suggests that terrorists are not psychopaths but often shockingly normal — extremists made by extreme situations.

O’Reilly doesn’t have to be convinced that, given a particular set of circumstances and experiences, anyone can become a terrorist. “I’ve seen it,” she says, “with my own eyes.”


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Craig Murray to speak at London anti-war demonstration tomorrow

On Saturday 18th March, three years after the start of the war in Iraq, a large anti-war demonstration is taking place in central London. The demonstration is assembling in Parliament Square at 12 noon where there will be street theatre and music.

An art installation by David Gentleman, representing the 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths, will cover much of the Square. The march will then set off along Victoria Street, passing the Attorney General’s office on its way to Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square.

As well as Craig Murray, other speakers include Brian Eno, Jenny Tonge, Ken Livingstone and representatives from Iraq and Palestine.

For further details go here

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RAF doctor may face court martial over Iraq

“If the judge rules in Flt-Lt Kendall-Smith’s favour, the case will have wide implications for all members of British armed forces serving or preparing to serve in Iraq.”

By Robert Verkaik in The Independent

An RAF officer who refused to serve in Iraq because he believed the war was unlawful was told that his concerns were “irrelevant” and that he should now face a court-martial.

Flight-Lieutenant Dr Malcolm Kendall-Smith, a doctor in the RAF, disobeyed an order to return to Iraq even though he had served two tours of duty there. Yesterday, his barrister told a pre-trial hearing in Aldershot that he “honestly” believed the war breached international law and therefore the orders he was asked to obey were unlawful.

Philip Sapsford QC, for the defence, said the officer believed that, because Iraq had not attacked the UK or one of its allies, there was no lawful reason to enter Iraq. Mr Sapsford said he now proposed to call a former SAS soldier to give evidence to support the doctor’s position. Ben Griffin, who left the SAS this year, has said he expected to face a court martial for his refusal to serve in Iraq but instead was discharged with a glowing testimonial.


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