Aljazeera begins 15th year celebrations with Mavi Marmara play
Ceremonies and artistic tributes to mark 15 years of Aljazeera began on Nov. 11 in Doha with the Mavi Marmara play, a joint production of Ministry of Arts, Culture and Heritage of Qatar and Aljazeera.
Palestine, Middle East, Turkey 16.11.2011

The play portrays the suffering of the activists on board the ship Marmara which was attacked by the Israeli forces last year.

Before the start of the play at the Qatar National Theater, the audience had the opportunity to watch footage from the Mavi Marmara attack from giant screens. Then the play began with the scene when retired archbishop Hilarion Capucci made a speech to the passengers on board the Mavi Marmara. One of most famous actors of Egypt, Wajdi Alarabi, performed the role of Capucci.

A total of 70 thespians, 10 of whom are Turks, performed the play. The play is performed in both Turkish and Arabic. In most of the scenes, there are both Turkish and Arabic dialogues but the décor of the stage and the body language of the thespians leave no need for translation.

Muhammad Abdulmuti, writer of the play, said he made use of the accounts of Aljazeera reporters Osman al-Bitiri and Ali Sabri who were on board the Mavi Marmara, personal blogs and diaries of the other activists on board the ship while writing the play. Abdulmuti also said he used an interview he and the play’s director Salim al-Cuhusi made with IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation President Bülent Yıldırım as a source for the play.

A limited number of the 600 activists on the Mavi Marmara were portrayed in the play. Sheikh Ekrem Kassab, a member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Haneen Zoabi, a member of the Knesset, Muhammad Gulam Veled al-Hac al-Sheikh, secretary-general of the Mauritanian delegation to support Palestinian people and representatives of some non-governmental organizations were in the play’s scenario.

The most admired scene of the play, which was constantly interrupted with applause, was the scene when archbishop Capucci took a side with the passengers who were performing the Morning Prayer on the ship as it was the case in reality. In the decoration of the play, a model of the Mavi Marmara ship and videos from the ship were used.

At the end of the play, Mavi Marmara activists who were among the audience, were invited to the stage one by one. Activists such as Ekrem Kassab, Haya al-Satti, Osman al-Bitiri, Muhammad Fal, Ali Sabri, Andreh Abu Halil, Cemal al-Seyyal, Wasima Bin Saleh greeted the audience. A huge applause broke in the hall when IHH’s Bülent Yıldırım was invited to stage, which was like the sign of love and support for Turkey. Turkish ambassador to Doha voiced his wish for the performance of the play in Turkey, too.

One of the most interesting dialogues in the play was as follows:

Turk: If you get on the ship, you will come face to face with Israel.

Arab: We are not cowards, we will come face to face with them just like you.

Turk: Yes, but your government may punish you because you violated its orders and angered Israel while our government will stand behind us. 

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