Theatre article in Village Post March 2023
I appreciate receiving the free home-delivered Village Post Magazine, and generally read all of it for the variety of stories and products you cover.
This week I was dismayed and concerned by a theatre review on page 25, headed Go to Rubble. While I totally support freedom of speech and for sure, freedom of creativity by artists, I don't think a reviewer or a Canadian publication should include false information, even if portrayed in a play, poem or book. That the playwright, Suvendrini Lena wishes to portray the "plight" of Gazans as due to Israel, is her right but it is a lie and the critic who quoted this statement from the playwright, "I think it's (controversial) because it's set in Gaza, which is an occupied territory," is complicit in spreading antisemitism. Lena is totally correct that the play is controversial because the so-called "siege" in Gaza was the response from Israel for thousands of rockets being shot at Israelis by Hamas, aimed at murdering innocent civilians.
Gaza is under no "occupation" except that of the terrorist organization, Hamas, which rules like a military dictatorship, subjugates its constituents, tortures dissidents, kills LGBTQ folks, sends rockets into Israel to kill civilians and terrorizes people. Israel withdrew from Gaza on August 15, 2005 and the terror organization took over in 2007 so all that the residents suffer now is due to the internal Hamas "occupation" by force, since they have held no elections since their original election, and tolerate no criticism.
Lies like this have huge consequences. Israel is an ally of Canada, and is the only democracy in the Middle East. All of its citizens, regardless of religion, race, creed, sexual orientation, disability or other characteristics, enjoy all civil rights and are protected by human rights legislation and the rule of law. That is absolutely not true in Gaza or any of the areas of Judea and Samaria controlled by the Palestinian Authority, also a tyrannical undemocratic government.
Freedom of expression should not spread hatred. We can feel empathy for the victims of conflict in Gaza, but the story needs to more accurately reflect the circumstances, especially at a time when antisemitism is on the rise and much of it is due to the spreading of lies and disinformation about Israel, the Jewish state.
Perhaps your theatre critic could consider context and facts in future reviews. Sincerely,