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Cablegate: Al-Kut Celebrates Eid with Play Highlighting Rule

VZCZCXRO5432
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #3318 2881538
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 141538Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9953
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 003318

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV SCUL KPAO IZ
SUBJECT: AL-KUT CELEBRATES EID WITH PLAY HIGHLIGHTING RULE
OF LAW, HUMAN RIGHTS

(U) This is a PRT Wasit reporting cable.

1. (SBU) Summary: The cast of the popular Iraqi TV sitcom
Mud House performed a free outdoor public play in downtown
al-Kut, sponsored by PRT Wasit, as part of the Eid
celebrations on October 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. The hour-long
play, a secular patriotic performance, hammered away at the
themes of human rights, democracy, and the upcoming Iraqi
provincial elections. Each performance was prefaced by a
lecture on human rights and democracy given by one of Wasit's
most respected law professors. Members of the provincial
government, Iraqi police, U.S. forces, and the PRT, along
with thousands of Wasit citizens and their children freely
mingled at these early evening events. The lecture and play
were covered by multiple Iraqi media outlets, including
Iraqiya, Sharqia, Massar, and Salam TV. End summary.

PRT sponsors play for all comers
---------------------------------

2. (SBU) The Mud House actors, from a popular Iraqi TV
sitcom filmed in Wasit Province, drew overflow crowds to each
of the three Eid performances. Supported by the PRT, with
the request that the play involve the themes of rule of law
and democracy, the actors presented a compelling, often
hilarious, but ultimately tearful patriotic performance.
Remarkable for its inclusiveness, the audience of over 4,000
included Iraqis from all walks of life. Young men sporting
their finest new Eid clothing jockeyed for the best seats
with tribal sheikhs in full traditional robes and families
with small children. The Provincial Governor, the Chief of
Police and an American Army Division Commander also attended
this very public open air theater. At one point late in the
show, as interest and humor peaked, dozens of children,
clearly unconcerned at the American military presence at the
event, moved forward to a position between the American
Division Commander and the stage. In a particularly
reassuring sign of improved security, several PRT and
military interpreters brought their families including young
children to the event and publicly introduced them to their
coworkers from the PRT and American military units.

Human Rights and Rule of Law
-------------------------------

3. (SBU) The events opened with a short introduction to the
history of Human Rights and Rule of Law by Professor Sattar
Sharhan of the Wasit College of Law. Starting with the
signing of the Magna Carta and working through the American
and French Revolutions, the professor finished by emphasizing
the rights of individuals and minorities guaranteed by the
new Iraqi constitution. He explained how these
constitutional rights have challenged some of Iraq,s less
democratic neighbors, who, fearing that their own people also
may demand these rights, are trying to destabilize Iraq. He
praised the people of Iraq, especially the tribal leaders in
the west and the Iraqi security forces, who stood up to these
challenges and fought for Iraq and human rights. The actors
followed up on this theme with their play &Iraq is Not for
Sale.8 The well-known cast pulled no punches in declaring
that Iraq and its candidates for election were not for sale
to foreign influences. The play ended with the cast holding
an Iraqi flag and reciting a patriotic poem about the
people,s love for and their willingness to sacrifice for
Iraq.

4. (SBU) Comment: The huge turnout of citizens to this
outdoor event, held on the grounds of the al-Kut Tourist
Hotel, the venue of intensive combat between Coalition forces
and Jaysh al-Mahdi during the Sadr uprising of April 2004, is
a strong indication that security prevails and a return to a
more normal life clearly has begun in Wasit. That a
prominent law professor as well as the famous actors of Mud
House were willing to challenge militias and terrorist
organizations and put their public officials on notice that
the elections are not for sale in this decidedly public forum
speaks highly not only for the courage of these individuals,
but also for the improved security situation that allowed
these events to take place. End comment.
CROCKER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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