News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Theater Takes on Islamic Fanaticism

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Theater Takes on Islamic Fanaticism

Al-Alhram reviews an Egyptian play that explores the roots of Islamic fanaticism. Why is it that artists are often the first to realize the sources of our social ills? ...

Reviewing Lenin El-Ramli's plays, Nehad Selaiha writes of the dramatist's play Ahlan Ya Bakawat:

Written in the 1980s, at the height of the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Egypt, when the wave of religious bigotry and violence reached an unprecedented murderous peak, Welcome Gentlemen displays, in a highly concentrated form, the same reckless outspokenness, uncompromising intellectual honesty and rigorous, bold scrutiny of deeply entrenched cultural attitudes and prejudices that characterise most of El-Ramli's writing. Documenting the manifestations of this terrible plague of growing fanaticism and warning of its consequences is one thing, and many have done it without daring to probe anywhere under the surface to search for its origins; but trying to trace the plague to its roots in the hallowed depths of the inherited, venerated culture, is quite another and more dangerous thing, almost tantamount to heresy.
That's a pretty universal statement all-around. The point is to break outside the limits of aesthetics and drama and find these same roots in everyday life.

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