Kurdish actress Media Rauf Begard challenges violence against women

[Awat Ali/Mawtani] Media Rauf Begard performed the play at the Fine Arts Hall in Sulaimaniyah.

[Awat Ali/Mawtani] Media Rauf Begard performed the play at the Fine Arts Hall in Sulaimaniyah.

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To much acclaim, Media Rauf Begard returned home to present her one-woman drama "Eastern Blood" at the Fine Arts Hall in Sulaimaniyah.

The play, written by Talal Nasraddin, puts the spotlight on violence against women. She performed the play on July 29th and 30th.

It starts out as a love story between a boy and a girl. The girl's family does not allow her to marry her lover, but she defies them and elopes, and eventually has a child. Later on, he deserts her, leading her family to kill her.

Begard presented the play in Syria, Morocco, Denmark, and Sweden, before taking it to Sulaimaniyah.

"I have presented this monodrama in a number of countries," she told Mawtani. "The one presented in Sulaimaniyah featured some changes. Some of the dances presented varied according to the country in which it was played."

Begard was born in Sulaimaniyah and now lives in Sweden. She graduated from the acting department at the College of Fine Arts in Baghdad in 1989, the same year she received a "Best Actress" award in Iraq.

Previously, Begard acted in several plays, including "The Visit", "The One Who Sat Alone", "King Lear", and "The Guard". "I felt great pleasure returning to my city after such a long period," she said. "I present this monodrama to my colleagues and drama fans."

Following the show, actor and theater critic Karwan Salar Kaka Sur asked artists, actors, directors, intellectuals, and theater fans at the Fines Arts Hall to discuss the themes of the show.

Audience member Parwa Ali offered her interpretation of "Eastern Blood".

"We saw the spirit of a woman killed, with the tribal people and intellectuals collectively contributing to her death," Ali said.

Theater critic Nihad Jami shared his perception of the play.

"Begard is expressing the sufferings of a woman by using her body and language," his said. "At times, the body dominated; words and sentences became helpless. At other times, words and expressions dominated, and the body was helpless."

Artist Ali Karim said, "We were in front of an artist who was producing meaning with all her movements and dances."

"Media's performance was so beautiful that very few actresses could perform in such an interesting way," he said. "I really enjoyed the show."

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  • READER COMMENTS

    سلام صادق

    2010-10-24

    Dear officials of Mawtani, accept my greetings on your good website. I was in Oslo when the actress Midia Raoof presented her play, “Eastern Blood” and she was extraordinarily creative. She accompanied the director of this play, the theater actor Haidar Abu Haidar, whose name appeared on the lists of the staff of the play, but I did not see any mention of him in your article. I do not know whether this is deliberate or not. Please, clarify this issue. Thanks.

  • منتصر

    2010-8-15

    Iraq is one of the countries where social norms prevail, in terms of the rule of men over the family and denying the role of women within the family. According to the social conventions, the father or the eldest son of the family is its dictatorial ruler. Hence, he is the one who allows the girls of the family to complete their studies, or to enter the house or leave it. He is the one who decides on their marriages and marriage, and this is among the most important problems that lead to domestic violence in Iraq. Most families prefer to have the girl marry one of their relatives, believing that their cousins should not marry strangers. Such marriages happen against the will of the girl, who must marry at a very young age the man that her family has chosen for her without consulting her. Of course, such a young girl cannot face life’s problems alone, including the children’s affairs and taking care of her husband, his family and his brethren. However, these are an integral part of daily life. Therefore, the first thing that comes to the mind of the girl is divorce and escape from these concerns that are faced by girls and men equally. That is because the boys who want to marry are also forced to marry their relatives or one of their cousins, given to them without any choice to marry someone they like or want to live with.

  • حسين عبد جاسم

    2010-8-6

    The issue of domestic violence is one of the widespread problems in the Arab countries and Third World countries in general, including Iraq. Iraq suffers terribly due to the spread of domestic violence in its various forms. I think that the best way to fight such a negative phenomenon is to spread awareness and culture among people, to enlighten them about the risks and disadvantages of this uncivilized phenomenon, by organizing seminars and intellectual dialogues that address the people according to their culture, to diagnose the risk of that phenomenon and to highlight its role in damaging the stability of family life. In addition, the clergymen should play a vital role in this regard, through dissemination of religious awareness and by educating people about the position of religion towards this problem. They should teach people that all religions reject domestic violence against women and children. Moreover, they should stress on the fact that religions prohibit that way of dealing with issues, and urge men in particular not to resort to violence and to use civilized methods to solve problems or misunderstandings that might happen between men and women. They should forbid them from using violence against children, because it leads to psychological disorders in children and it is incompatible with the rights of humans and all existing religious laws on earth. The media is required to play a real and effective role in this regard, by focusing on the provision of educational programs that promote the rejection of this negative phenomenon in our societies. I think that the government should enforce strict laws against any act of domestic violence which affects the family members and to deter whoever wants to continue with this wrong approach, which is an indication that the person is suffering from psychological disorders. These inhumane and uncivilized acts must stop. The civil society organizations have to interact with citizens and encourage them to stop this practice. All official efforts and cooperation with the civil society organizations, independent media outlets, clergymen and intellectuals should be united, to eliminate this phenomenon in the future.