Along the Tracks

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

PC-CRAP in Cincinnati

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park was planning a special tour of Queen City schools as part of its education outreach program. The play, “Paradise,” looks at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the eyes of two 16-year-olds - one Palestinian, one Israeli.

However, objections from the Muslim community in Cincinnati have scuttled the tour, according to the Cincinnati Post. Now, just one free public reading will be presented.

“‘The biggest concern we have is that it (the play) is one-sided,’ said Majed Dabdoub, a parent who has children in the Sycamore school district and who is a member of the Muslim community. ‘It’s not balanced.’”

A Playhouse posting from last fall which seeks actresses to play the lead roles describes the play:

“A powerful examination of the impact of war on children, Paradise is the story of two teenage girls. Fatima is Palestinian. Sarah is Israeli. Both love the cobalt skies above Jerusalem, its outlying towns and villages, their families, their country, their friends. In another time and place, they could easily have been friends — sharing their homework, passions, secret crushes and dreams for tomorrow. But tomorrow will never come.

“Fatima and Sarah also live with the nightmare of war. Daughters of two different worlds, trapped in unending cycles of violence, one of them will bring a tragic end to their separate dreams and to their final days of childhood. Based on a true story, Paradise is a powerful look, not simply at the Middle East conflict, but also at the far reaching effect war has on the lives of children.”

The play, written by Glyn O’Malley, was the 2002 winner of the Lazarus New Play Prize for Young Audiences. At a special December reading to invited members of the community, a group of mostly-uninvited Muslim activists berated the Playhouse and the playwrite for their perceived “one-sidedness.” It seems pretty clear minds were made up before the attendees ever heard a word of the play. A good description can be found in this column by Rick Pender.

Another black eye for Cincinnati. Oh, if you’re wondering, the true story upon which the play was based concerned the March 2002 suicide bombing executed by a teenage Palestinian girl.

Truth hurts.

Condensed version

The State of the Union is the topic of the day, and the Washington Post gives President Bush an “incomplete” in laying out the case against Iraq.

The editors of the Cincinnati Post, however, feel the speech was “surprisingly substantive” in its new proposals and “responsible” on Iraq.

The Detroit Free Press was also impressed by the speech, particularly the president’s confidence concerning his case against Iraq.

The Dayton Daily News calls the address a good first step in making the case for war.

Finally, ignoring the question of war, the Toledo Blade - one of America’s worst newspapers - scolds area Boy Scouts for taking part in the free enterprise system by selling a small portion of a local camp to finance improvements to its facilities throughout the region.

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