07 August 2006

The man who wasn't there

Today's Australian "Cut & Paste" section (p15, not online) prints an excerpt from what appears to be a review on ABC Radio National by Imre Salusinszky of "Honour Bound", a "theatrical performance based on the imprisonment of David Hicks". The excerpt includes these comments

David Hicks doesn't present himself automatically as a subject for these performances. Artists have to accept responsibility for the choices they make, and I think this one is not just out of touch with the Australian community, but somewhat offensive, given what international Islamism has done to us.

We all say that al-Qa'ida is the enemy and we have to flush them out before they kill again, yet we choose this one man, who admits to being in al-Qa'ida and, because he has an Australian passport, make him the focus of protests and petitions and films and plays. There's a great inconsistency here.

Mr Salusinszky did indeed say these words on the arts program The Deep End (audio still available) last Thursday. What
The Australian didn't say (apart from that Mr S is its NSW political reporter) is on the program website: "
Imre Salusinszky hasn't seen Honour Bound as yet - but he's got some strong views about putting the story of David Hicks on stage."

In its arts pages today the paper does print
a review of Honour Bound
"Hicks's jail tale triggers passionate response" by John McCallum, who appeared with Mr S on The Deep End discussion.

It's clear from his descriptions of the action

In a vast steel cage, six performers, choreographed superbly by Garry Stewart, are surrounded by projected texts and video, enveloped in sound and voices, and awash with harsh, shredded light as they fly, hang or turn in the air, crashing against the bars, floor or each other and dance violently, abjectly or tenderly around this frightening, nightmarish space"

that he has actually seen the piece, though he acknowledges that

Because David Hicks has become such a powerful symbol -- a monster, a victim, a terrorist, a martyr, depending on who's talking -- it will anger and upset different audiences for different reasons.

Now that his piece has been mentioned in The Australian I wonder whether Mr S will be clarifying that he didn't see the performance. Somehow I doubt it.

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