OPERATION FLUSH

Written by: Sangram Guha
Directed by:
Samudra Guha
Music: Kankan Bhattacharjee
Set: Hiran Mitra
Light: Sangram Guha
Costume Design: Sampa Sen
Sound: Anup Dhar
Make up: Md. Ali

First show on : July 5, 2004 at Rabindra Sadan, Kolkata
Shows till date: 119 till May,2010 including PAKISTAN.

This play based on the real life trial of the American soldiers accused of torturing the Prisoners of War in the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq during U.S. invasion on Iraq. Although the names of the characters are fictitious but the event bears similarity with the real incidents. As this play is based on the reports published in different newspapers and periodicals e.g. The Daily Mirror, The Guardian, The New Yorker, website of Al Jazeera TV, etc.

Synopsis of the Play

The main character of this play is Lt. Col. Mathan Sarsman, the prime accused for the torture. His colleague, Cell Commander

Director Samudra Guha as Nicholas Tarse
Luke Harding has also being tried along with Lt. Col. Mathan Sarsman in the play. The other major characters are Mr. Nicholas Tarse, the lawyer representing the Human Rights Commission, Madam Amal Swadi, the lawyer representing the tortured Iraqi prisoners, Mr. Megan Davis, the defense lawyer of US National Guard, Sajida Makhmal, an Iraqi woman tortured brutally in Abu Ghraib prison and Al Sameera, a key witness in this case.
The place of the trial conducted by U.N.O. is an Army camp in Iraq. In this play Lt. Col. Mathan Sarsman is being tried of brutal physical torturing as well as raping and killing the prisoners in Abu Ghraib jail. The indomitable spirit and courage of Sajida Makhmal, an ordinary Iraqi woman and one of the tortured prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison helped the court to establish the charges raised against Mathan Sarsman in the court.

Sumita Mukhopadhyay, Subhabrata Choudhury, Sangram Guha, Sampa Sen and Samudra Guha.

As soon as the curtain rises, it shows that two American sentries Girman and Mackenzy are on the stage. From a distant place the sound of "Aajan" flows in to the room. Suddenly Mackenzy jumps up from the chair where he was sleeping and starts abusing and firing in the direction from where the sound comes. Girman resists him and asks him to cool down. An agitated Mackenzy, shows all his hatred against Iraqis with a volley of abuses. From their conversation it appears that Girman does not hold the same opinion and is much more humane who does not support this kind of invasion from his heart.
Suddenly an instruction comes over through the wireless that the trial has been rescheduled and will begin an hour before. Hearing the instruction, both of them start preparing the place for the trial.
After a few moment, Jim Hoax, the record keeper, enters the room followed by Lt. Col. Mathan Sarsman, Cell Commander Harding, Nicholas Tarse, Amal Swadi, Megan Davis and Mr. Fredrich the Judge from U.N.O.
After Jim Hoax reads out the charges against Sarsman, Amal Swadi starts pleading on behalf of the tortured victims. She points out that Sarsman has a past record of torturing the prisoners in Honduras. The lawyer from the Human Rights Commission,
Sampa Sen and Sangram Guha
Nicholas Tarse, tries to establish the charges raised against Sarsman through various arguments. Davis, the defense lawyer, tries to counter them stating that this court does not have the required power to decide on many of the critical issues.
Tarse, then calls up on his first witness, Al Sameera, an Iraqi photographer and the owner of the studio where Sarsman used to print the photographs of his brutal behaviour on the
prisoners. Cell Commander Luke Harding took these photographs through his handycam. When enquired, Sarsman states that they had to take the photographs to keep proof of their interrogation.
Ashim Roy Choudhury, Sumita Mukhopadhyay and Samudra Guha.

Sameera points out, when charged by Davis that he has sold the photographs against a large sum of money, that in one of the photographs two children can be seen hiding. They were his nephews whose parents were killed by U.S. Army. Meheran, the elder one has lost his eyesight due to U.S. Army's attack. Faiyaaz, the younger one, no longer loves to do what the other children of his age do and pines for his mother. He also wants to take revenge of his mother's death.
Al Sameera also points out that he was desperately searching for his ladylove, Sajida Makhmal, who was abducted by U.S, Army and was taken to the Abu Ghraib jail. But he came to know that she was raped and killed by Sarsman in the jail. He has tried to find out the corpse of Sajida but his attempts proved futile.
Tarse alleges that there is a secret group inside the U.S. Army called Project for New American Century (PNAC) whose
Abhigyan Guha and Soumik Saha.
activity is similar to what S.S. was to the Nazis and which is the mastermind behind these activities and Sarsman is a member of this group.
They are experimenting the reactions of human bodies at different stages of torture from the blood samples taken from the prisoners while being tortured. It has also come to know that Sajida was brutally tortured raped, and when found she was still unnerved, Sarsman ordered to cut her tongue which was executed by Harding. Sarsman also says that Sajida died of heart attack right after that.
But Tarse, plays her trump card by saying Sajida is not dead and brings her in as the final witness. Sajida declares that she was not at all scared when being tortured and Sarsman had written down something on her back with his burning cigar. Although initially Sarsman and Davis try to prove that the woman in question is no the original Sajida as because a person can not speak when her tongue is cut off. But when Sajida's back is uncovered, nervous Sarsman admits that he has written "Fuck Iraq" on her back and his action proves that it is the original Sajida who was tortured by Sarsman.
Tarse then unearth the mystery behind the survival of Sajida. He says that Sajida was freed from the jail by Cell Commander Luke Harding. Harding emotionally admits that he did not execute the final order from Sarsman as he considers himself to be a true soldier and not a sadist. Suddenly a chaos breaks up and the guards take control of the situation.
Finally the court finds Sarsman guilty and orders to suspend him from the army. But it makes a mockery of the punishment as Sarsman becomes entitled to various facilities like huge pension for life, free air ticket to travel and a mansion to reside.
Sampa Sen as Sajida Makhmal.

Play Cast


Abhigyan Guha
Ashim Raychowdhury
Ashok Bandyopadhyay
Diganta Banerjee
Koushik Ghosh
Partha Protim Nag
Sampa Sen
Samudra Guha
Sangram Guha
Subhabrata Chanda Choudhury

NB:Cast arranged in alphabetical order of names.

Media Reviews

- Frontline: 9/10/2004 :Iraq on stage
- International Herald Tribune: 9/10/2004 :Another'9/11' - Indian Theatre exposed Bush
- Daily Mail Pakistan: 11/13/2006 :New theatre from Calcutta, India ignites the passion
- DAWN Pakistan: 11/23/2006 :Operation Flush, the drama at is best
- Daily Times, Pakistan: 11/14/2006 :A night to remember at the World Performing Arts Festival:Of Abu Ghraib, gypsies and robotic Puppets
- The Indian Express: 11/27/2006 :Musharraf recognises Kolkata theatre group as cultural ambassador
- Anandabazar Patrika: 7/5/2004 :"Sangram"
- Anandabazar Patrika: 8/28/2004 :Mind blowing two one-act
- Sananda: 12/30/2004 :Heart Touching Production
- The Indian Express: 5/27/2005 :Operation Flush ignites Abu Ghraib memories
 
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