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MOGADISHU: OPEN LETTER TO LYRIC HAMMERSMITH Print
Written by Karen Karnak   

I watched this play with horror - written by a white middle class woman it deals with racism sexism and youth in London and therefore I expected it to be problematic but I was not expecting this. It is an outright attack on working class people - on black men in particular. It effectively blames black men for the ills of society - at a time when we are being attacked by the police to such an extent that there have been mass uprisings in London and across major English cities last summer.

 

In the play it is the anti-racist legislation - the hard earned and fought for scraps of legal self defence that we have won in this country since the 60s that are seen as the problem. Racism is presented as a myth!

Meanwhile this play pedals out the usual racist offensive lines and stereotypes. It puts the "whiteman" as the hero who is trying to do his level best against the youth, the working class and the black. In particular the African. No one can say why this play is called Mogadishu - actors claim it is because the name is synonymous with chaos and war - if it was just this then surely Iraq would be a better name? No - this is about Africa - the cannibal joke is also not arbitrary. It is a reference to the racist myth of savage Africa - of the white mans’ burden - and reveals the more sinister purpose of this play - to justify white colonialism. This is a truly disgusting play - the tragedy is that we as black people cannot defend ourselves against it - the white liberal bourgeoisie revel in their soft "complicated" racism - give the play awards and congratulate the author while we Africans Asians and all other oppressed peoples are left subject to this horrific attack.

 

Interestingly it uses the white woman as the misguided hero - misguided because she loves a black man - which blinds her to the racist reality that the white man has tried to show her. The logic of this play leads to apartheid style sexual segregation. It is horrific and I urge you to withdraw it and apologise.


THOSE THAT DEFEND THIS PLAY WILL POINT TO THE AUTONOMY OF ART – HOWEVER WE MUST ATTACK THIS NOTION. ART IS PART OF A SITUATION AND THAT SITUATION IS ROOTED IN THE POSITION OF THE ARTIST. WE URGE ALL ARTISTS TO REJECT THE NOTION OF ART AND BEGIN TO ORGANIZE AS PSYCHIC WORKERS AS A MEANS TO OVERCOME THE RACISM, SEXISM AND ELITISM INHERENT IN ALL ARTISTIC POSITIONS.


Karen Karnak


Details about the play: http://www.lyric.co.uk/whats-on/production/mogadishu/

 

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