Last night I attended the formal premiere of a theatrical production called “Honour Bound”, which deals with David Hicks’ incarceration in Guantanamo Bay. The show is running for the next 5 weeks at the Sydney Opera House. The show was certainly interesting and thought-provoking. It goes for just over an hour, painting a picture through visuals, voiceovers and dance.
The set is particularly striking – basically one big cage with some really good lighting and construction to enhance the effects. I have to admit I’m not a big fan of dance, although as you can imagine the sort of dancing used to show the caging and torturing of a person and its consequences is not exactly Swan Lake.
Some of the climbing on the walls of the cage and aerial work was interesting, especially when it combined with lighting. One particularly effective scene featured a performer suspended by rope, ‘running’ along the wall while the text of the Geneva Convention was projected along it like a road – which keep flipping over and throwing him off into the air and down to the ground.
The show features some interview footage of David’s father Terry Hicks and his step-mother Bev, which is projected onto the walls of the cage at various times. It humanises rather than politicises the situation, but avoids mawkishness or excessive sentimentality.
I’m not terribly good at theatre reviews, but here are some links here to reviews of the performance. This is a review in The Australian. This is of a preview of the show. There is also this report from The Australian. This is from Sydney Stage Online.
Terry Hicks was at the performance, and spoke briefly after the show. I find him immensely admirable the way he doggedly fights on through what must be a horrendous experience, in the face of such bloody-minded intransigence and such awful knowledge of what his son is going through. I am amazed he is still so calm and controlled in the circumstances.
As he said on the night, what he wants is what everyone should have – the simple right to a fair trail for his son, and if he’s found guilty, he should serve his sentence. It is chilling that something so simple is something our government seems totally uninterested in. For him to have been subjected to such terrible conditions and torture for so long just multiplies the injustice.
You can read a blog post by David Hicks’ US military lawyer, Major Michael Mori, (along with many comments) on the GetUp! website by clicking on this link. There’s plenty more on the Hicks case on the GetUp! site.
UPDATE: ACT Chief Minister John Stanhope has nominated Terry Hicks for Father of the Year, voicing views that I very much agree with:
The chief minister said Mr Hicks had stuck by his son, advocated justice and did it with grace – all qualities of a good dad.
“But the anguish of that news must have been nothing compared to the relentless pain and uncertainty that Terry Hicks has experienced every day since, as he tries, from afar, to support his son,” Mr Stanhope said.
“That Terry Hicks has continued to behave during this terrible time with such public stoicism and courtesy and strength is a lesson to all.”
He said it would have been all too easy for Terry Hicks to reveal his frustration over the lack of progress in the case and vent the anger that must at times have threatened to overwhelm him.
“At all times, however, he has remained a calm and dogged advocate for his son, a loving father prepared to stand by his child whatever the accusations, a father seeking nothing more or less than justice,” Mr Stanhope said.