‘Les Misérables staged for the first time in the Kurdistan Region
Les Misérables, which was written by Victor Hugo in 1862, is one of the most celebrated novels of the nineteenth century. The novel criticizes social tyranny in France, depicting the lives of a number of characters against the backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. The novel focuses on a prisoner called Jan Valjan and his sufferings in jail. The novel shows the nature of good, evil, law, religion, justice, romance and love. As Hugo writes: “So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilization, artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny that is divine with human fatality, so long as the three problems of the age, the degradation of man by poverty, the ruin of women by starvation, and the dwarfing of childhood by physical and spiritual night, are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a yet more extended point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, store like this cannot be useless''.
Les Misérables has now been staged for the first time in the Kurdistan region and achieved considerable. Performed at the Duhok Conference Hall on November 23th before an audience of 800 and in the presence of Stephane Tellier, the official Deputy of the French consul and the head of the French Institute in Erbil, and Dr. Usmat, the KRG’s Minister for Higher Education, the mayor of Duhok, the head of Duhok University, and deans and teachers from the same institution.
The play was performed by a group of university students from different colleges with the support of the University of Duhok General Directorate of Culture and Art. The group's message was: “Our main purpose in staging this play was to show that we can change many things with the power of youth. We have not only performed a play; we have combined people from different backgrounds, and shown how tolerance can build a unique society. With this play, we want to apply our creative ideas to this world. We need nothing but support--support from family, friends, society and officials”.
At the end of the play, the Kurdish flag was raised to mark the end of the play. After the play finished, Tellier congratulated all those involved and provided everyone with a certification of participation in the musical plat. He also asserted that “I have seen Les Misérables staged three times, but this one is the best I have seen. I wish you all the best; the play was amazing”. Mahdi Slevany, a university student and an actor, expressed his happiness at the play proving such a success, adding that “I hope activities like these will impact positively on the younger generation”.
Group of student who participated in Les Miserables play.