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A debriefing between the West & the Middle East


Willem de Wolf

In July 1990, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded neighbour Kuwait. Only a few days earlier, the US ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, had been invited for talks at the presidential palace. Six months later, the United States invaded Iraq and an international coalition attempted to oust Saddam’s regime in what came to be known as the First Gulf War.

What an amazing text!

In Willem de Wolf’s theatre text ‘April’, the American ambassador April Glaspie, Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz and a news anchor revisit events. The subject of this fictitious conversation is that other, historical conversation in the summer of 1990 that nobody wants to talk about. Did the US ambassador indicate that her country would support the invasion of Kuwait? Did the Iraqi head of state misunderstand her, perhaps deliberately so? Or did the interpreter make a mistake? De Wolf’s text does not go in for documentary reconstruction or for moral judgement. The conversation between the three protagonists is more of an attempt to view this destabilising political conflict from a different perspective. The conversation between the West and the Muslim world, the media and politics is given a second chance here. As if we could do it all over again.

The powerful 'April' deserves a place in the Barbican Centres and The National Theatres of this world.
A glimpse into the backrooms of diplomacy, the role of women and the subtly shifting power relations.
De Standaard