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Water War and Irrigation Without Borders – Bangladeshi Theatre pouring out their concern

August 18, 2009

“Water War (water is life not for sale)” is a play written and designed by Art Action Union community member Sorkar Haider. Sorkar is a resident of Bangladesh and expresses his concerns through theatre alongside the Karigar theatre troupe. His latest scripted production draws to the surface the impact of globalisation, international conflict and neighbouring policy on Bangladesh, it’s people and the river systems that have been their life and culture.

The fear that Sorkar and his fellow thespians are aiming to express, is the deep nature of greed and control that could cost them not only access to this necessity for life, but invoke violence and inter-dependent corruption that could overcome nations as the resource diminishes.

The play was inspired by the reflection of the actors’ love of the rivers as children in their earlier village life.

From the play brief that Sorkar sent to the Art Action Union (transcribed as is):

We discover some moments at the bend of river and we see rivers have chronological story, birth story, and all people are love them.

Bangladesh is irrigated by rivers. In the ancient and middle ages near about 850 rivers to flowed over the country and they meet with Bay of Bengal. But now this time we are seeing only 249 rivers. Where are the other rivers? Death. There are 90 percent people dependent on rivers in Bangladesh. The people are habituate by agricultural farming, fishing, stone business and other river related works.

All the rivers come from India because all the rivers are born on Himalaya and other hills. Indian govt. blocked 168 rivers water by damming 249 rivers. The Bangladeshi people are suffering a very poor time for water and river. Farrakhan dam is malediction for Bangladeshi people. Ganges water hindered by Farakka. In that time Indian govt want to build a dam on Surma, Kushiara, and Borak river. If it will happen more than 2 core peoples will suffer.

What is the global situation of rivers? It is impossible to talk about human civilisation without talking about Water.

One generation passeth away,

and another generation cometh;

but the earth abideth always…

all rivers runneth to the sea,

yet the sea is not full…

– ECCLESIASTES

The words are beautiful, haunting and suddenly anachronistic, but they are not true owing to growth, change and devolvement during our lives. Even degraded rivers seldom totally runneth at all, but loiter in a chain of reservations. In some years our mightiest rivers, Africa’s Nile, Asia’s Yellow, America’s Colorado, Australia’s Murray do not reach the sea…

“Water War” will present some small story about the people who are suffering for water. It will be performed by two characters, they are acting in speaking mood. They tell five stories. Five stories are …

1. Dighal Kumari, a story of a sweet village girl who will die for water.

2. Alluvial Lande, a story of rivers crying and alluvial lands people.

3. Love story, A mythological love story about rivers, a green love story of Ganges and Sitolakkha (River names).

4. Water Bottle, a story of bottling water.

5. Dam, a story about Dam.

Not only are the Bangladeshi people suffering by water. The whole World and Nature are suffering for water. We are losing our natural beauty and people’s natural activities. People and Nature are fighting for water in opposition to some peoples.

And there are people here in Australia, here in the west, who refuse to consider the option of recycled water or even share their dams with neighbouring shires OF THE SAME STATE AND COUNTRY.

Wake up world, pollution kills.

… and bottling water from a spring in France and shipping it all over the world for the luxury of the polluters is just pure madness.

How many carbon credits in the production of one bottle of less-than-pure springwater from the Evian spring once it arrives in the offshore export country??? Not to mention at all the environmental implications in the use of plastics and the population’s lack of mental strength to grasp the concept of “recycling receptical”… sheesh…

Bangladesh is a country that I know very little about. When I think of it though, I think of monsoons and thick lush terrain with a rich, colourful, vibrant, long-lasting and resilient local culture. Not at all like this dusty island nation that recieves so little empathy from it’s population in times of drought.

It is sad to think that the actions of one country that shares resources, that has a responsibility to it’s neighbours and to the livlihood of our global community and global community mental health, could allow such ‘greed’ to take place.

Where are the international ethics on river systems, is it allowable for a country to block a river that flows to another country’s life-line? It is allowable for one nation to dam a river and stop it flowing before it escapes the border of it’s jurisdiction?

Does a country own a river that does not start within it and flows through to the other side of it to another border?

I becomes particularly nasty if the sanitation system of the water greedy country in question is questionable and squanderous in it’s directive and resource.

What does a de-salination plant cost in carbon credits again???

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