Activist writer Karl Dallas is producing two radio plays in April based on events in Jewish history.
The first will commemorate the massacre on April 9, 1948 of 105 inhabitants of the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin, an event which was followed by attacks on 400 other villages and triggered the flight of hundreds of thousands of refugees from what is now the state of Israel.
The programme, "Testimonies from Deir Yassin" includes documentary evidence from terrorists who took part in the attack, from survivors of the massacre, and from Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, who declared: "I believe that without Deir Yassin there would be no Israel."
Karl Dallas comments: "It is a linguistic irony that the Hebrew word for the Holocaust in which six million Jews perished in the Nazi death camps, ‘shoah’, is translated into Arabic as ‘nakba’. Both words mean ‘catastrophe’. It is now illegal in Israel to use the word nakba in relation to the plight of the Palestinians.
"Actually, I am not keen on either term, since the things they describe were both man-made events, not natural catastrophes like earthquakes or tsunamis. I think it is our duty as human beings to remember them, and to try to ensure that they never happen again."
Testimonies from Deir Yassin will be recorded at BCB Radio on Wednesday, April 4, 1-3pm. Since all participants will merely read statements from the historical record, it does not require dramatic talents as such. Anyone interested in taking part should contact Karl Dallas at 0788 077 0721, go to the meeting of Bradford Palestine Solidarity Campaign on Tuesday, April 3, at Desmond Tutu House, 2 Ashgrove, 6pm, or turn up at the studio by 12.30pm on April 4 for the recording.
The second play, "After the Memorial", is a two-man duologue between two elderly Jews who survived the Warsaw Ghetto uprising which ended in the massacre of 13,000 of its inhabitants on April 29, 1943, though a number of freedom fighters continued resistance until they were all killed by the middle of May.
"Like the Deir Yassin commemoration, the recollections of these two old men who were children during the uprising represent different attitudes at the time," says Karl Dallas. "Veteran local actor Steve Arloff plays Yakuv, a young left-winger whose family were fully committed to the armed struggle. I am still seeking someone to play Marek, who came from a better-off family whose policy was to try to survive by keeping their heads down.
"At the end of the play, they continue to disagree, one of them supporting Israeli actions in Palestine, the other supporting the Palestinian resistance."
Like Testimonies from Deir Yassin, all the names quoted in After the Memorial and actions described are based on historical fact.
"I am still looking for someone to play Marek in the play," says Karl Dallas. "He doesn’t need to be Jewish – but it might help if he is,"he quipped.
The Deir Yassin programme will be recorded at BCB 106.6fm, 11 Rawson Road, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 3SH on Wednesday, May 4, 1-3pm and broadcast on the anniversary of the massacre, Sunday April 9, at 10am. The Warsaw ghetto play will be recorded during the week of April 23 and broadcast on April 29, also at 10am.
The scripts of both plays may be read at http://http://www.karldallas.com/documents/TheySaidDouble-bill.pdf.
NOTE TO PICTURE EDITORS
Karl Dallas will be available for photography in the studios of BCB (address above) during the afternoon of Monday, April 2. There will be limited opportunities to photograph the huge cast of the first play on Wednesday afternoon.