Friday, 10 July 2009

Occupation - drama in Iraq

It's a while back now, but I was gripped by the BBC 3-part drama Occupation, about British troops in Iraq. It focuses on the lives of 3 British soldiers in Basra from 2003 to the present.
They all return to Iraq for different reasons, for love, for money, for humanitarian reasons - to rebuild the country.  

It is a powerful, gritty drama, tense and complex. There are no clear lines between  'gooddies' and 'baddies', but motives as always are mixed. And the horror and mess of war and the powerlessness to actually change things all comes across.

And I suppose it made the conflict more real for me than the snippets of news on TV over the years  about suicide bombings and unexploded ordinance and a ever rising total of deaths.  And it is not one-sided. There is a lot about the struggle of the Iraqi people who do not have the get-out-clause of a ticket home. 

The Epic of Gilgamesh, an ancient Mesopotamian poem  ('the world's oldest known epic') is quoted twice:  by an Iraqi woman Doctor to her soldier lover and at a funeral. This story-poem frames the whole drama as a sort of motif. 

"Gilgamesh, what you seek you will never find. For when the Gods created man they let death be his lot, eternal life they withheld. Let your every day be full of joy, love the child that holds your hand, let your wife delight in your embrace, for these alone are the concerns of humanity." 

OCCUPATION is still available to view on BBC  i-player   You can watch the trailer on YouTube  and read a review on Times Online

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