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Towards a Theatre of Global Empathy: Imagining Otherness in the War on Terror
In Hannah Moscovitch’s play about the Canadian mission in Afghanistan, three soldiers stand and address the audience
as if they are being interviewed by a journalist. Who are they talking to? The story they tell is about the violence they endured and committed overseas as well as the dysfunctional sexual and
psychological states they fell into as they were pushed to their limits. As they struggle to rationalize the decisions they made to an audience they perceive as potentially hostile, it becomes clear
that they are speaking across a chasm of misunderstanding. As the play’s curt title, This Is War, suggests, their stories
strip away the sanitized mythologies that surround humanitarian intervention to reveal the brutal truth that former General Rick Hillier introduced us to in a 2005 CTV News story on hunting al Qaeda in Afghanistan: the job of the Canadian Forces these days is simply “to kill people.”