Mr. Wajdi Mouawad: Bambi stands in full solidarity with you, denouncing the threats that cancelled the premiere of your play in Beirut!

Mr. Wajdi Mouawad is a Lebanese-Canadian writer, actor, and director. He was born in Beirut and migrated with his family to Canada as a young child. Impressively, since April 2016, he has been the director of the “Théâtre national de la Colline” in Paris (

Mr. Mouawad probably cannot recall this likely trivial detail for him, but Bambi will always cherish the memory of how this great artist kindly showed her around the theatre of “QuatSous” in Montreal. This happened decades ago when she went to his workplace to hand him a letter from his cousin upon her return from a trip to Lebanon. It was her first time meeting this incredibly gifted yet humble artist. She was touched, honoured, and humbled.

Of note, as per the French-speaking interview shared below, Mr. Mouawad was recently officially recognized as the most unifying theatre director in France. What an honour. The latter is not surprising given his high empathy, capacity to see the nuances, compassion, and uplifting talent in using words with intelligence, generosity, clarity, and precision.

Indeed, how many intellectuals or artists do you know who can address the Hamas-Israel war with nuances, calm, and an authentic humanity? The latter is hard to observe when people seem too polarized. From the interview shared below, we also learn that Mr. Mouawad feels for the suffering of all innocent people on all sides, whether in the Lebanese civil war or in the latest round of the Hamas-Israel war (i.e. the horror of the October 7 massacre and kidnapping as well the resulting war, which has been too cruel on the innocent people). He denounces the criminality of the world’s political leaders and their enablers while also calling a spade a spade, namely the criminality of those operating within groups that commit massacres (i.e., Hamas). Stated differently, Mr. Mouawad seems to see the bigger picture while putting himself in the shoes of innocent people on all sides of this historic conflict.

Both as a human being and as a theatre director, Mr. Mouawad, knows how to rise above wars to see the humanity of people, regardless of whom they are. He can get out of his own complex identity journey to connect with human compassion. In addition, he has the wisdom of knowing that what is happening in the Middle East is not the fault of a jew he may encounter on the street; an example he used himself to denounce anti-antisemitism. Of course, as he said, he also knows that what is happening is also not the fault of the Palestinians.

Bambi learned the details reported above while taking the time to listen to the inspiring interview Mr. Mouwad gave to France Inter a couple of days before his trip to Beirut. There he was supposed to practice, with his team, at the Monot Theatre. Generously, they made their 3-week-long practice (“Journée de noces chez les Cromagnons“) freely open to the public until their premiere. What did they get in return? Dangerous criminal threats in the context of a silly campaign against him, accusing him of normalization with Israel ( Can you imagine the narrow mindedness?

Despite its stated attachment to freedom of expression, the Monnot Theatre became too worried about the safety of everyone involved: “The safety of our staff, as well as the teams we welcome, and our public is our absolute priority,” said the Monnot’s management team, who admitted being “deeply disappointed by this situation. While affirming our attachment to freedom of expression, we are committed to pursuing the provision of quality theatrical work against all odds,” concluded the statement” (

Clearly, Mr. Mouawad speaks the language of arts, refined intelligence, critical thinking, open-mindedness, and healing. Sadly, those so-called activists who are too excited by the Hamas-Israel war only speak a potentially deadly language, namely of intimidation, threats, and cancel culture.

To conclude, would the above censorship saga help the cause of the Palestinians or reduce the probability of a wider war in Lebanon? Of course not. All it does is sadly the following: it prevents the Lebanese people from having a free access to theatre, makes Mr. Mouawad feel unwelcome (and even threatened!) in his birth country, and it sadly attacks freedom of artistic expression in the land of the cedars.

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