Ishtar in Baghdad

Ishtar in Baghdad focuses on female detainees. The play is based on a real incident in 2004 in which female Iraqi prisoners were insulted, beaten and raped. One of the prisoners managed to smuggle a letter to her tribe and urged them to bomb the jail. This coded letter meant that they had been raped and thereby dishonoured, and the only way to purify them was to kill them. The script is a dramatical fantasy, as the events are told by Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of war, sex, beauty and fertility, and her lover Tammuz, the god of food and nature. The two deities descend to Baghdad in 2004 to share with Iraqis their descendants the calamities of war. Ishtar is caught by the US marines and imprisoned in Abu Ghraib prison where she meets Iraqi women detainees. As Ishtar gets into the cell, she witnesses women’s miseries. They are all naked, curled in one corner; they are arguing about the way to purify themselves from this disgrace.


Rasha Fadhil

Name of the Playwright in English


Year of Writing


Year of the First Staging