The play ‘Mem û Zîn’ (‘Mem and Zin’), that was planned to be staged in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority city of Cizre (Cizîr) on the 12th of March, was banned by the district governor.
The story of Mem and Zin, an epic tale based on the true story of two young lovers in the 15th century, was written by the legendary Kurdish writer and poet Ahmad Khani (Ehmedê Xanî) in the 17th century, and is believed to have taken place in Cizre where there is a ‘Mem û Zîn tomb’.
As the theatre company Şermola planned to stage the play in the Municipality Cultural Centre, it was announced on Sunday that the governor had banned the play with no particular reason given.
Şermola stated that preparations had begun days earlier, posters printed and sent to Cizre, and announcements made on social media. The invitations were sent and even the rent for the hall was paid on Friday. On Sunday they were notified that the play was ‘cancelled’.
Şermola had already staged the play Mem û Zîn earlier in Kurdish-majority cities like Batman (Êlîh), Diyarbakır (Amed), Urfa (Riha) and Kızıltepe (Qoser).
Mirza Metin, the director of the play, said that the ‘cancellation’ of the play in Cizre seemed to be the reflection of the policies of the state-appointed trustee, who had replaced the elected mayor, and was an indication of a negative attitude shared by all state-appointed trustees in the region regarding performances in Kurdish.