If They Shook Hands...
Eun Kyung Lee & Han Baik Kim
Muhammad Ali is an American former professional boxer who was the
Heavyweight Champion of the World three times between 1964 and 1979. He
was born in January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. He changed his name
from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali after joining the Nation of Islam in 1964. In
1967, three years after Ali had won the World Heavyweight Championship, he was
publicly vilified for his refusal to be conscripted into the U.S. military, based on
his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War. Then, he was arrested and
found guilty on draft evasion charges. He was stripped of his boxing title and his
boxing license was suspended. His nickname was “The Greatest”.
Margaret Hilda Thatcher is a British politician and longest-serving British prime
minister of the 20th century, and the only woman to have held the post. Dubbed
the “Iron Lady” for her firm opposition to the Soviet Union, she implemented
a number of conservative policies that have come to be known as Thatcherism.
In 1975, Thatcher defeated Heath in the Conservative Party leadership election
and became Leader of the Opposition, as well as the first woman to lead a major
political party in the United Kingdom. She became prime minister after winning
the 1979 general election.
The setting of this play is in present time. Muhammad Ali makes a comeback
match and he is just about to win. Margaret Thatcher is watching the game in
the crowds. Muhammad Ali has just made a comeback in the UFC, the Ultimate
Fighting Championship. After his win, Ali is interviewed by Joe Rogan, the
famous UFC commentator. The crowd gets extremely excited and the atmosphere
becomes extraordinarily wild...
Muhammad Ali makes a comeback match on UFC and wins.
Commentator asks about his feelings after he won the match.
Muhammad Ali, you have made an epic comeback tonight and you have proven to
all of us your class. You are an incredible warrior! Do you have anything that you
want to say right now?
I feel great and I just want to thank everyone at the gym for helping me train.
Right now, I feel like I’m on top of the world and that no one can stop me. I am
still the greatest and I just want to say that Islam, my religion, has helped me a lot
and it would help anyone out there who needs it. I wanted to show the people who
criticized me about not joining the army that I am tougher than they are. Again, no
Vietcong had called me a Negro. So everyone, stand up for what you believe in
and don’t be forced to do things you don’t want to!
Wow. That’s a lot of things off your chest right now. On a side note, Margaret
Thatcher’s family had come to watch your fight. She is sitting right ther... Wow!
She is looking at you right now - no, glaring at you right now - with a face of
disgust. I simply wonder why! Do you want to bring her on to the ring?
Margaret Thatcher walks into ring.
The ring is no place for politics or anything like that but what do you have to say to
Muhammad Ali? Don’t try to bore us all ma’am!
Thank you. I only came here because my son is a fan of yours, Mr. Ali. Like you
Mr. Ali, I’m not afraid of speaking out for my beliefs. I will say what I want and
where I want to. So Mr. Ali, I just want to say that you should be more proud
of your country. Containing communism, at the time you ditched the draft and
abandoned the US army, was an utmost priority. You failed to live up to the
responsibility of a United States citizen. You should be ashamed.
Muhammad Ali mumbles.
Anyways, congratulations Ali! Now, if you two can please, the fight outside...
Moving on to the next match!
Joe Rogan hastily finishes the interview in order to avoid conflict and to revamp
The setting changes to a silent room where Muhammad Ali and Margaret Thatcher
are sitting on the sofa staring each other.
So... thank you for coming to watch my game anyway. I hope you enjoyed it. I’m
sorry but I’m not entirely familiar with who you are though. Please, before we
have this formal talk, help me understand you better.
Of course Mr. Ali. First of, I would like to say that I did sincerely enjoy your
game. Secondly, after working as a chemist, I became the Prime Minister of Great
Britain in the late 1970s to the 1990s.1
Yes, of course. I am actually pretty familiar with your political background -
I just needed a quick reminder. I remember that you were very economically
conservative and you blamed the weakened economy at the time on previous
socialist policies. You even have your own “-ism”: Thatcherism! I can also recall
the fact that you resigned in 1990, when critics felt that your policies didn’t help
Yes, Mr. Ali. You know me very well. I was also famous for my opposition to
integration of Europe, saving the British currency, pounds, from becoming Euros.
I was succeeded by John Major and then Tony Blair, who both sought moderation
between liberals and conservatives. Since you are so familiar with me, do you
know what my nickname is?
Nope. What is it Mrs. Thatcher?
People often call me the Iron Lady.
Wow.. that’s a great nickname. There must be a hidden meaning behind the name.
Yes. Of course. I am called the Iron Lady because I am so “strong willed” that
people have criticized me for being stubborn! Its not easy to have your own “-ism”,
There must be a reason why you are telling me this.
Yes. for sure. I believe you have a good sense in catching people’s mind. I want
you to apologize to United States, your country, about the Cold War and how you
poorly reacted to it. Even to this day and even after your comeback on the ring,
we still remember and are disappointed about your decision to not to go to the
army and fight for United States. In such a way, you should apologize to your own
nation before it is too late! Seeing that you still not only possess a great influence
in the martial arts field but also garnered respect from numerous individuals, I
believe you should set an example for the masses.
Wait, wait, wait! Mrs. Thatcher, why do you even care about what I did in the
1960’s anyways? On top of that, you’re British! You’re not even American!
That is true. I am not American. You, however, should know that the United
Kingdom and the United States of America had a very close relationship that
flourished from the World Wars and persisted through the Cold War. I, too,
wanted to fight against communism. When I took office, I also sought to establish
a good relationship with your state. I was friends with Ronald Reagan, a fellow
conservative. In such a way, I am pretty sure that I have right to say this, Mr. Ali:
you, as an American citizen, should acknowledge your previous wrong-doings and
should apologize for not participating in the Vietnam War.
I’m sorry, Mrs. Thatcher, but I’m offended and slightly insulted you thought that
by not joining the US military I somehow made a wrong decision. Of course I had
thought about not joining the military over and over again. I always think before
speaking! Mrs. Thatcher, right now, you are being too aggressive!
I cannot believe you’re trying to talk your way out of your wrongdoing. You
may have thought that people forgot your lack of support for the US military, but
people in your country and people in my country still remember how you ducked
your responsibility and duty to America! All I am asking for is an admittance and
apology for being a coward then.
I refused to be conscripted into the U.S. military because of my religious beliefs
and opposition to the Vietnam War. There was absolutely no reason to kill
innocent locals in Vietnam. No one in Vietnam would ever call me a negro. You
could never understand the severe discrimination and prejudice that I endured
living in America.
Ali starts tearing up
Mr. Ali! I never would have guessed that a fighter like you would be so emotional.
I’m sorry if I have pushed the limits too far. My son would be very upset if he
knew that his hero cried because of me.
Cried? Nah, I just have something in my eye - that’s all.
Oh all right Mr. Ali. I think we should wrap it up now. We had a pretty heavy
discussion. How about we calm our emotions down a bit and have a relaxing
That sounds fantastic. After all, I am pretty exhausted after my fight. Let’s go get
ourselves some tea!
1. Ezra, Michael. Muhammad Ali: The Making of an Icon. Philadelphia:
Temple University Press, 2009. http://www.questiaschool.com/PM.qst?
2. Geelhoed, E. Bruce, and James F. Hobbs. Margaret Thatcher: In
Victory and Downfall, 1987 and 1990. New York: Praeger, 1992. http://
3. Golus, Carrie. Muhammad Ali. Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books, 2006.
4. Peters, F. E. Muhammad and the Origins of Islam /. Albany, NY: State
University of New York Press, 1994. http://www.questiaschool.com/PM.qst?
5. Royal, Robert. "The Character of Margaret Thatcher." World and I, August
1998, 290+. http://www.questiaschool.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5002294414.