Ghazal Rashidi (generally pronounced "gazelle") is a character from the Surgeon stories. She is a former Iranian-Egyptian nurse and alongside her friend Majid Bashar is the first companion of the Eleventh Surgeon. After the events of Land of the Two Foes she becomes his only companion until Destroy All Plants.
In general, Ghazal is a 23 year old Iranian-Egyptian nurse formerly working at the Demerdash Hospital in Cairo. She has tan skin, black hair and brown eyes. While she does not change over the course of the series excluding Destroy All Plants when she is turned into a Krynoid, Ghazal's style of dress changes:
In her first appearance, she wears a navy blue abaya, a white hijab and black shoes but in her next story Terror of the Rani, Ghazal switches these colors so her hijab is navy blue while her abaya is white and she continues to wear this clothing until the end of Land of the Two Foes.
In her penultimate story The Yeti Factor Ghazal keeps her hijab but she now wears a light blue colored dress with a zip on the back, black tights and black Chelsea boots until the end of the story where she takes off her hijab, then finally in her last story Destroy All Plants Ghazal undergoes a radical change: She now discards her hijab letting her hair free and instead wears a blood red blouse, a black skirt, black tights and high heels.
In her first appearance, Ghazal was a lot more religious and could often be a lot more forgetful as shown when she is berated by her superior then forgetting about what she was doing stays with the Surgeon after his regeneration, she was also a whole lot more weaker and somewhat reluctant to tell her background to the Surgeon. Her encounter with The Master, The Rani and the Weeping Angels soon changes all that.
Starting from the end of Strategy of a Surgeon, Ghazal becomes a whole lot more fun loving but due to chasing The Rani first to Iran then to its neighbor Iraq, she becomes somewhat insecure and especially becomes insecure when she visits her own home country.
There is one thing though, that never changes about Ghazal and it is her close-ness to Majid as she continues to be close to him, until the Daleks exterminate him, though it could also be argued that her encounter with the monsters she faced make her a whole lot more braver because by Destroy All Plants, all trace of Ghazal being religious are gone.
Her personality of starting off as being weak and getting stronger is also a trait used for Maid Marian in The Curse of Maid Marian who starts off being weak and gradually grows in strength to the point where she kills the one who killed her husband and assaulted her.
This trait also makes her unique among female characters that either exist for animal literature such as Lady Blue since the Journey of the Vixen series, Vixen and the aforementioned Maid Marian from Mirage of Arabia to Duel of the Vixens or human literature such as Helga Blankenburg from the Cold War II series and her successors Amanda Mycroft and Jenna Lillywhite.
It also makes her unique among original characters because both existing and original characters are shown to be strong willed from the word go, especially female characters. Of all the women on both wikis however, there is only one character who is more unique than Ghazal: Emma Irwin because she has the worst writing of all the women on both wikis alongside five boys: Benjamin Simmons, Jesse Fairchild, Benjamin Greaves, Gabriel Eaton and Noah Kimberly.
Ghazal's personality not only makes her unique among other female characters but also among female Arab characters be they villainous such as Ghazala Bakkal from the Cold War II series or heroic such as women in the Anthro world in groups such as the Animalian Resistance Army because they are also generally strong willed. However, Ghazal's early personality can be understandable because of her previous occupation as a nurse.
Ghazal's first appearance is in the story Strategy of a Surgeon where she is a nurse at the Demerdash hospital in Cairo and because of this she is the first person to meet the Surgeon in his new body (he was previously found by two archeologists but these do not count because the Surgeon was unconscious) and after a brief meeting with him plans to meet him again.
But when this day comes along, the Surgeon is nowhere to be seen and she is warned by her Doctor that if she and her friend Majid Bashar do not find him then Ghazal will be fired. She eventually finds him at a bazaar looking for the SIDRAT but is distracted by a Weeping Angel which causes the Surgeon concern and they leave in a hurry. After the Surgeon explains about the Angels, she is touched by an Angel and sent to the same bazaar that the Surgeon was looking for the SIDRAT at. In the meantime, The Surgeon and Majid are confronted by Asma Benyamina the disgraced Egyptian politician who allied herself with the sorcerer Azhar Namin.
In captivity, Ghazal is locked in a cage guarded by two Angels and is later released by Majid whilst the Surgeon attacks Azhar enough for him to regenerate into his true form: The Master. With his cover blown, the Master releases Asma from an Angel's grip and also further tortures Ghazal by locking her in a heatbox with three Angels: two to hold her wrists and one right in front of her which will work as such; As the box gets hotter, Ghazal tires more and as she tires more she struggles to keep her eyes open and the more she struggles to keep her eye's open, the closer the Angel gets until it touches her again and kills her.
But the Angels, despite warnings from the Surgeon, are smashed to smithereens by Majid and the race begins to stop The Master and Asma from taking over Egypt. A chase ensures where the Surgeon chases The Master and Asma to a hospital and whilst the Surgeon and Majid fight the Master, Ghazal takes advantage of Asma's injuries to kick her unconscious, she later tries to kill Asma by shooting her but the Surgeon does the job for her by throwing a scalpel into her back.
Having failed to give a good explanation for the anarchy in his hospital, Ghazal's boss fires her and she later joins the Surgeon on his travels along with Majid.
Alongside Majid Bashar, Ghazal is first seen in the story Terror of the Rani in the SIDRAT with the Surgeon where she learns the whole truth about the SIDRAT when the Surgeon tells her the events of The War Games in which a race known as the War Lords used these machines and one was stolen from Gallifrey by the Surgeon.
It is at this point where the SIDRAT lands at Ghazal's first destination: Iran in the 1970s during the Islamic Revolution as she discovers when she sees revolutionaries raiding the streets shouting "DEATH TO THE SHAH! DEATH TO THE SHAH!" as well as shouts of "Allahu Akbar!" which Ghazal herself can't resist chanting owing to her Muslim background.
She also joins in a rally against the Shah against the Surgeon's warnings when she feels insulted by a Western movie poster; when the Surgeon tries to stop her, Ghazal replies:
“He is a traitor to my people! If he is dead then Muslims will be avenged!”The revolutionaries eventually come under attack from the Cybermen scattering them and Ghazal. In the rabble, she tries to find her way to her friends but is trampled in the crowd and knocked unconscious. Her body is inspected by a policeman who is deleted and Ghazal's body is taken away on a truck that is unknowingly being pursued by the Surgeon and Majid.
Ghazal's destination becomes a prison but by the time the Surgeon and Majid arrive, she has escaped and from a prisoner the Surgeon chases her to the palace where she prepares to kill the Shah herself; but the Surgeon realizing this will change history wrestles the gun out of her hands even though she has shot some guards. The Cybermen however capture the three and bring them to Asma Benyamina; who has unknown to the Surgeon regenerated into The Rani.
Asma reveals her plan to the Surgeon: She intends to change history by keeping the Shah on the throne for a longer period of time than when he was supposed to be deposed and will in addition assist the Cybermen in upgrading humanity when the revolutionaries have been killed. With the revolutionaries dead, the Rani will kill the Shah and rule Iran herself enabling history to be changed.
Ghazal comes under attack from a Cyberman who is instructed to kill her and Majid but the Surgeon fights them off and prepares to chase the Rani to the Royal palace with Iran stunned as the Rani transmits an activation signal through the country. As the Cybermen begin to kill off demonstrators by the dozens, they shortly focus their attention to her and Majid.
But the Surgeon sees hope in the form of the Iranian Army and so tries to get them onside but the army general refuses to co-operate. Eventually, as Ghazal and Majid flee the army see they have no choice but to attack the Cybermen but unknown to them, they have been used as cover by the Surgeon and his companions.
Alongside the Surgeon and Majid, Ghazal arrives at the Royal Palace where she attacks several of the Cybermen with their own weapons and it is also the combined might of the Surgeon and his companions that is used to defeat The Rani: After Majid holds her at gunpoint, Ghazal kicks the Rani in the back knocking her to the ground and throwing the device out of her hands. Finally, the Surgeon destroys the device by stamping on it which destroys the Cybermen.
Once the Cybermen are destroyed, she eventually stops another death when she helps the Surgeon to stop Majid from shooting The Rani allowing the latter to flee and Ghazal and her friends to chase after her to the city of Tehran where she disappears leaving behind a note saying "Catch me if you can!" Fearing for the worst, Ghazal and Majid are dragged back to the SIDRAT and it de-materializes.
Ghazal is first seen alongside Majid and the Surgeon in the SIDRAT, the latter of whom is too focused on chasing the Rani who has escaped from Iran through space and time. When he finally gets a fix on her, Ghazal is told to hang on and hang on is what she certainly does. She hangs on for dear life as the SIDRAT hurtles through the Time Vortex and at first to a desert as if it is going to crash and kill its occupants.
But the Surgeon manages to change course and the SIDRAT undergoes a bumpy but safe landing in Iraq, one of the worst countries in the Middle East if not the worst country in the Middle East. When the revelation is revealed, Ghazal reacts with particular dread.
She is also the one who warns the Surgeon of spaceships in the air and the Surgeon knows all too well what the presence of the flying saucers mean: The Daleks have arrived and with their arrival, Ghazal becomes involved in a chase for the saucer only to be turned back round when the Surgeon apparently sees The Rani in the shadows; the trio chase after her but the Surgeon's plans are foiled when the Mukhabarat capture the three of them.
The Mukhabarat may take the Surgeon and his companions to a safe house, but Ghazal especially begs to differ and alongside a furious Majid, she viciously attacks the Mukhabarat officials and finally when an apoplectic Surgeon berates them for not letting him deal with the Daleks Ghazal is impressed with his defense of his companions.
When the three of them are taken by the Mukhabarat to meet Saddam Hussein, Ghazal is described as seeing a hero within Saddam owing to his opposition against Israel and the United States owing to her Iranian heritage and Iran's hatred of Israel since the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. Majid is also described as seeing a hero within Saddam owing to his Egyptian heritage and Egypt's historical tense relations with Israel.
Alongside Majid and the Surgeon himself, Ghazal warns the Surgeon not to repeat the awful behavior he displayed in front of Saddam Hussein because if he does, he will more than likely persuade or convince Saddam to kill 250,000 more of his own people. She later watches with relief as the situation between dictator and Time Lord becomes far more civilized; but unknown to her, the conversation is secretly being listened to by The Rani.
As a result of her actions in Strategy of a Surgeon in which she threatened the Rani when she was still in the disguise of Asma Benyamina and Terror of the Rani which is a sign that she is growing stronger, Ghazal is told by the Surgeon to keep watch and as such, she becomes the first to notice the Daleks have arrived at Saddam's palace and as they do, she is held at gunpoint by one of them who threatens that if she makes a move then she will be exterminated.
Eventually, a captive Ghazal is taken away by the Daleks and the Surgeon and Majid watch them with a smiling Saddam watching. She is later seen on the Dalek spacecraft and is the one who discovers the Rani siding with the Daleks, however because Ghazal does not have the same experience as the Surgeon does (because the Surgeon and The Rani are both the same race) she calls the Rani "Asma" which is a reference to her disguise as Asma Benyamina.
But even when Ghazal is in captivity, there are further signs that she is slowly getting stronger because in the final moments of being taken to the Dalek spacecraft she is said to be threatened with extermination numerous times. On board the Dalek spacecraft, her defiance is even more prominent than ever when she demands an explanation to The Rani being in Iraq. When a Dalek threatens to exterminate her, both she and the Surgeon stand up to it and eventually come to learn the dreadful truth:
Two years earlier and a year before the Iran-Iraq War was due to end in 1988, Saddam had commissioned a supergun by the codename of Project Babylon which was to be based on Project HARP designed by Gerald Bull. But the Daleks want to use it to hold the world (if not the universe) to ransom unlike Saddam who wanted to use it for unknown purposes.
Even if Saddam wants to use the supergun for unknown purposes however, it is likely to Majid and Ghazal that he would use the weapon to either launch a satellite into space or blast Israel to kingdom come in order to make way for the state of Palestine.
After Strategy of a Surgeon, the Surgeon gains two new companions which is herself and Majid but soon enough, Ghazal becomes the Surgeon's only companion because The Rani turns the Surgeon against Majid though she does it for revenge for what he did to her at the end of Terror of the Rani.
She manages to turn the Surgeon against Majid by questioning any potential he has shown but within Ghazal is also a sense of fear because she thinks that the Daleks will exterminate her. As the Surgeon allows a Dalek to exterminate Majid, Ghazal can only watch horrified.
As well as horror, Ghazal feels silently apoplectic that he has allowed Majid to become a companion and then betrayed him to the Daleks. She protests that it is impossible for him to be twenty eight years old in the 21st Century and die in the 20th Century when he would have been less than three years old or so but the Surgeon retaliates with:
"Time is not a straight line Ghazal, time is like water or an elastic band. It can stretch into any time or any place! He could have been born in the 1980s and died in the 1990s!"The Rani watches this unfold and thinks about having the Daleks also kill Ghazal but decides against the idea and instead has the pair sent through a transmat beam which takes them to the Iraqi desert and to Project Babylon. As she sees it, Ghazal's Anti American side is shown when she is awestruck by the appearance of Project Babylon and as an American fighter jet flies overhead, she orders it to be shot down but the Supreme Dalek reprimands her by telling her that he gives the orders.
After the jet has been shot down, Ghazal and the Surgeon both look on in awe at the supergun's firepower. Once the demonstration is over, The Rani and Ghazal engage in a session to persuade the Surgeon not to go onto their foes' side with the Rani offering him the opportunity to join forces with her and the Daleks and Ghazal trying to persuade the Surgeon that if he does so, then he betrays the Time Lords; his own people.
But Ghazal also becomes the victim of persuasion when The Rani turns her against Majid after she brands him miserable as shown below:
"When she heard that the Rani branded Majid as "miserable", Ghazal almost wanted to lash out but managed to restrain herself and in her mind somewhere, something clicked.Eventually, Ghazal is successful and is even more successful when the Surgeon turns a Dalek that appears to be about to exterminate him on the Rani so when it opens fire, it exterminates the Rani and kills her. Once it does, the Daleks go berserk firing their gunsticks at the Surgeon and Ghazal, the former of whom tells her to run and eventually fight off the Daleks as the Surgeon redirects fighter planes to the Iraqi desert to conduct an air raid to destroy the Daleks.
Like the Surgeon, Ghazal felt as though she had been transported to a parallel world because she too felt little emotion on his death."
As a last action, the Surgeon sabotages the transmat machine so it will generate a portal that will allow objects to pass through but not come back again. He then saves Ghazal's life first by pushing her into the transmat before destroying the machine as he enters the portal which in turn leaves the Daleks stranded and leaving them for dead as they will be destroyed by the aerial attacks.
In the streets of Iraq, Ghazal is relieved to learn the Surgeon got to the streets of Iraq safely and is even more delighted to see smoke billowing from the desert; a sign that the Daleks have been destroyed and The Rani with them as Ghazal discovers.
Although the Surgeon apologizes to Ghazal about Majid, she does not seem to care about him any more and seems more delighted that with the Rani dead, she no longer has to be dragged into conflicts which involve the same opponent. When she asks her next destination, the Surgeon replies:
"Out of the past; and into the future."In the SIDRAT as the Surgeon prepares to take off, he asks "Onwards?" to which she replies "Onwards!" and finally the Surgeon activates the SIDRAT and it de-materializes from Iraq to a new location.
By the time of The Yeti Factor, Ghazal is the Surgeon's sole remaining companion and in the beginning of the story is shown with the Surgeon who now flies the SIDRAT a lot calmly now that The Rani is dead. When she is asked if she wants to travel to the future, Ghazal replies with delight and even asks if they can visit the Surgeon's home planet of Gallifrey.
However, the Surgeon refuses her request and takes her to Scotland in the 22nd Century, but when the Surgeon comes to take Ghazal out to explore Scotland she has gone to change and returns still wearing her hijab but replacing her abaya with a light blue coloured dress with a zip on the back and with it adds black tights while also replacing her original black shoes with Chelsea boots.
Once she has changed, the Surgeon takes Ghazal out of the SIDRAT and into Scotland; at least a Scottish chapel which upon further examination is no ordinary chapel. In fact, the chapel is located in one of the most haunted locations in the United Kingdom: Greyfriar's Kirkyard.
Ghazal worries the Surgeon in the SIDRAT and outside the SIDRAT she worries him again when she wanders into the cemetery in the pursuit of a beeping noise which ultimately takes her into the Covenanters prison under the pursuit also of the Surgeon. This beeping also puts her in danger because it takes her to the path of a dormant Yeti which awakens and prepares to attack her.
The Surgeon however narrowly saves her from death and berates her for wandering off. But the Yeti attacks again and the pair flee the prison; however the Yeti sends out a signal to other Yetis stationed all over the graveyard and they surround the pair and block off any hopes of an exit the pair would have.
As the Yeti go in for the kill, the timely intervention of five figures saves her and the Surgeon from them and it is these figures who bring with them a group of Yeti which makes one of the figures call the escape the worst attempt ever. Once the pair flee the cemetery, the figures release the Yeti into the cemetery to fight the Yetis that attacked the Surgeon and Ghazal.
The pair are taken to Edinburgh castle where they see the figures in full: Abigail Huntsman, Christabel Davenport, Clementine Galbraith, Felicity Barbrige and Hester Cartridge, however before Ghazal can ask what brought them there Abigail replies that it can wait until they reach another location.
This location is the Kirk of the Canongate and on the way there, Ghazal is horrified by Yetis dragging civilians into the streets and supposedly killing them. Inside the Kirkyard, Ghazal gets into an argument with Felicity and Hester which results in the latter pair being chastised by Abigail who threatens them that any repeat of such behavior and she will betray them to the Yetis.
As the group journey into the Chapel, Ghazal becomes scared and as such is comforted by the Surgeon despite the fact that she finds the Kirkyard to be far more settling than Greyfriar's Kirkyard and is settled even further when she is led into a room which contains more girls, women and men. However, this settling feeling seems to vanish when Amelia Bedingfield who is Abigail's left hand girl comes along and touches on her altercation with Felicity and Hester.
This conflict however dies quickly when she is impressed by the girls' military precision and is further prepared to forget the altercation she could have had with Amelia when the latter decides alongside Abigail to explain everything which they eventually do when the girls take her and the Surgeon back to where they started: Greyfriar's Kirkyard.
In the cemetery. Ghazal hears everything: In the year 2257, which the Surgeon has taken Ghazal it is a century since the last invasion of Earth by the Daleks in the year 2157 during the events of The Dalek Invasion of Earth and thanks to encounter with them, Amelia responds with a sense of both surprise and fear.
In this century, Earth has been invaded again by the Great Intelligence, although the being is not mentioned explicitly because the girls do not speak its name thanks to the fate of two students that came face to face with it: One of the students has been turned against her allies and the other is now in the Intelligence's captivity.
Ghazal further learns the reason why some Yetis are more obedient to humanity than others: Since the Intelligence invaded Earth, the resistance have captured several of them and impregnated them with "The Human Factor" which turns the Yeti against the Great Intelligence; she further learns that many of the humans have been impregnated with "The Yeti Factor" which makes those impregnated with the factor to obey the Intelligence.
Almost immediately, the Surgeon takes action by quoting the Second incarnation of the Doctor by telling the girls:
"There are some corners of the universe which have bred the most terrible things. Things which act against everything we believe in. They must be fought."He then tells them that he will help the resistance overthrow the Great Intelligence, and helping people is something he has not been able to do because of the paranoia of feeling what The Rani could have been doing. The Surgeon orders the group to go back to the original chapel.
On the way there, he tells Ghazal that he needs her to help the resistance fight the Intelligence to which she replies with a large amount of dedication. At the Kirkyard, the Surgeon mixes things up by putting Ghazal with the students and having Abigail and Amelia pick two girls to join him.
Ghazal is later shown at the Kirkyard showing a large amount of concern for the Surgeon but joins the resistance anyway because she feels that he has something in mind. In battle, Ghazal is a particular stand out as she employs several fighting techniques on the Yetis including sticking a grenade in the face of one and watching as it detonates and blows it face off and replacing the control spheres of some and replacing them with grenades; the spheres are all crushed under her foot.
But once she is on the roof and at the Outlook Tower, the Surgeon carries out his plan: He hands Eleanor over to Abigail, takes hold of Ghazal's hand and flees the Camera Obscura taking her with him and leaving the resistance to the Intelligence which is ultimately destroyed. Outside the Camera Obscura, the Surgeon and Ghazal keep on running until they eventually reach another church and before long, the Surgeon leads Ghazal through the streets of Edinburgh as if in a trance.
In the streets of Edinburgh, Ghazal is both delighted that she can see the Surgeon again but pretty soon it comes back to hit her making her break down into tears because of the thought that she would never see the Surgeon again. After a while, the Surgeon takes her back to the SIDRAT where he intends to take her back to the present day and as he leads her back to Greyfriar's, Ghazal is shown not to be afraid anymore.
Inside the SIDRAT, she shocks the Surgeon by taking off her hijab, a sign that she has begun to become more powerful and stronger since Strategy of a Surgeon.
In what would become her last story, Ghazal is shown one last time with the Eleventh Surgeon in the SIDRAT and while he brings up his promise of taking her back to the present day, she does not want to go back to Egypt in fear that she will encounter the Weeping Angels again. But the Surgeon does not take her to Egypt and instead takes her to a new place...however, when the SIDRAT lands Ghazal is concerned by the fact that the Surgeon is not his normal adventurous self.
The Surgeon has actually gone further into the SIDRAT so as to change his attire and when he has changed his attire, Ghazal does likewise substituting her dress for a blouse and skirt and her boots for high heels. Finally, the pair leave the SIDRAT to explore their surroundings.
When Ghazal leaves the SIDRAT, she is described as being like a daydreamer because the surroundings are very, very different to the previous surroundings she has visited: For one, the scenery is far more greener and brighter in contrast to the brown sandy desert that Ghazal was used to and secondly she is intrigued by the more modern homes shown in the location in contrast to the more traditional homes seen in her original home.
She has actually arrived in the present day in Northern Ireland which the Surgeon describes in vivid detail as follows: Separated from the Republic of Ireland since 1921, battlefield of The Troubles and still remaining as part of the United Kingdom. As she is taken through the streets of Belfast, Ghazal sees even more things that intrigue her including the Irish scenery and the huge variety of houses including old, modern and to an extent council houses.
Her exploration of Irish settings is short lived however when the pair inexplicably find a shadowy figure heading for the Stranmillis University College and follow it to the college...and out again where the figure is later revealed as the scientist Maurice Callaghan. At his home, Ghazal observes a heated accusation of Maurice turning plants into weapons with the scientist vigorously denying the accusations.
She later joins the Surgeon in his greenhouse where she is shown stroking a genetically altered rose alongside the Surgeon where it responds affectionately. Once Maurice is proved right, he forces the pair out of his house; in fact, the Surgeon is proved right and he turns Ghazal back towards Maurice's home where they confront not only Maurice but the same rose that Maurice altered.
But the rose is not a rose at all; instead, it is the first form of a monster that will eventually come to terrorize Northern Ireland. Ghazal mocks its whiny type roar which causes the monster to lash out and the three of them to flee while the monster mutates more plants in its image; outside, the plants destroy Belfast Castle and while Ghazal tries to help Maurice, she is pulled away by the Surgeon who tells Ghazal there's nothing they can do. Especially because Maurice has now fallen under the plant's influence.
Despite running away from the plants, Ghazal tries to pull the Surgeon away from them but the Surgeon refuses to leave and for good reason; because the plants plan to take over the world starting with Northern Ireland and with this information, the pair flee to Queen's University hoping to get there first. Along the way is more change: The Abomination mutates even more plants and turns them into a new foe of the Surgeon and possibly his one time foe...Krynoids.
Ghazal joins the Surgeon in trying to destroy the plants by getting into contact with the Irish Armed Forces which evolves into failure when Maurice destroys the phone lines before kidnapping her and turning her into a Krynoid. But even without her human form, the mind of Ghazal still exists and tries to help the Surgeon in defeating the plants.
In the end, the Surgeon is forced to send in the R.A.F to destroy the plants and in the final battle Ghazal and the plants put up a valiant defense but she dies when the R.A.F bomb Queen's University. Any remainders of Ghazal are destroyed for good when the R.A.F rain the area with incendiary bombs which turns the former university into an inferno.