mardi 12 avril 2011

Response to terrorists against Culture and Arts

Response to terrorists against Culture and Arts
A letter was sent to Mawazine participating artists by the “mouvement du 20 fevrier”.
This letter, on the grounds of defending the youth, modernity, freedom and wanting to fight corruption and poverty in Morocco calls for a boycott of the Mawazine festival. This call is in fact an act of terrorism vis-à-vis art and culture and contains a significant number of untruths, of nonsense and slander.
1) These people do not represent the majority of Moroccans :
The four signatories of the letter claim to speak for the majority of Moroccans. LIE! The movement claimed by the signatories only compiles 40 000 people on the Internet and therefore cannot proclaim themselves spokespeople of the majority of Moroccans. The majority of Moroccans are the 2 million spectators attending the festival and 20 million viewers who are in front of their TV enjoying the shows.

2) The reasons given by the signatories to the boycott of the festival is both
If one follows the logic of the four signatories of the letter, the artists are guilty and are
accomplices in the deaths of children in rural areas, lack of supervision in hospitals, accomplices and perpetrators of school failure among 360 000 children, perpetrators and accomplices for the lack of hospitals and schools… If we follow their logic, no private initiative is possible and no private fund can invest in or support the arts.
How can a music festival be responsible for all the problems in Morocco? How could a festival replace government? Why couldn’t culture take advantage of initiatives to benefit our own citizens? Under the pretext that the money spent for the festival would provide a solution to all problems in Morocco, these people seek nothing less than to kill all the cultural and artistic initiatives where a dirham is spent.

3) These are not "huge sums" that are invested in the festival :
According to figures recently available, the budget of the festival amounts to 62 million dirhams (7.9 million dollars) from private funds with only 4 million dirhams (508,000 dollars) from public funds. Can 4 million dirhams really help build roads, schools and hospitals? Can 4 million dirhams put an end to the problems of mortality and failures in schools? A simple calculation to account for the lack of investment in Culture: According to the 2010 budget, 78 billion dirhams (9.9 billion dollars) are allocated to education, health and roads and 710 million dirhams (90 million dollars) to culture or in other words 0.3% of the total budget. The festival budget is 0.028% of the state budget and 0.0018% from the share of public fund
or 13 cents to the dirham (less than 2 cents/ 0.02 USD) per capita per year! Beyond the budgets for the organization of the festival, the signatories want to make suspicious any money invested in culture and want to deny the legitimate right of Moroccans to entertainment and the arts.

4) If Mawazine were to be canceled, it is artists, citizens, merchants who  would bear the consequences: Tens of hotels, transportation companies, restaurants and many other businesses benefit from this festival that gives them additional important activity during the festival period. Hundreds of Moroccan artists also live from this festival which is a significant platform for expression of their art. Thousands of families will be denied an income; millions of spectators and viewers will not be entertained or have the opportunity to see their favorite artists. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights "Everyone has the right to participate freely in cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts." Under the guise of openness, modernity and freedom, these so-called Young Democrats are actually calling to obscurantism and annihilation of culture in Morocco.

5) In attacking the Mawazine Festival and the artists involved, this movement  is challenging the freedom of expression and freedom of thought :
This movement claiming to be democrat uses means and arguments that are more like a dictatorship through defamation and intimidation. How can you call yourself democrats who love freedom and simultaneously accuse the artists of "complicity" of all the ills of society? How can you call yourself "open and modern" while seeking to impose a single model of thought? How can you claim to be young democrats while making defamatory accusations vis-à-vis the artists and organizers of the festival. We do not want a democracy where a minority imposes its ideology that art and culture are unnecessary accessories. We do not want a democracy or a minority that can cast aspersions on any citizen on the grounds of supporting the Arts. We do not want a democracy where a minority would continuously blackmail a majority. Under this democracy lies a horror called dictatorship: we do not want it!

This youth movement should reflect on Article 29 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states: "In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society… "

Dear Moroccans, think about all of this. Act your way to push our country toward real democracy, one of liberty. Support the Mawazine festival and do not let these obscurantist eradicate Arts and Culture, means of democratic expression.

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