An open letter, intitiated by Shermin Langhoff, artistic director of Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin, and signed by German and international artists and curators, calls for the immediate release of Osman Kavala.
Kavala, founder of Anadolu Kultur, was arrested in Istanbul on 18 October, allegedly having been involved in the attempted coup in July 2016.
The festival announces, that all three Polish performances which were canceled before due to cuts of governmental funds, will remain in the program. The success came after launching a fundraising campaign and with the support of the local and international artists community. “Without you” wrote Tomasz Kireńczuk, the Programme Manager, “there would be no 9th ITF Dialog-Wroclaw, which this year’s slogan ‘Onwards! But where to?’ takes on a whole new, significant meaning today.”
Source: Dialog Festival
After after spending 625 days in an Israeli prison without charge or trial (see ACAR posts 1, 2, 3, and 4) , Mohammed Abu Sakha, trainer and performer at Palestinian Circus School was released on 30 August and returned to his family. He was arrested at an Israeli checkpoint on 14 December 2015 on his way to work at the Palestinian Circus School, and held since then under a series of administrative orders. Israel’s Shin Bet security agency accused him of being a member of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which the Jewish state considers a terrorist group because of its armed wing. Abu Sakha denied the allegations and said Israeli forces never told him the exact reason for his arrest or how long he would be detained. His imprisonment had sparked a high-profile campaign for his release, with support from circus performers and activists around the world, with Amnesty international calling for him to be “charged with a crime or released”.
“It’s shocking to see how someone can be imprisoned for 21 months, without charge, and at the end be released without being charged with any crime at all. They took away 21 months of his life, and 21 months from those that needed him.” (Shadi Zmorrod, founder of the Palestinian Circus School).
Abu Sakha’s release came against the backdrop of a stark rise in the number of those newly detained without charge or trial by Israel.
Sources: Amnesty International, Middle East Eye, The Times of Israel
The United States and Israel announced on 12 October they were pulling out of the UN’s culture and education body. The double withdrawal comes as board members are voting to elect a new director-general, with Arab candidates from Qatar and Egypt vying with a French competitor. The US decision, announced in Washington, follows years of tension at the organisation which it accused of having an “anti-Israel bias.”
Already in 2011, the United States under president Barack Obama has cut off funds to Unesco as a punitive action after the Palestinian Authority was accepted into the UN agency as a full member in defiance of American, Israeli and European pressure. Within hours, the US announced it would withhold its huge contribution to Unesco’s budget as a result of the vote due to a 21-year-old law prohibiting the payment of funds to any UN body accepting the Palestinians as full members. The US contributes 22% of UNESCO’s annual budget.
The United States has walked out of the 195-member organisation once before under president Ronald Reagan, who quit in 1984 over alleged financial mismanagement and claims of anti-US bias in some of its policies. President George W. Bush announced America’s return in 2002.
Washington’s withdrawal is set to take effect on 21 December 2018, when it will establish an “observer mission” to replace its representation at the agency.
ACAR has joined the new Artists At Risk Connection platform which was launched on 10 October. ARC connects more than 500 global organizations that aims to provide life-saving resources to artists worldwide who face oppression, persecution, arrest, and violence for their creative work.
ARC is a three-year pilot program at PEN America, sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Protesters had been occupying the theater since Friday night. They intended to develop a “People’s Stage” over the next three months, as well as an “anti-gentrification center” and a “parliament of the homeless”, running by a collective two-year interim council. After days of negotiations and an ultimatum, allowing the occupiers the use of only the Green Salon and the outside Volksbühnen-Pavillon, Chris Dercon, the recently appointed director of the Volksbühne, filed yesterday a complaint against the occupiers. During the eviction, most activists left voluntarily, while five had to be carried away by police. In 2014, Chris Dercon was part of the jury that awarded Teatro Valle – the occupied theater in Rome – the European Cultural Foundation’s Princess Margriet Award.
Read the full report on hyperallergic.com