Since the outbreak of protests in Iran in September that have developed into a revolution against the political regime, protesters and those in solidarity with the protests have been persecuted and repressed with increasing use of police and military means. Among the fatalities of armed repression were many women and children. Now, at least 21 people are currently facing the death penalty, and the first executions have already been carried out. Amnesty International issued a detailed analysis about the cases.
For weeks, a large group of Iranian theater makers has been trying to publish a manifesto in Iran and abroad. This attempt failed when a few days before the publication the Iranian secret service called some of the activists and threatened them with concrete references to individual passages of the text. The pressure meant that the joint manifesto could not be adopted, but some of the authors published parts of it on private social media sites. The result was interrogation and the confiscation of private cell phones and computers. To make a statement against these repressions and to support the protest movement, Soheila Golestani and Hamid Pourazari published a video on Instagram: a street performance in which all women appear without head coverings. The text for it says, among other things, that “the truth will come out and this performance will take place”. The day after the video was released, Soheila Golestani and Hamid Pourazari were arrested and have since been held in Tehran’s Evin Prison.
Update (December 12, 2022): The previously pasted Instagram post has been depublished.
In the aftermath of the brutal murder of Mahsa Amini, and in solidarity with the protesters in Iran, a collective of Iranian feminist academic-activists has published yesterday an open letter. In support of the nationwide protests that followed in Iran, the authors called the goal of the uprising of the Iranian people “the end of the theocratic military” which “uses multifaceted violence against the marginalized bodies”. The Iranian state has set a deadly crackdown on protesters and restricted Iranians’ access to the Internet. The letter has already been signed by hundreds of academics and artists around the globe.
The independent Alfa Theatre in Tel Aviv/Israel is under pressure since many years (See ACAR post 2019). As a small fringe theatre with professional Jewish and Arab actors, working in both languages the Alfa has many times been threatened by governmental authorities as supporter of terrorists. The Ministry of Culture has now decided to stop any financial support. The theater has already filed a lawsuit against the ministry in 2019 and managed to get the cancellation of the annual subsidy reversed. Since then, Alfa continues to fight against closure and starts now another Court appeal. Avraham Oz, director of the theatre asks for donations for the Court appeals expenses.
Artists connecting in Transition (ACT) is a new international programme hosted by Culture in Transit (UK), Arthereistanbul (Turkey), MedeArts (Jordan) and the Fanak Fund. ACT is currently looking to select and host artists with lived experience of forced migration, exile or displacement to these countries, who are interested in applying for a residency. The three host organisations are looking to select and host two artists in each residence, open to artists in exile currently based in the partners’ respective countries: UK, Turkey and Jordan.
For eligibility and selection criteria, and to apply, please visit the relevant website of the partners: Culture in Transit, Artheristanbul, MedeArts,Fanak Fund Deadline: Friday 8 July 2022 Residency timeline: 5 September 2022 until 27 January 2023 (part-time) Digital launch of art works and local exhibition: February until March 2023 (dates tbc).
A report, edited by Pelin Çakır and introduced September 2021 by Martin Roth-Initiative (MRI) and Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa), Germany, explores risks and restrictions for artistic freedom and mobility beyond the Covid-19 Crisis. By learning from the recent experiences, and particularly from restrictive contexts such as Turkey, Learning from the Pandemic explores how to support artists and maintain spaces of artistic freedom despite these circumstances. The full report is now available in English.
The eroding situation in Afghanistan poses a threat to the lives of our colleagues in Afghanistan. Performing artists from Afghanistan were active in building up a society based on democracy, freedom, openness, human and cultural rights in their country. These are not the values of the Taliban, so their lives are now at risk. ITI applies to democratic governments to take immediate action to save Afghanistan’s performing artists and culture activists, especially women and ethnic and religious minorities. Thousands are already sought, have moved into hiding and may soon take the perilous step of looking for a way over land borders to Pakistan or Usbekistan.