Two representations of a theatre performance entitled “b7al b7al” which were supposed to be performed on 4th & 5th July 2015 in Tangiers, Morocco have been forbidden again, following a similar incident in Rabat on 13th June 2015.
Although the organisers had fully respected all administrative procedures, they were informed on Saturday 4th July only 15 minutes before the performance and once all the technical installations had been prepared and the actors were ready, that the performance couldn’t take place. The second representation the following day was also forbidden. This ban is taking place at a time when the migrant communities of the city of Tangiers are living violent, racist events that represent a complete denial of basic human rights and values. The performance “b7al b7al” has a positive action which relieves tension and strengthens dialogue on the question of migration between Morocco and Sub-Saharian Africa. It is regrettable that such a performance be forbidden when it offers a place for migrants from Sub-Saharian regions to express themselves, and to make the public more aware of the problems they face ; such a performance also helps prevent stereotypes and prejudices linked to racism. The public space should be accessible to cultural actors, artists and organisations representing civil society and this access to the public space should be free of constraints since it is here that art gets closer to citizens, allowing for debates to take place in an open manner on highly relevenant issues for society at large. It should be recalled that the role of public authorities is to facilitate access and insure security of artists and citizens alike in a neutral way that respect the freedom of artistic expression, as guaranteed by the Moroccan Constitution. B7al b7al” was conceived in the framework of the Mix City project, carried by the Racines association, in partnership with the Theatre of the Oppressed in Casablanca and the Minority Globe, and also in collaboration with the association Visa Without frontiers in Tangiers.
As a reminder, Mix City is part of the programme “Diversity, Drama and Develoment” which is co-funded by the European Commission in the framework of the Medculture programme, and is also supported by the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development, the Swedish Foundation and the Heinrich Böll Foundation : it was set up by the Minority Rights Group International, Civic Forum Institute and the Andalus Institute.
ACAR with the members of the Arts, Rights and Justice working group powered by Culture Action, support Moroccan artists and cultural operators in their struggle to maintain respect for the freedom of artistic expression and fully condemn this breach of freedom.