AGE OF UNCERTAINTY & THE FREEDOM OF ARTISTIC EXPRESSION
By Sara Whyatt, Consultant on Human Rights and Freedom of Expression
I really wasn’t going to talk about President Trump, as so much is being said I don’t see that I can add to it. But as each day of his presidency brings another offence to humanity – the closing of US borders to asylum seekers from Syria, and anyone other than diplomats from six other states; the attempts to shut down the media; and so much more. It brings to my mind that what is going on over the Atlantic will serve to legitimise and strengthen the already existing anti-democratic forces here in Europe.
At the Arts Rights Justice workshop in Budapest, I heard an artist from Poland speak of having to constantly look over her shoulder in case she might find herself being accused of blasphemy or insult. In Spain anti terror laws were used against puppeteers Raul García and Alfonso Lazaro who were imprisoned for 5 days after they put on a puppet show in February 2016. In both countries, there has been a feisty response from artists and civil rights groups, but my fear is that what is happening in the US will serve to embolden governments and populist movements in Europe that seek to dampen down their detractors.
I’ve heard at the ‘Beyond the Obvious’ conference that this is an age of uncertainty. I’ve also heard people here say that it is a time of confusion. I’ve heard that this is a time to sit back and reflect and I’ve also heard it is a time for urgency. For some (Corina Suteu) now is the time to act, accepting the fact that acting could put us in positions that are not comfortable, that may have repercussions (…)