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Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Ahdaf Soueif, and Turner Prize winners Lawrence Abu Hamdam and Tai Shani are among more than 60 international musicians, artists, writers, and filmmakers who signed an open letter condemning Israel’s crackdown on three Palestinian culture centers in East Jerusalem.
On July 22, Israeli police raided the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music (ESNCM), Yabous Cultural Centre, and the Shafaq Cultural Network in East Jerusalem. The buildings of these institutions were ransacked; documents and equipment were confiscated; and their respective directors — Suheil Khoury, Rania Elias, and Daoud al-Ghoul — were detained.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement that police detained the three directors on suspicions of “tax evasion and fraud” in a joint operation with tax authorities.
Released yesterday, August 12, the open letter says:
These attacks threaten to extinguish cultural life for thousands of artists, students and people in wider society They are part of a well-documented campaign of harassment and intimidation, arrests, home demolitions and forced evictions of indigenous Palestinians by the Israeli government.
In a tweet on July 23, the British Consulate General in Jerusalem, Phillip Hall, wrote he was “concerned” over the detention of the three directors.
“It must go further than this,” the authors of the open letter responded to the Consulate General’s tweet. “Israel’s policies must be brought to a halt.”
The letter called on the British government “to condemn the raids and to take action to stop Israel’s ongoing annexation.” The authors also joined Palestinian calls for “targeted and lawful sanctions” against Israel, focusing on trade, arms sales, and security co-operation.
In a statement after his release from detention, Khoury wrote, “Other than the ongoing daily policies the Israelis are trying to enforce in East Jerusalem, we do not know what triggered the attack. Loving Beethoven and your country seem to be a dangerous combination.”
“They have chosen to attempt to smear our reputation by falsifying evidence of money laundering, an outrageous and baseless accusation,” the composer and director of ESNCM continued. “The aim of this smearing attempt is severe and might lead to shutting us down.”
Khoury is married to Elias, who heads the Yabous Cultural Centre, the largest Palestinian venue for music, performance arts, and film in Jerusalem. The two were arrested together in their apartment in East Jerusalem on the morning of the raid.
A joint statement by the boards of the ESNCM and the Yabous Cultural Centre described the couple’s arrest, saying: “Their children were ordered to stay put in a room while the police searched their bedroom and confiscated their passports, their documents, their computers, phone and car, after which they led Rania to the Yabous Centre and Suheil to the interrogation center in Jabal Abu Ghneim.”
The two organizations vehemently denied the charges and allegations against them, adding that their financial accounts are audited by the international auditing firms Pricewaterhouse Coopers PwC and Deloitte. They called on international human rights organizations, UNESCO, the European Union, and governments worldwide “to hold to account the occupying forces for their daily violations of the rights of the Palestinians and their organizations and to stop all attacks on scholars, artists and musicians and those involved in the cultural life.”
The Palestinian Ministry of Culture in Ramallah has also condemned the raids, saying, “The attack on these institutions is an attack on the Palestinian national culture and cultural heritage.”
Soueif, an Egyptian-British novelist and founder of the Palestinian Festival of Literature (PalFest), said in a statement: “Israel is using the familiar tactics of an authoritarian state — night-time raids, trumped-up charges, arbitrary arrests — to kill the cultural institutions that Palestinians have created.”
Soueif, who resigned from her post as a British Museum trustee last year for the museum’s ties to British Petroleum (BP) and its inaction regarding the restitution of cultural artifacts, continued: “Western governments have the power to stop this intolerable use of force. They should use it.”
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants—11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data—a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were…
In 1850, when Dr. Robert W. Gibbes commissioned J. T. Zealy to make daguerreotypes of persons held in slavery in and around Columbia, South Carolina, for Harvard Professor Louis Agassiz to use in support of his theory that African people were a separate species, daguerreotypes were at the height of fashion.
Works by Rodolfo Abularach, Mario Bencomo, Denise Carvalho, Pérez Celis, Entes, and Agustín Fernandéz are on view at the NYC gallery through January 7, 2022.
he ownership of images has a long and nuanced legal history, which has evolved dramatically in recent years as cultural standards and photographic technologies have rapidly advanced
Renty and his daughter Delia. Renty was an enslaved African, kidnapped from the Congo, sold and forced into slave labor on the South Carolina plantation of B.F. Taylor
“Ecosystem X,” an art-based reimagining of life on planet Earth, is the theme of this open call. 10 artists will win $5,000 and one student will receive $5,000 as a scholarship/stipend.
The show, which honors the 50th anniversary of an exhibition history once ignored, continues a series of projects documenting Wilmington’s contemporary art scene.
As a scholar of African American history and photography whose work has focused on the status of violent images in museums and archives, I fully support the validity of Ms. Tamara Lanier’s claim and the amicus brief.
The daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor, Delia, Drana, Alfred, Jack, George Fassena, and Jem remained in an unused storage cabinet until 1975, when it was discovered by an employee of the Peabody Museum.
I am writing in support of the amicus curiae brief submitted by Professor Ariella Aïsha Azoulay of Brown University for the full restitution of the daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor and his daughter Delia, currently held by Harvard University, to their familial descendant, Tamara Lanier.