Sunday, June 09, 2013

Egyptian Artists Stage Sit-In Until Islamist Culture Minister Steps Down

Protesting the perceived gradual Islamization of Egypt's cultural life, about 30 artists and others headed on over to Cairo's Ministry of Culture and staged what they are calling an  "open-ended" sit-in.  They will not leave until Muslim Brotherhood-friendly Minister of Culture Alaa Abdel-Aziz resigns.  Among the protesters were screenwriter Mohamed El-Adl, film director Khaled Yousef, actors Mahmoud Kabil and Nabil El-Helfawy, along with some other film industry notables including Galal El-Sharkawy, Fardos Abdel- Hamid and Sameh El-Seriety. Also present were novelists Son'allah Ibrahim and Bahaa Taher, and visial artist Mohamed Abla.

El-Helfawy told the press that artists cannot stay silent and ignore the current attack on Egyptian culture.
"The intellectuals, writers and artists inside the ministry announce their rejection of the minister, appointed by the religious fascist regime, who has embarked on his plan to destroy national culture," read the statement.
"They [protesting artists] declare that they will not accept the presence of a minister that does not fulfil the aspirations of intellectuals to cultivate a culture that lives up to the hopes of the great revolution since it started on 25 January 2011 and achieves its goals."
Protesting artists have declared an open-ended sit-in until the position is filled by someone who supports and works towards "enshrining values of diversity, citizenship and cultural richness, which were hallmarks of Egyptian culture across the ages."
Of course, there were Islamist counter-protesters there.

It all started back on May 28th when Abdel-Aziz pink-slipped the heads of the Cairo Opera House and Fine Arts Sector. People were not happy with that decision.

Read more here.

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