Sunday, September 18, 2011

Put freedom of artistic expression on suicide watch: political correctness kills Palestinian children´s show in CA

One of the images by a Palestinian Gaza child now banned in California (The word, "CENSORED" was added by the Middle East Children´s Alliance. The image is from MECA´s Facebook site.)

We should put the U.S. Constitution on suicide watch along with freedom of artistic expression.

Bowing to Zionist pressures in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Museum of Children´s Art (MOCHA) in Oakland shut down a show—“A Child´s View from Gaza”—before its slated inaugural on 24 September.

These children´s works, many color crayon drawings, depict the psychological damage done to them as victims of Israel’s 23-day War on Gaza.

Yes, It´s a political statement in the eyes of paranoid and perhaps guilt-ridden American Jews who wish to silence the truth, even from the tender psyches of children.

The Israeli invasion by sea, land and air against Gaza killed 1,400 Palestinians of whom 300 were children. Hundreds more were seriously injured, most civilians.
A work by a Palestinian child that will not be show at MOCHA in Oakland, CA

Do you think MOCHA would have bowed to pressure, backed down if these images were from Israeli children, who had suffered at the hands of Palestinian terrorists?

The era of political correctness in art has struck many recent blows.

It´s everywhere, from oil painter icon-destructor Lawrence Gipe´s “Rosemont Copper Girl,” Ai Weiwei´s “Fuck you” self-portrait in front of China´s Imperial Palace, Rhode Island Gov. Paul LePage´s banning a mural depicting (accurately) the history of hard working people in his state (He´s a Tea Party disciple, who said he thought the mural wasn´t fair to capitalism.)

Take Hungarian Prime Minister´s “Orban Art Circle,” a label I tagged the country´s bogus but huge Hungarian “contemporary art” show in Beijing.

ArtTraveler´s Beijing-based contributor and working contemporary artist and academic Alessandro Rolandi, who published a review on the Hungarian faux show, wrote: “Often political correctness turns out to be the easiest way to shallowness.”

Either you stand by a principle consistently, especially one like freedom of artistic expression, at the very heart and soul of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, or you default into being brainwashed and led by state-approved images and propaganda as people were in Hitler´s Germany and Stalin´s Russia.

The conduct of these Jewish groups, who are unnamed in the story by Hraq Vartanian of 12 September, abhors and eschews the values on which the United States was founded.

This is nothing less than subversion by economic coercion.

And MOCA should hang its corporate head in shame.

As Vartanian in her story noted, MOCHA in 2004 refused buckling to ultra-nationalist pressures to cancel a similar show by Iraqi children shortly after the U.S. invasion in 2003.

It portrayed American military violence against Iraqi civilians, including children.

We know powerful images provoke impacting reactions and emotional imprints. 

Barbara Lubin, chair of The Middle East Children´s Alliance (MECA), organized this show.

She is understandably dismayed. She is quoted as saying:

“We understand all too well the enormous pressure that the museum came under. But who wins?

“The museum doesn´t win. MECA doesn´t win. The people of the Bay Area don´t win.

“Our basic constitutional freedom of speech loses.

“The children of Gaza lose.”

Lubin said the Jewish Federation of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs launched a $6 million initiative to effectively silence Palestinian voices, even in cultural institutions.

For its part, MOCHA prostituted itself. 

Its chair Hilmon Sorey issued a statement that his museum tried to balance “concerns raised by parents, caregivers and educations who did not wish for their children to en counter graphically violent sensitive works during their use of our facility…”

That´s total trash, a transparent PR work of non-art.

From what I´ve seen, the media backlash to this cave-in to Zionist monetary interests grows daily, as it should. 

It is the principle that is at stake.

The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) represents Nazis, communists, all kinds of unpopular people when the ACLU believes government violates constitutional rights. 

The principle and only the principle controls.

Here, MOCHA killed the principle and bought next year´s budget.

Let the Children Play and Heal

Much of the artwork featured in the exhibit originated from MECA’s psychosocial program called “Let the Children Play and Heal.” It was developed in early 2009 following Israel’s 23-day brutal military assault on Gaza that left an entire generation of children traumatized. The program supports trained social workers, supervised by a psychologist, to help children in Gaza cope with trauma through art, dance, music, and other creative expression. (From MECA´s Facebook page.)

Note: In 1963, I hitch-hiked from Belgrade, Yugoslavia, through the Middle East (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan) and worked for two weeks on a Kibbutz above Haifa. I worked in Libya for three years (1977 – 80). I worked with Palestinians in our corporate legal offices in Tripoli. This commentary is not about who´s right or wrong or free from culpability in this seemingly insoluble conflict between the state of Israel and the Palestinian people. It´s about sharing knowledge and understanding, visually and otherwise, and engaging in constructive dialogue. See also: to read an excellent account of MOCHA´s cancellation of this exhibition.

Rock on and practice peace and love.
Stefan, the ArtTraveler ™

ArtTraveler notes:

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"Walking the Walk," near Canillas de Albaida, Andalusia Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2007)
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