War: April 2005 Archives

after unpacking a suitcase in Grozny

an installation on Friendship of Peoples Square

"Give them bread, but give them roses too" [traditional socialist cry]

I hate loose ends, so I'm following up on a post I did two months ago with another link to the site of the Emergency Biennale in Chechnya and a story which appeared in the Guardian. The project was formally launched the day after I first wrote about it, but in the nature of this extraordinary outreach it has taken weeks to even begin to record its success. From Dan Hancox writing for the Guardian on April 13:

The 62 contributing artists were asked to submit two copies of their work, and duplicates are displayed in the Palais du Tokyo contemporary art gallery in Paris, along with a series of films and talks about Chechen life. These suitcases of art travelled from Paris across Europe to Grozny. The Chechen Biennale has now been established, with the art on display in Grozny's National Library. It will move on to four other cities, in the care of its Chechen supporters, who cannot be named for safety reasons.

This "arts sans frontières" approach makes the Emergency Biennale more than just another art festival - responding with speed and dedication, they are, like Médecins sans Frontières, working "on an emergency footing". Jouanno and Castro are clearly subscribing to the old socialist idea, "Give them bread, but give them roses too." A cultural life is a human right denied to most Chechens: the Russian authorities consented only a fortnight ago to rebuild the museums.

See the Biennale's site, clicking onto "news" and "artists" for more images.

[images, which I believe must remain anonymous although they are posted by "evelyne," are from emergencybiennale]

Welcome citizens! (wire and flesh, inside the holding pen on Pier 57)


This is the political nightmare we fear the most. -- joseph Keiffer
Six letters in the NYTimes today discuss yesterday's news article about the confirmation of the false arrest of hundreds of people during last year's Republican Parteitage in New York. They cover a lot of ground and every one of the short contributions is worth a read, but I feel compelled to add my own observation here:
All of this almost certainly means nothing over six months after the damage was done. These people were held captive in miserable conditions, their voices silenced, for up to five days. That time and those assaults can never be restored. The speech silenced then was not and will never be heard; it was unable to influence or effect anything while voices were locked up inside a filthy abandoned pier. [see my archive for posts from the end of August and the first week of September, 2004]

Even if the innocence of these victims is affirmed now, and the malfeasance of the police and city administration is made clearly manifest to the world, what most people are not thinking about is the fact that it worked very well. It silenced a people who thought themselves free, including countless numbers who were frightened into staying at home.

A radical, quasi-fascist regime is now firmly entrenched in the most powerful nation on earth, and there is no effective dissent anywhere.

Worst of all, in spite of what happened in the courts last week, it will work the next time too. The police will continue to suppress all dissent; it's what our leaders want them to do. There will be no reprimands, no directives or new systems which might prevent a recurrence of last summer's shame or an even greater debacle in the future.

[image, repeated from my September 3, 2004 post, via indymedia, by anonymous]

This page is an archive of entries in the War category from April 2005.

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