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Could this event have triggered the Charlie Hebdo massacre?

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web-tan-Institut-du-Monde-Arabe

(c) The Art Newspaper 1/3/15

My first reaction to the tragedy in Paris was to post my own irreverent art as a symbol of solidarity (under lambstara on twitter). Then as I cooled off, not hard to do in this weather, I immersed myself in radio chat and Facebook reactions.   Weeding through diverse responses, though mostly shock and sadness like my own, I was sent an email from an art website.

According to the The Art Newspaper (1/3/14), France was to hold a  conference next week at The Institut du Monde in Paris. Its purpose was to attempt to bring closeness and understanding by “offering a more hopeful vision of the Arab world, than the well-known brutalities of the Islamic State and civil war in the Middle East.” Entitled “The Renewal of the Arab World”, it was to look at the areas in which it believes change is most needed–to develop an economically thriving, liberal, civil society, beginning with teaching methods. There would be talks on fostering   entrepreneurship, renewable energy, the emergence of women (one of the speakers is Lama Al Sulaiman, the deputy chairwoman of the chamber of commerce and industry in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) and how creativity and the art market are pushing the boundaries. This segment would be chaired by a woman, Anna Somers Cocks. Wow.

Zaki Nusseibeh, a senior figure in the Emirati political world, and Antonia Carver of the Art Dubai art fair, and four Emirati museum women were on the slate as well as business people and intellectuals from all over the Arab world. And dinner at the Quai d’Orsay. Magnifique. With Jack Lang, The Institut’s president since 2013, it would be a great affair; after all, he was the radical minister of culture (1981-86 and 1988-92) under President François Mitterrand and has been the force behind the revival.

What will he do now?

It occurred to me that this act of terrorism could have been a way to destabilize the efforts of Monsieur Lang and the Institut. It may have been cooked up to destroy an event that had the potential to shift ideological positions. For certainly art and culture can do that. Art is dangerous, especially for groups that want war and thrive on hatred. Art has the power to open up the heart and help change the mind, two things that extremists seemingly cannot tolerate.

I hope it is not cancelled.

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Written by nancykoan

January 9, 2015 at 3:57 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

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