Massive Attack, Patti Smith, Danny Glover, and Viggo Mortensen were among the 79 international artists, writers, and producers who condemned the German arts and music festival Ruhrtriennale’s attempt to censor Scottish band Young Fathers over their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian human rights.
Massive Attack, Patti Smith, Danny Glover, Viggo Mortensen, Peter Gabriel + others say @Ruhrtriennale was wrong to drop Young Fathers over support for Palestinian rights, welcome festival's reversal and defend BDS as freedom of speech. #SupportYoungFathers https://t.co/lHg11M1k0O pic.twitter.com/YUOAQA2Gpt
— PACBI (@PACBI) June 26, 2018
The letter published in The Guardian reads:
“We are disturbed by attempts in Germany to impose political conditions on artists supporting Palestinian human rights. We are glad that the international outcry has convinced the Ruhrtriennale arts festival to reverse its repressive decision to cancel a performance by the Young Fathers.”
— Boycott Pop-Kultur Festival (@BoycottPKBerlin) June 27, 2018
The band’s concert was canceled in mid-June after refusing to heed a request by the festival organizers who had asked the band to distance themselves from the BDS movement.
Stefanie Carp, the festival’s artistic director, said in a press release June 13 that:
“The Ruhrtriennale distances itself in all forms from the BDS movement and wishes to have absolutely no connection with the campaign.”
"Ruhrtriennale’s Artistic Director Stefanie Carp, said, “The Ruhrtriennale distances itself in all forms from the BDS movement and wishes to have absolutely no connection with the campaign.” Carp added. “We have therefore decided to cancel the concert." https://t.co/qF51T5aOxN
— (((daledamos))) (@daledamos) June 15, 2018
The band responded saying Carp’s decision was “wrong and deeply unfair.”
Shortly after, international support for the band by renowned artists like Roger Waters, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, and Brian Eno was made public and the band was re-invited to the festival.
— al whit (@soitiz) June 27, 2018
The public letter signed also by academics, including Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, Naomi Klein, and Israeli historian Ilan Pappe warned that “conflating nonviolent measures to end Israel’s illegal occupation and human rights violations with anti-Jewish racism is false and dangerous.”
Victory for free speech over anti-Palestinian censorship! After disinviting @Youngfathers for refusing to distance themselves from the Palestinian-led BDS human rights movement, German @ruhrtriennale festival re-invites bandhttps://t.co/KNGOfTuW16
— BDS South Africa (@BDSsouthafrica) June 22, 2018
The letter concluded in an open defense of the BDS movement:
“While we may hold diverse views on BDS, we are united in considering it a lawful exercise of freedom of expression(, they) have been used worldwide, including against apartheid in South Africa and the Jim Crow segregation laws in the US.”
(TeleSur, PC, Social Media)