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Mail sent on January 21 st 2004 to Mr Krister Kumlin Secretary-General of Stockolm International Forum 2004

by the President of MPCT

mercredi 3 mai 2006, par MPCT

... as a European citizen and human rights activist, I would like to raise a few points concerning the controversial exhibit.

A lot has been said about the artist’s right to free expression. I don’t question an artist’s freedom, and can still support the "toute licence en art" of my youth. So, shocking and ugly as I may find it, if an artist relishes in displaying mock-blood, I have to consider his rightful artistic freedom to do so.

The point is that in this particular case, you are not dealing with art for art sake. The fact that the exhibition is located at a historical museum, not at a modern art one, makes it clear. What makes it clearer is that the exhibition was organized in connection with Stockolm International Forum for the prevention of genocide.

The question of artistic freedom is irrelevant here, it is only the legitimacy of the message conveyed by the exhibit with regard to the theme, prevention of genocide, which must be examined.

As a woman committed to the advocacy of peace and the defence of human rights throughout the world, I find terrorism aimed at civilians the filthiest form of war and suicide bombing a crime against humanity, whichever cause it is supposed to advertize. The ultimate weapon, based on the ruthless use of people as mass destruction weapons, it certainly bears the seeds of genocide and of humanity ’s self destruction. It follows that its resolute condemnation is essential to the prevention of genocide.

I am convinced you and the Swedish government condemn suicide bombing just as strongly. But it is necessary to avoid all ambiguity on such a matter.

For that reason an ambiguous message should have been banned from the exhibition.

The exhibit was worse than ambiguous : calling a suicide bomber and child slaughterer "Snow White", the symbol of purity and innocence, was a fault, and allowing it to appear on that occasion was another one.

You are certainly aware that the portraits of suicide bombers celebrated as "martyrs" are to be seen all over the West Bank and Gaza , encouraging young people to follow their example.

It is most unfortunate that one of them could be seen in Stockolm in connection with the 2004 Forum ! This "Snow White " is as shocking as would have been an exhibit called "Peter Pan" picturing the murderer of your late Minister floating on her blood, but it is potentially more dangerous.

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