Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Postcard from the edge

An interesting article in the October 1 issue of Time, caught my eye this morning so I am having a bit of a stream of consciousness thought.

The Time essay titled “Postcard: Beirut” http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1663834,00.html carries more weight then is apparent in the one-page essay. This should be a feature story. How often do we have the chance to read about the art scene in a country like Lebanon or Syria? Shouldn’t we as Americans or westerners be allowed that information, to educate ourselves about what is happening in these countries outside of politics and religion? Wouldn’t Americans or shouldn’t Americans be mortified that in some places the only information people read about the country is Cheney’s relentless push on Israel to start war in Iran and George Bush’s continued “war on terror” and “us and them” diatribe? The majority of information that each side of the fence receives is unfortunately the generic, political agenda that will unite the people of that country. What about the individual voice? The creative voice which is really what all countries are made of?

On this same subject, the op-ed piece titled “Death of a Director,” written by Alain Délétroz in the September 22-23 International Herald Tribune, was particularly moving. In the article he poignantly writes about the “thirst for cultural escape in a dictatorship,” and the refuge that people found in Tashkent in the theatrical performances directed by the late Mark Weil. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article2507785.ece

It’s essential that in cities like Beirut, artists of all kinds persist in their endeavors to create and share their work as another form of dialogue to the ongoing, repetitious political and religious banter. Without that individual voice, then the state or religion has won, and in these particularly delicate, uncertain times, Beirut, as one of the most creative and independent thinking cities has to nurture this creativity, in whatever subversive, underground way it can. I am giving total credit to Time for doing the Postcard: Beirut essay and hope that maybe they’ll do a feature story on it next time.

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