Statement on the war in Gaza

Freemuse – Defending artistic freedom

Freemuse er en uavhengig internasjonal organisasjon som jobber for kunstneres ytringsfrihet. Organisasjonen har rådgivende status overfor FN og UNESCO. Hver år gir de ut rapporten «The State of Artistic Freedom». Hovedkontoret ligger i Danmark og organisasjonen har avdelinger i syv land, inkludert i Norge.

Vi i Creo har et tett samarbeid med Freemuse på internasjonal ytringsfrihet for kunst- og kulturarbeidere. De er også avgjørende for den jobben Safemuse gjør i sitt arbeider for kunstnerisk frihet og trygge arbeidsforhold for forfulgte kunstnere over hele verden.

Her er deres uttalelse om krigen i Gaza..

Freemuse, the independent international non-governmental organization advocating for freedom of artistic expression, is deeply alarmed by the severe killings of civilians in Gaza, among them many artists. From colleagues in Palestine, we have been informed about the extremely hard situation for Palestinian artists now, increasing arrests, and total self-censorship.

We are also deeply alarmed at the worldwide wave of attacks, reprisals, criminalization and sanctions against those who publicly express solidarity with the victims of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.

We also strongly condemn violence and murder against civilians in communities and a music festival in Southern Israel, on 7 October. However, these gross violations of human rights in no way justify Israel’s collective punishment of the population of Gaza by preventing them from getting water, food, medicine, access to hospitals and energy since 7 October. Nor the bombing that has killed thousands of civilians and particularly affected children and women, acts that are in clear violation of Israel’s duty to ensure that humanitarian law is followed and complied with.

Creatives, cultural practitioners and defenders of artistic freedom are extremely alarmed by Israel’s brutal attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in Gaza, among them our Gazan colleagues, their families and their livelihoods.

We are very concerned that people who call for an end to the violence and attacks in Gaza, or for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, or who criticise the Israeli government’s policies and actions, in too many contexts have been misleadingly equated with support for terrorism or antisemitism. This stifles free expression, including artistic expression, and creates an atmosphere of fear to participate in public life. 

We are deeply dismayed at the increasing number of creative colleagues around the globe are being victimized by authorities and/or cultural institutions because of their public support for the human rights of Palestinians, or for their criticism of the impunity and brutality of the Israeli state and its security forces. 

We express our deepest concern that several artists around the world have been targeted because of their art or political messaging, pressured to change topics of artistic expression, and labelled either as troublemakers or as indifferent to the suffering of one side or the other. Some artists have been deprogrammed and censored for calling for peace, others have lost their jobs, and some artists have been silenced or side-lined by their own cultural organizations and artistic communities. 

This is part of a disturbing trend to criminalise and label pro-Palestinian protests as “hate protests” and to preemptively ban them, often citing risks to national security, including risks related to incitement to hatred, without providing evidence-based justification. Such actions not only violate the right to protest guaranteed by Article 21 of the ICCPR but are also detrimental to democracy and any peace-building efforts. 

It is especially in times of conflicts and war that the universality of human rights must be upheld, and that the application of the rule of law without discrimination be assured.