Index on Censorship is one of 21 members of the Arts Rights Justice network who have signed the following statement:
Two representations of a theatre performance entitled “b7al b7al”, 4 and 5 July 2015 in Tangiers, Morocco have been forbidden again following a similar incident in Rabat on 13 June. Although the organisers had fully respected all administrative procedures, they were informed on 4 July (15 minutes before the performance after all technical installations had been prepared and the actors were ready), that the performance couldn’t take place. The second representation the following day was also forbidden.
This ban takes place at a time when the migrant communities of the city of Tangiers are living violent, racist events that represent a complete denial of basic human rights and values.
The performance b7al b7al relieves tension and strengthens dialogue regarding migration between Morocco and Sub-Saharian Africa. It is regrettable that such a performance be forbidden. It offers a place for migrants from Sub-Saharian regions to express themselves, and to make the public aware of the problems they face. It also helps prevent stereotypes and prejudices linked to racism.
The public space should be accessible to cultural actors, artists and organisations representing civil society and should be free of constraints. It is here that art gets closer to citizens, allowing for debates to take place openly on highly relevant issues for society.
Public authorities’ role is to facilitate access and insure security of artists and citizens, respecting the freedom of artistic expression guaranteed by the Moroccan Constitution.
B7al b7al is part of Mix City, a project of Association Racines, in partnership with Theatre of the Oppressed in Casablanca and Minority Globe, also in collaboration with the association Visa Without Frontiers,Tangiers. Mix City is part of “Diversity, Drama and Development” co-funded by the European Commission in the framework of Medculture, also supported by the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development, the Swedish Foundation and the Heinrich Böll Foundation. It was set up by Minority Rights Group International, Civic Forum Institute and Andalus Institute.