Artists Denied Entry into Tunisia for Hip Hop Festival
This weekend marks the second large scale hip hop festival in Tunis, Tunisia, L’Angar Festival. Yesterday, the organizers sent our word that two of their arts were denied into the country. Here is their release:
For the holding of L’Angar Festival 14 & 15 December 2013, the organization team composed of several associations working for culture in Tunisia, were denied visas entry to Tunisia for two scheduled artists. These two artists are, respectively:
– Mazen El Sayyed, known as El Rass and from Lebanon
– Hani Al Sawah, known as Sayyed Darwish, Syrian living Lebanon.
We, Chaabi Association on behalf of its executive committee and all its members, the organizers of L’Angar Festival and their friends, the Danish Center for Culture, Turning Tables and Turning Tables Tunisia associations, are deploring this act of refusal of the Tunisian authorities and suffering from it as an attempt to set all our efforts in building bridges of cultural exchanges between the countries of the Maghreb and the Mashreq, the essence of this HipHop festival. This refusal leads beyond the cancellation of these two artists to the following questioning: If Tunisia begins to deny access to its territory for musicians and cultural leaders after the revolution, we risk the return to the status quo of silencing we use to suffer from during a dictatorship that we believed over.
Beyond the financial loss, we also suffer moral damages because we find ourselves unable to satisfy the desires of our audience who rejoiced a few weeks ago to attend the concerts of our dear friends. It is also surprising for us to deal with this rejection, especially in the case of Mazen El Sayyed who had already come in Tunisia more than once this year to perform in various cultural scenes in the country.
The denied of this authorization from the Tunisian authorities for the coming of these artists not only undermine the efforts of our partners in the DanishCenter for culture and the will of building an artistic support between North and South, but also undermine the position of Tunisia as open land in the South -South cultural dialogue. These authorities put us in the awkward position that makes us reproduce the same pattern against which we fight and is represented by the arbitrary laws of the entrance to the territory of the European Union.
It goes without saying that we tried in the last few days, all possible solutions in order to provide the necessary documentation and change the decision we call arbitrary, but all our efforts are seen crowned by a failure.
We wish all the same to reassure our audience we are maintaining the hole event on the 14 and 15 December at 17 PM at the Colisée de Tunis. The smooth running of the event, will be for us, as well as for our audience, the best guarantee of support and the best tribute we could make to our guests unfortunately absent.
Long live the Music, Art and Culture in our regions. Long live the artists and creators.
The organizing committee of the L’Angar Festival