So, nearly a month ago I talked about how Shurooq Amin’s constitutional rights to artistic expression were violated at her ‘It’s A Man’s World’ exhibition. Well, it seems that the Kuwaiti government has gone even further in their oppressive battle against freedom of expression and has decided that they don’t want to just suppress Shurooq Amin in Kuwait but beyond it’s borders as well.
That’s right: Censorship in Kuwait is going international! According to her own Twitter page and a statement she sent to the Red Room, Shurooq Amin has been kept from appearing on the MBC women’s talk show ‘Kalam Nawa’em’ (كلام نواعم), or Lady Talk, by Kuwait’s Ministry of Information. So, basically, the Kuwaiti government was so afraid of what Shurooq Amin could have to say that they decided to just jump over Kuwait’s border and suppress her voice even in areas in which it is out of their legal jurisdiction to do so.
Gotta love that wasta! It turns decade-long cable networks into cowering puppets and destroys all semblance of journalistic integrity.
As infuriated as I am by these kinds of actions, unfortunately, I can’t say I’m surprised. Almost every Arab media and news source has been known to operate on a power-serving basis as opposed to a people-serving one. It’s sad and useless and untrustworthy. I won’t go into a diatribe about my lack of respect for the Arab media and news machine because it could be, well, pretty endless.
Anyway, here’s the statement that Shurooq Amin provided for the Red Room:
“Dear art supporters: I was invited to MBC Beirut to appear on the program Kalam Nawaen to speak about my journey, about the closure of my show, about censorship & about freedom of expression. Yesterday MBC Kuwait came to my studio and filmed for 3 hours. After I land in Beirut, I’m shocked to be told that MBC was ordered to cancel my appearance & ban me from speaking about this on TV! They received a call from the Ministry of Information in Kuwait ordering them to ban me from speaking! Since when is MBC controlled by Kuwait? Since when is MBC against freedom of expression? Who is afraid of my art and why? It’s not political; it’s not religious: it’s just art! What’s going on here?”
Here’s what I think: This kind of action on the part of the Kuwaiti government to try and suspend Shurooq Amin’s access to her rights even outside of Kuwait is not going to go by unnoticed. In fact, it’s probably going to have the opposite effect of what these people were hoping for. It’s only going to make Shurooq Amin hungrier for more justice (to which she is fully entitled) and make her supporters even more rabidly insistent in their fight for freedom of expression and their support of Shurooq Amin’s cause.
So, basically, by continuing to shove their opinion-based legalities down people’s throats, what they actually seem to be doing is backing themselves into a very tight corner. It doesn’t reflect well on Kuwait’s national or international image nor will it lead to the oppressive results that they’re hoping for. It’s a lose-lose for them and, in the long run, a win-win for freedom and art.
My suggestion is we try to get Shurooq Amin featured or perhaps discussed on a larger, international platform. Something like perhaps Anderson Cooper or Piers Morgan. I know they’ve had Arabs and even people from the Gulf specifically on their shows so its not an entirely long shot. If Shurooq Amin and her supporters stay strong and passionate about righting this incredible wrong, sooner or later, Kuwait will change for the better and everyone who supports the fundamental right to artistic expression will come out of this whole ordeal smelling like freaking roses.
All my love!