Sunday, February 3, 2008

Opera and Free Speech

In Sept. 2006, a decision was made to close the Deutsche Oper's production of Mozart's Idomeneo because one small scene depicting the severed heads of Mohammed (and Jesus) caused security concerns (fear of violence from the practitioners of one of the "offended" religions.)

Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit spoke against the closing, articulating perfectly the reasons why: "Our ideas about openness, tolerance and freedom must be lived on the offensive. Voluntary self-limitation gives those who fight against our values a confirmation in advance that we will not stand behind them."

Why don't other politicians get it, that this is the way to respond to these kinds of threats? Appeasement and apologies don't work.

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