Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Poseidon

Posted by codemorse

From CNN:

A leading opera house called off a production of Mozart's "Idomeneo" that features the severed head of the Prophet Mohammed, setting off a furious debate Tuesday over Islam, freedom of speech and the role of art.

....Kirsten Harms, director of Berlin's Deutsche Oper, announced "with great regret" that she had decided to cancel the three year old production after state security officials warned it could provoke dangerous reactions in the current politically charged climate.

After its premiere in 2003, the production by Hans Neuenfels drew widespread criticism over a scene in which King Idomeneo presents the severed heads not only of the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon, but also of Mohammed, Jesus and Buddha.

....The leader of Germany's Islamic Council welcomed the move, saying a depiction of Mohammed with a severed head "could certainly offend Muslims."

But in an interview with German radio, Ali Kizilkaya added: "I think it is horrible that one has to be afraid ... That is not the right way to open dialogue."

Right on, Ali. Let's check in with that handy definition of 'terrorism' again, shall we?

1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.

2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.

In a war against something as amorphous and as sinister as an idea, we've handed our enemies victory when we succumb to fear. I'm Christian, and the notion of the "severed head of Jesus" doesn't offend me at all. Do you know why? Because I'm a rational Christian.

I understand that art's primary function is to comment on life. And religion is a part of life. In life, and in a free society, we will be exposed to art we disagree with; art that makes us profoundly uncomfortable. But in that situation, we have choices. We can confront our feelings and the art in question by reflecting on it rationally and emotionally. We can walk out of the Opera house when we're offended and "vote" our opinion with our feet and our wallets. We can do violence to the people who make art.

Or we can become so afraid of violence that we stop making art that means anything. We can convince ourselves that the threat to security is far moree important than some stupid Opera.

And when we've done that - when we've removed everything 'offensive' from display and replaced it with banal and safe pageantry - then the terrorists will have won.

And we'll have fought their battle for them.


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