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A government announcement clarified that culture was a « non-essential product » (therefore theaters, cinema and concert halls would be closed), while alcohol and tobacco were declared « basic necessities » (therefore that their debits would remain open). This statement created a state of astonishment not only among hundreds of thousands of artists but also among millions of loyal spectators.
Who are we, in the eyes of the state? we, artists, creators, dreamers, generators of emotions, inspirers of unforgettable encounters, sowers of hope through the flamboyance of a text shared in the shadow of a performance hall, the strength of a symphony with the magic of an entire orchestra, the power of poetry declaimed in full light?
The darkest periods of our history have highlighted that Culture had saved men and women, from madness and even from death (testimonies of Charlotte Delbo, Geneviève De Gaulle-Anthonioz, Germaine Tillion, Olivier Messiaen … and how many more!)
What state in the world can do without places of Culture without running the risk of falling into an intellectual « desert » leaving the door open to nothingness, or worse, to a refuge towards illusory, factitious, prefabricated values to be swallowed without discernment and leaving « Consumers » without the possibility of escaping it? The movie « Timbuktu » by A. Sissako highlighted this terrible risk of cultural annihilation … History has shown us, for decades, that a power which wants to enslave its people begins by gagging its creators, imprisoning its artists, making fireworks of poems which exalt the beauty of the world and the desire to be free …
Of course (and fortunately!) We still have the books … (let’s hope that we never live the scenario of Ray Bradbury’s book « Fahrenheit 451 » where the books ended up being burned), however, a book read alone at home will never replace a shared live performance! They are not interchangeable. Each piece of the cultural spectrum has its raison for being. We artists want to remain present and standing in history. We refuse to be sidelined, ignored on the pretext that we could, inconsistently, participate in the fatal outcome of a « Checkmate »!
Putting Culture at the center of a society is the first sign of respect for a people, a country and above all a respect for Life… .. A country which respects and protects its artists is never wrong of the Future.
So, sorry to contradict out loud what has been announced as a « Truth », but CULTURE is ESSENTIAL to the future of the world!.. and every human being must feel able to be the maker of its own life.
actress-Stage Director- Dramatic author
Translated by Obel’Isa
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