In Lebanon we destroy a theatre… to build an incinerator!
Citerne Beirut was supposed to move its premises into a new location end April 2020, however for reasons that are beyond our control we did not succeed to have the necessary permits to keep it until that date. Which means that another space for free thought and expression, that connected Beirut with the international arts scene and presented its openness and progressive ideas, is to be closed in the city.
We extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the artists, supporters, local and international partners, and the great audience that accompanied us all those years, especially the followers of Bipod. We apologize, in advance, for this situation that is depriving the capital and Lebanon a vital cultural element. Especially in this period where culture is mostly needed, in a time dominated by racist and inclusive discourse and a decline in artistic and social values.Marginalization
We hope that you would understand our situation and pain in writing these lines. As we are convinced that after seventeen years of hard work and full commitment to establishing an exceptional contemporary dance scene in Lebanon and the Arab World, we cannot continue without the minimum means of support. It saddens us to be performing at international theatres and festivals all over the world and communicating a cultured and artistic image of our country, to come back and face continuous hindering and marginalization, for us and others, as if we are begging for an individual gain.
We would like you to take these lines as a call against arbitrary decisions and policies at a time when, what Lebanon needs most is its cultural and artistic dynamics. These lines are an invitation to change the status quo. Let the upcoming period be a period of #Cultural_Disobedience until we bring back our cultural life that has been confiscated. It seems that the series of censorship and abolition continues as well as the series of oppression and humiliation. Is this the Lebanon that we want? Is it the example of openness and culture that we look forward to?
As Citizens in this country, in the light of the current deteriorating reality, we are confused how to deal with this political system. Will it be ok for our future in this country to be surrounded by garbage, but not ok to sustain a cultural centre? Do we accept to live under constitutional void and fail to fill our lives with culture and values? Is the Municipality of Beirut with or against culture? Is the Ministry of Culture in Lebanon with or against culture? What do you want more? We do not find an approach that reflects this reality, whether it is ignorance or premeditation, other than our conviction that you destroy a theatre to build an incinerator. Is This your policy, are these your thoughts, and are they your convictions?
In conclusion, Maqamat and its Artistic Directors, Omar Rajeh and Mia Habis, decided to continue with even a greater momentum and strength to overcome this dangerous situation. We will continue with all our strength and all our cultural and artistic activities, including BIPOD-Beirut International Contemporary Dance Festival, all training classes, workshops and the dance school, as well as the artistic residencies for local and international artists, and all co-productions for emerging artists. From this moment on we begin working on relocating “Citerne Beirut” to another place and looking for the necessary support and assistance to complete this project. All help, advice and support are welcome.www.citernebeirut.com