July 10, 2010

Moscow museum curators face prison

This is another case of WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

The display was titled “Forbidden Art,” and because of it two prominent Moscow art curators who put on the show are now facing the prosecution on charges of inciting religious hatred. In a case reeking with Soviet-era cultural censorship, Yury Samodurov and Andrei Yerofeyev, after a 14-month trial, are now facing prison.

Artists and civil rights activists have appealed to the Kremlin to put a stop to the prosecution, but the prosecutors refuse to back down and have demanded the three-year prison sentence when the judge makes her ruling on Monday.

So just what is it that leaves the Russian Orthodox Church and certain elements of the Russian government with wadded panties? An exhibit of paintings deemed uncomplimentary to Christianity, one depicting Jesus as Mickey Mouse and another as Lenin.

The 2007 exhibit was part of an effort to fight censorship of the arts at the Andre Sakharov Foundation Museum, a human rights center named for the dissident physicist who languished for years in Soviet prisons.

The church took offense, charges were filed, but even Russia's culture minister, who says the two men did nothing breaking the law against inciting religious hatred, has been unable to stem the tide.

A previous exhibit called "Caution: Religion!" raised so much furor that it caused curator Anna Alchuk to flee, moving to Berlin. Her body was found floating in the Spree River in 2008. The death was ruled a suicide. The Forbidden Art exhibit was closed a few days after it opened when a group of altar boys vandalized several of the displayed works.

Just as in Christian and/or Islamic societies everywhere, religious extremists are calling the shots and the Russian government is kowtowing. Do you remember the death threats and assassination attempts against Kurt Westergaard, the Danish cartoonist who drew and published a caricature of Mohammed?  Do you remember how Christians around the world, and especially FAUX News here in the USA, reacted to the Muslims behavior?

Do you want to bet we don’t hear anything from those folks over this case?