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"Outrageous": Stonehenge defaced by protesters

<p>In a highly divisive demonstration ahead of the Summer Solstice festival in the UK, climate activists from the Just Stop Oil group have sprayed Stonehenge with orange powder paint, leading to the arrest of two individuals.</p> <p>The protest, aimed at pushing for a legal commitment from the UK government to phase out fossil fuels by 2030, has sparked widespread condemnation.</p> <p>The ancient site of Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site managed by English Heritage, was targeted early on Tuesday. Videos shared on social media show activists in “Just Stop Oil” T-shirts spraying a cluster of the prehistoric stones with orange cornflour from small canisters. The activists, Niamh Lynch, a 21-year-old student, and Rajan Naidu, 73, were quickly wrestled and apprehended by bystanders before being detained by police.</p> <p><a href="https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">English Heritage</a> has launched an investigation to assess the extent of the damage to the stones, some of which are believed to be around 5,000 years old. A spokeswoman for the organisation described the protest as “extremely upsetting” but reassured that the site remains open to the public.</p> <p>“We are working closely with English Heritage to understand the damage caused by this act,” said a spokesperson for Wiltshire Police. “Our inquiries are ongoing.”</p> <p>The protest has drawn sharp rebukes from leaders of the UK’s major political parties, coming at a crucial time during the campaign for the upcoming general election on July 4. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the act as “a disgraceful act of vandalism”, and called for the group to be held accountable.</p> <p>Labour leader Keir Starmer, who is favoured to become the next prime minister, also criticised the protesters, calling the act “outrageous” and demanding that “those responsible must face the full force of the law.” </p> <p>Just Stop Oil, founded in 2022, has been vocal in its opposition to new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea. The group’s actions, which often disrupt daily life and major events, have led to numerous arrests and jailings of its members.</p> <p>A spokesperson for Just Stop Oil defended the Stonehenge protest, stating that while the Labour Party has pledged not to issue new oil and gas drilling licenses, this is insufficient. “We need a legally binding treaty to phase out fossil fuels by 2030,” the spokesperson said. “If the government fails to act, we will continue our resistance this summer.”</p> <p><em>Images: Twitter (X)</em></p>

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"It's up to men": Anthony Albanese joins violence against women rally

<p>Anthony Albanese has joined a rally in Canberra to protest the recent spate of acts of violence against women, admitting his government hasn't "done enough" to ensure Aussie women are protected. </p> <p>Addressing the 5,000-strong crowd at Parliament House, Mr Albanese delivered a fiery speech, demanding nationwide change to all levels of Australian society and asking protesters to hold him “accountable” for his government’s actions. </p> <p>Mr Albanese said Australia needed to change its “culture”, “attitudes” and “legal system” to end the scourge of violence against women that has already allegedly claimed the lives of 26 women this year.</p> <p>“We’re here today to demand that governments of all levels, must do better, including my own, and every state and territory government,” he said. </p> <p>“We’re here as well to say that society, and Australia, must do better. We need to change the culture, we need to change attitudes, we need to change the legal system."</p> <p>Mr Albanese spoke about some of the actions his government had taken to address the problem, including the introduction of domestic violence payments.</p> <p>A protester interrupted, saying “it’s not enough”.</p> <p>The prime minister replied, “I agree it’s not enough. I said that. We need to do more.”</p> <p>Mr Albanese finished his speech by calling the problem a “national crisis” and said one or two months of funding would not be enough to solve it.</p> <p>“It’s up to men to change men’s behaviour as well,” he said. “Yes, people do need to be made accountable and I’ll be accountable for what my government does.”</p> <p>Thousands took to the grounds of Parliament House on Sunday to listen to Albanese's address, where one of the event organisers Sarah Williams from the company WWYW (What Were You Wearing?), claims the Prime Minister lied to the crowd at the start of his stirring speech.</p> <p>In his speech in the afternoon, Mr Albanese suggested he had asked the rally organisers for permission to speak but had been knocked back. </p> <p>“We did ask to speak, myself and (Finance minister) Katy (Gallagher) and we were told that’s not possible,” he said to the 5000 strong crowd.</p> <p>“And that’s fine, we respect the organisers’ right to do that.”</p> <p>However, Ms Williams took to social media after the event to say the Prime Minister had "lied to the country". </p> <p>“The Prime Minister of Australia lied to his country today,” she began. </p> <p>“Representatives from (Finance Minister Katy) Gallagher and Albanese’s offices both said this morning that they were sure Katy would be happy to speak. Not the Prime Minister.”</p> <p>“He never asked to speak. For him to not only demand he speak because he was being heckled, but lie was disgraceful."</p> <p>“He demonstrated today what entitlement looks like. A man with power trying to diminish a vulnerable young woman.”</p> <p>In an awkward and tense exchange, Ms Williams then demanded the politicians show their commitment to the organisation’s demands, and declare that the recent spate of murders of women by men was a national emergency. </p> <p>However, the Labor ministers appeared non-responsive and confused, initially refusing to front the rally, a move which brought boos and heckling from the audience. </p> <p>“Why are you even here?” one protester yelled from the crowd.</p> <p>“Shame on you,” shouted another.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Instagram</em></p>

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"We want answers": Furious cruise passengers stage protest after itinerary change

<p>Passengers onboard a Norwegian Cruise Line voyage has expressed their outrage after their once in a lifetime trip to Antarctica changed course after the journey had already begun. </p> <p>Melbourne woman Helen Midler was one of hundreds of people onboard the cruise from Buenos Aires to mainland Antarctica, when staff informed all travellers that their itinerary had changed. </p> <p>Days into their journey, those onboard were told they would not be visiting Antarctica at all, but would be doing a "South America round trip" instead.</p> <p>Midler took to social media to share her frustrations, saying the communication between the cruise line and the passengers was very poor. </p> <p>She explained that she only found out about the change after checking the app a few days into the journey and noticed the name of the cruise had been changed.</p> <p>Passengers were later told the change of destination was for "operational reasons" after raising their concerns, however no further explanation was given.</p> <p>Those onboard were allegedly told the decision was made by the head office in the US to not visit Paradise Bay, on mainland Antarctica, before departure on January 31, and that all passengers were notified by email, and again at check-in.</p> <p>However, Midler claims this was not the case.</p> <p>"I can assure you that we never got any email and many of our friends here on board, and I'm talking hundreds of people we know, did not receive any email either," she said in a video posted online.</p> <p>"Until the cruise had commenced, most people on this ship were not aware of the change in the itinerary."</p> <p>Midler said "everyone was angry", with hundreds of passengers meeting at in the ship's foyer one morning in protest to demand further answers from the crew. </p> <p>"Customer service are refusing to acknowledge us, they sent a security officer out to calm us down," she said while standing in the noisy crowd. "We feel we're being cheated, being scammed".</p> <p>Midler said frustrated travellers, some of whom "spent their live savings" on the cruise that costs upwards of $4,000 per person, just "want answers, transparency and clarity" but claims they're being treated with "absolute disdain and disrespect" with little explanation given.</p> <p>"Everyone on this ship has paid a lot of money to cruise to Antarctica, not to do a round trip of South America at sea," she fumed. "We are being dismissed, ignored, refused answers. They're telling us we just have to accept it.</p> <p>"They think we're idiots. We're not idiots and we're not prepared to just accept this sitting down," she continued. "We may not get to Antarctica. The chances of this cruise now going to Antarctica are minimal. But we want answers."</p> <p>In the days after her initial post, Midler updated her online followers and said those onboard were trying to make the best of a bad situation, despite still not hearing any clear answers about the change of itinerary. </p> <p>"We saved and we booked this two years ago for the trip of a lifetime," she said. "We're feeling very disappointed and dejected about the outcomes here."</p> <p>"We'll never be able to afford to do this again. And we've lost that trip to the Antarctica mainland that we had all been hoping and waiting for, and that we'd paid for. But we're going to try and do our best to enjoy it."</p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

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Climate activists throw soup at Mona Lisa

<p>Two climate change activists have hurled soup at the bullet-proof glass protecting Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic painting, the Mona Lisa, at the Louvre Museum in Paris. </p> <p>On Sunday morning, local time, a video posted on social media showed two women throwing red and orange soup onto the glass protecting the painting to the shock of bystanders. </p> <p>The incident came amid days of protests by French farmers across the country demanding better pay, taxes, and regulations.</p> <p>The two women, with the words "FOOD RIPOSTE" or "Food Counterattack" written on their T-shirts,  managed to pass under the security barrier and stood in front of the painting, while shouting slogans for a sustainable food system.</p> <p>“What is more important? Art or the right to healthy and sustainable food?” they asked. </p> <p>“Your agricultural system is sick. Our farmers are dying at work,” they added, before the security put black panels in front of the painting, and asked visitors to evacuate the space. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="fr">ALERTE - Des militantes pour le climat jettent de la soupe sur le tableau de La Joconde au musée du Louvre. <a href="https://twitter.com/CLPRESSFR?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CLPRESSFR</a> <a href="https://t.co/Aa7gavRRc4">pic.twitter.com/Aa7gavRRc4</a></p> <p>— CLPRESS / Agence de presse (@CLPRESSFR) <a href="https://twitter.com/CLPRESSFR/status/1751538762687893894?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 28, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>On its website, the "Food Riposte" group said that the French government is breaking its climate commitments, and they demanded a state-sponsored health care system to be put in to give people better access to healthy food, while providing farmers with a decent income. </p> <p>The protests comes after the French government announced a series of measures for agricultural workers on Friday, which they believe do not fully address their demands. </p> <p><em>Image: Twitter</em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> </span></p>

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"Shut the f**k up": Alec Baldwin confronted by protesters

<p>Alec Baldwin has been caught in the middle of a fiery protest in New York City, which ended in him yelling profanities to aggressive protesters. </p> <p>The Hollywood actor was on his way to teach an acting class when he was surrounded by pro-Palestine protesters. </p> <p>The protesters bombarded him with questions, demanding that he make known his stance on the war in Israel, and who he supports in the conflict. </p> <p>Baldwin was being escorted by police, but found it difficult to ignore the calls of the protesters. </p> <p>“I support peace for Gaza,” he told them.</p> <p>Baldwin’s response only made the protesters more angry. They started to bellow profanities at him, and attempted to inch closer.</p> <p>“Shut your f**king mouth, you have no f**king shame,” one person shouted at the actor, with another adding, “Go f**k yourself,” to which Baldwin said, "That's a stupid question..."</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">"That's a stupid question..."</p> <p>Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin refuses to condemn Israel and squares up to pro-Palestinian protestors in New York. <a href="https://t.co/82Y3viJbdV">pic.twitter.com/82Y3viJbdV</a></p> <p>— Lowkey (@Lowkey0nline) <a href="https://twitter.com/Lowkey0nline/status/1736897259088843047?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 18, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>A source told <span id="U8321101731880dF">HuffPost that Baldwin had no intention of getting involved in the protest, and did what he could to avoid any conflict. </span></p> <p>“He had no intention of going to the protest and was not involved in any way,” the insider explained.</p> <p>“He was approached aggressively and repeatedly. The police stepped in to avoid further confrontation so he could make his way to the class safely.”</p> <p>In another video from the clash, protesters continued to ask his stance on the war, to which the actor responded, “Because I’m in Hollywood?” </p> <p>“You ask stupid questions. Ask me a smart question.”</p> <p>As he continued to be escorted out the crowd, the actor yelled, “Shut the f**k up.”</p> <p>In response, another member of the public yelled back: “You did kill someone though, right? You’re a murderer!” in reference to the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.</p> <p><em>Image credits: X</em></p>

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Greta Thunberg slapped with first conviction over climate protest

<p dir="ltr">Greta Thunberg has been fined by a court in Sweden after she refused to obey the orders of Swedish police officers at a climate change protest. </p> <p dir="ltr">The 20-year-old activist pleaded not guilty to the charges, saying she disobeyed the direct police order to leave a climate protest as an act of necessity. </p> <p dir="ltr">“My actions are justifiable,” Thunberg told the court in Malmö, according to local media outlets.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I believe that we are in an emergency that threatens life, health and property. Countless people and communities are at risk both in the short term and in the long term.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Thunberg was part of a group of protesters that blocked the road for oil trucks trying to gain access to Malmö harbour. </p> <p dir="ltr">She was charged for failing to leave when ordered to do so by police.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thunberg has been slapped with a fine for breaching the order, although it is not clear how much she will have to pay, as the fine will be based on her reported income. </p> <p dir="ltr">Thunberg became the face of the youth climate protest movement in 2018, when she began skipping school each Friday at the age of 15 to stage solo climate protests outside the Swedish parliament in Stockholm, holding up a sign reading, “Skolstrejk för klimatet” (school strike for climate).</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite regular school strikes and protests losing some momentum with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Thunberg has continued to travel the world joining climate protests and speaking at international summits, urging world leaders to act on the climate crisis.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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Climate change protester crashes high-profile wedding

<p>Climate change protesters have crashed the wedding of former UK politician George Osbourne and his former aide Thea Rodgers.</p> <p>The ceremony, which took place in Somerset, England, had more than 200 guests and was attended by several high-profilers – including former prime ministers, other UK politicians and various journalists.</p> <p>A few of the guests in attendance included former Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, longstanding minister Michael Gove, and former <em>Sky News </em>political editor Adam Boulton among others.</p> <p>The protester, who claimed to be part of the environmental group Just Stop Oil, waited until the couple walked out of St Mary’s Church after the ceremony to throw handfuls of orange confetti over them.</p> <p>The woman had a big smile on her face as she continued emptying the confetti from a Union Jack bag, before being dragged away by security.</p> <p>Just Stop Oil tweeted footage of the incident with the caption: “You look good in orange @George_Osborne – congratulations to the newlyweds.”</p> <p>Despite applauding the protester’s action, the environmental group has denied their connection to the incident.</p> <p>"If it was a form of protest (which is yet to be established) we applaud it and thank the person concerned,” they tweeted.</p> <p>"It was peaceful and not especially disruptive but got massive media attention for Just Stop Oil's demand."</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Confettigate: A Statement From Just Stop Oil</p> <p>The lady who threw confetti in Bruton yesterday was upholding a tradition that is common across many cultures. We absolutely defend the right for people to throw confetti (of whatever colour) at weddings and other celebrations.</p> <p>If it… <a href="https://t.co/e0uRJkV2S6">pic.twitter.com/e0uRJkV2S6</a></p> <p>— Just Stop Oil (@JustStop_Oil) <a href="https://twitter.com/JustStop_Oil/status/1678014729216770048?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 9, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>Another protester was reportedly spotted outside of the gates of the church.</p> <p>The group also added that people should focus on more important issues like the UK government’s decision to licence over 100 new oil and gas projects and the wildfires in Canada.</p> <p>This is Osbourne’s second wedding; he was previously married to Frances Osborne, but the pair divorced in 2019 after 21 years of marriage.</p> <p><em>Images: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images</em></p>

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Not just a youth movement: history too often forgets older protesters

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/effie-karageorgos-453765">Effie Karageorgos</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-newcastle-1060">University of Newcastle</a></em></p> <p>Recent sustained anti-coal action by Blockade Australia in the Hunter Valley has brought public protest back into the news cycle. Activists have <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-06-21/coal-protests-block-rail-lines-to-newcastle-port/102504056">occupied trains, railway lines and machinery</a> in an attempt to obstruct coal production and broadcast their message about the climate crisis.</p> <p>Under recent <a href="https://www.humanrights.unsw.edu.au/research/commentary/explainer-what-are-your-rights-to-protest-australia#:%7E:text=In%202022%2C%20Tasmania%20passed%20anti,%E2%80%9C%E2%80%A6">anti-protest legislation</a> in New South Wales, which has been matched by similar laws in other states, some protesters have been charged by police for their activism.</p> <p>Internationally, protesters faced with arrest have devised new ways to protest. Recently, Iranian activists have started engaging in “<a href="https://www.hks.harvard.edu/faculty-research/policy-topics/international-relations-security/civil-upheaval-iran-why-widespread">micro-protests</a>”, which are small-scale protests over a shorter period of time, to evade arrest.</p> <p>My historical research into the infrastructure of protest, using the anti-Vietnam War campaign in New South Wales as a case study, has found that many Australians who did not or could not actively or publicly protest similarly found “quieter” ways to express their opposition to the conflict.</p> <h2>The youth are revolting</h2> <p>In the popular Australian imagination, it seems the protester is a young person creating a public spectacle – holding up a sign, occupying a building or marching down a city street, even though older activists regularly play a part in protest movements.</p> <p>Many might think of figures like <a href="https://theconversation.com/lidia-thorpes-mardi-gras-disruption-is-the-latest-in-an-ongoing-debate-about-acceptable-forms-of-protest-at-pride-200713">Lidia Thorpe</a> disrupting the 2023 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade or ongoing protests by <a href="https://www.schoolstrike4climate.com/">School Strike 4 Climate</a>, which have shown how willing young people are to agitate for their collective futures.</p> <p>But, in fact, one of the two anti-coal activists charged on last month for occupying a train in Singleton, New South Wales, is <a href="https://www.police.nsw.gov.au/news/news?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHBzJTNBJTJGJTJGZWJpenByZC5wb2xpY2UubnN3Lmdvdi5hdSUyRm1lZGlhJTJGMTA3MTc3Lmh0bWwmYWxsPTE%3D">64 years old</a>.</p> <p>My research shows our public memory of protest doesn’t come close to capturing everyone who used their energies to protest Australian involvement in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s, so we need to shift our idea of both protest and the protester to understand the potential scope of activism.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Thm03IUiJ6U?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <h2>Quiet protest</h2> <p>Vietnam War-era protest organisations, such as the Association for International Cooperation and Disarmament, Save Our Sons, Youth Campaign Against Conscription and the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign, were aware of how important “quiet protest” was to the wider movement.</p> <p>They <a href="https://collection.sl.nsw.gov.au/record/1JkmeexY">continually appealed to supporters</a> for help selling buttons, putting up posters, selling raffle tickets, filling envelopes, leafleting and other clerical work. These were all carried out by people who were opposed to the war, and are all considered acts of protest.</p> <p>Social movement theorists agree that time and availability are crucial in drawing people to protest. As far back as 1974, the sociologist <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/002188637401000206">Anthony Orum</a> wrote: "Without people who have time on their hands, great revolutions would probably never get off the ground."</p> <h2>Time and capacity</h2> <p>But what of those who did not have the time or capacity to march on streets, but who still saw themselves as part of the anti-Vietnam War movement?</p> <p>The <a href="https://collection.sl.nsw.gov.au/record/1l4dPbX1">administrative records</a> of protest organisations held in the <a href="https://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/">State Library of New South Wales</a> let us into the lives of such people.</p> <p>These include Ian Robertson, a full-time Macquarie University student, whose parents had banned political activity because they feared it would disrupt his studies. Another silent protester was a Mrs Thomson, who was too busy organising her daughter Sue’s wedding to participate in anti-Vietnam protest activities. Public servants were also not permitted to publicly support the movement.</p> <p>Most such records come from elderly members of the movement. In November 1969, Mabel Wilson, who in her words was “six years an octogenarian,” sent $5 to the <a href="https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C96428">Committee in Defiance of the National Service Act</a>, writing: "I admire your courage and am completely in sympathy with your ideals. Alas! I am very old […] As you can see I can be of practically no use to you – or anyone […] My heart is with you all the way."</p> <p>Similarly, on March 21 1970, Doris J Wilson of Asquith sent a donation to the Northern Districts Vietnam Moratorium Group with a letter saying: "I am past the age where I can do very much more than be just a voice."</p> <p>On September 14 1970, L.T. Withers sent the same group a letter saying: "Congratulations for what you have accomplished. I feel rather guilty at being so useless […] myself and my wife are not as energetic as we used to be as the years are catching up on us a bit. I have enclosed a small donation to your local funds […] I would also be grateful if you could keep me informed of your activities."</p> <p>Ruth Fryer of Hornsby sent a letter on February 9 1971 with a $3 donation: "Sometimes you wish you were young &amp; strong again! But the hard work seems to be left to the young ones."</p> <p>These Australians, among many others, were interested in the anti-Vietnam campaign and wanted to be involved as much as they could, given their limitations.</p> <h2>The infrastructure of historical protest</h2> <p>Studying the infrastructure of historical protest organisations shows us that we need to expand our idea of what a protest movement is and who it includes if we want to achieve the present-day goals of activist campaigning.</p> <p>These findings are exciting because they capture a larger group of Australians in the protest tradition, and move past a limited, and often ableist and ageist, vision of protest to incorporate many others who feel just as strongly about the issues governing their lives.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/208472/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/effie-karageorgos-453765">Effie Karageorgos</a>, Lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-newcastle-1060">University of Newcastle</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/not-just-a-youth-movement-history-too-often-forgets-older-protesters-208472">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Protest is dangerous, but feminists have a long history of using humour, pranks and stunts to promote their message

<p>Protest was dangerous in feminism’s formative years.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/electionsvoting/womenvote/overview/startsuffragette-/">suffragettes</a> in the United Kingdom initially began by trying to persuade and educate to win women the right to vote. </p> <p>When that didn’t work they became frustrated – and, by 1903, radical.</p> <p>By the 1910s, they adopted militant tactics, with women on hunger strikes being force-fed in prison. </p> <p>It climaxed in 1913 when Emily Wilding Davidson, holding the suffragette flag, stepped in front of the horse of King George V at the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qkU_imbFoE">Epsom Derby</a>. </p> <p>Her funeral, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EIFDSb7tWc">reportedly</a> watched by 50,000 people, gave a global profile to the women’s right-to-vote campaign.</p> <p>But while protest was very dangerous for first-wave feminists, subsequent Western activists often adopted pranks.</p> <p>There is an adage that feminists and women aren’t funny. However, the history of activism reveals humour as a successful strategy for change.</p> <p>Here are four great contemporary feminist pranks that demonstrate the power of humour for advocacy.</p> <h2>1. A chain reaction</h2> <p>On March 31 1965, feminist activists Rosalie Bogner and Merle Thornton walked into Brisbane’s Regatta hotel, <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-08/curious-brisbane-when-was-the-ban-on-women-drinking-in-public/9518222">chaining themselves</a> to the foot rail of the front bar.</p> <p>They were protesting the exclusion of women from Queensland public bars. </p> <p>The police were called, smashed the padlock, and told them to leave. They refused.</p> <p>After some bemused and sympathetic men gave them glasses of beer, the officer gave up, telling the women to have “a good time” and “don’t drink too much”. </p> <p>They inspired women nationally to do the same. Laws had changed across Australia by the early 1970s. </p> <p><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-08/curious-brisbane-when-was-the-ban-on-women-drinking-in-public/9518222">According to</a> historian Kay Saunders, it was the “beginning of second-wave feminism” in Australia.</p> <h2>2. Guerrilla Girls</h2> <p>In 1985, the New York activist group Guerrilla Girls began their quest to counter the art world’s sexism, racism and inequality. They used gorilla masks to remain anonymous and emphasise that the message was paramount, not the activist. </p> <p>Guerrilla Girls famously erected posters and placed stickers protesting the lack of women in art galleries, asking “Do women have to be naked to get into the Met Museum?”</p> <p><iframe title="YouTube video player" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8uKg7hb2yoo" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Humour and statistics enhanced awareness, got people involved, and illuminated issues such as how few women of colour have their work exhibited. </p> <p>Since the Guerrilla Girls began four decades ago, their messages have continued to spread and hold institutions accountable. They have expanded their mission to important causes such as poverty and war, while continuing to change the art world’s attitudes and to merging art and politics. </p> <p>But the gender imbalance in art galleries is still a global issue. This is currently being countered with initiatives such as the National Gallery of Australia’s <a href="https://nga.gov.au/knowmyname/">Know My Name</a> campaign and efforts to write women <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-21/australian-women-artists-national-gallery-of-australia/12890818">back into art history</a>.</p> <h2>3. Switcheroo</h2> <p>In 1993 the Barbie Liberation Organization <a href="https://beautifultrouble.org/">undertook</a> a Christmas prank, swapping the voice boxes of 50 Barbie and G.I. Joe dolls. </p> <p>G.I. Joe now said “I love to shop with you” or “Let’s plan our dream wedding”. Barbie hollered “Dead men tell no lies” or “Attack!”.</p> <p><iframe title="YouTube video player" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/cxiDlJ7nfLo" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>With an aim to teach children about stereotypes, the <a href="https://beautifultrouble.org/toolbox/tool/barbie-liberation-organization/">spectacle</a>made a huge media splash for the cause.</p> <p>The tactic is known as “shop-dropping”. The activist bought, altered and then dropped the dolls back on the shelves. </p> <p>The organisation arranged for children to comment to the media on gender stereotyping, and the press reported there were hundreds of dolls instead of just 50.</p> <p>Although impact is hard to measure, the prank created unprecedented media attention leading to the visibility of the organisation’s issues based video. It questioned the status quo regarding what girls can do and should think, promoting social change in exposing how toys shape ideology. </p> <p>It revealed the impact of gender stereotypes and their insidious sexism; the way war toys are role models; and the need for playthings to be more inclusive and diverse. </p> <p>Mattel, the company that makes Barbie, did not react, but later released toys indicating it had received the message. These include the <a href="https://creations.mattel.com/collections/barbie-inspiring-women-series#?page=1">Inspiring Women series</a> featuring the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Ella Fitzgerald and Jane Goodall.</p> <h2>4. Sausage fest!</h2> <p>At the 2016 Australian Film Institute’s premier event, the AACTA Awards, protesters from Women in Film and Television NSW blocked the red carpet dressed as sausages and chanting “end the sausage party”. </p> <p>The event was <a href="https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?ref=watch_permalink&amp;v=562946123902893">livestreamed on Facebook</a> after security gave them access, thinking they were part of the event.</p> <p>The women <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/dec/07/protesters-gatecrash-aacta-awards-red-carpet-chanting-end-the-sausage-party">were protesting</a> for a quota system to improve the number of women working in the film and television industries. </p> <p><a href="https://www.wiftaustralia.org.au/nsw-advocacy">They wanted</a> to highlight a lack of feature film judging transparency, the low proportion of nominations for women, and how few films were directed and driven by female creatives. </p> <p><a href="https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/getmedia/1ee452a2-3567-4398-86c3-56535f7d9827/screen-australia-proportion-of-women-in-creative-roles-all-formats-2021-2.jpg?ext=.jpg">Only 20%</a> of Australian-funded feature films have a female director. AACTA does not fund films and it is therefore the broader industry that urgently needs to lift female participation.</p> <p>Since the sausage prank, AACTA entry forms also ask about the diversity of the filmmakers, triggering producers to reflect on inclusion in their films.</p> <p>AACTA has also changed its eligibility rules, engaging with Women in Film and Television to expand eligibility beyond just films that received a theatrical release.</p> <p>This reduced barriers to entry; opportunities for women and diverse filmmakers are more frequently in independent or low-budget sectors, which don’t always attain release in commercial cinemas. This change in eligibility was <a href="https://www.filmink.com.au/public-notice/aacta-feature-film-eligibility-policy-changes-new-online-video-award-announced/">reported</a> as allowing greater inclusion and diversity. </p> <p>Recognition across society has come from a long line of feminist pranksters. But slow progress means there is still a long way to go to achieve equality and equity.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/protest-is-dangerous-but-feminists-have-a-long-history-of-using-humour-pranks-and-stunts-to-promote-their-message-199298" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

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Nation split over Lidia Thorpe’s Mardi Gras protest

<p>Australians everywhere, from TV personalities to politicians and the public, have seized the opportunity to weigh in on Independent Senator Lidia Thorpe’s decision to temporarily halt Sydney’s 2023 Mardi Gras parade. </p> <p>Thorpe, who parted ways with the Greens party early in February, was - in her own words - protesting for “#NoPrideInGenocide, #NoPrideInPrisons, and #NoCopsInPride” when her actions caught the attention of the gathered crowds, with footage uploaded to social media showing her on her back in front of a parade float. </p> <p>In the clip, NSW police officers can be seen addressing Thorpe, and eventually she was moved on. Reports have stated that earlier, she could be seen walking backwards in front of an Australian Federal Police officer while waving a small rainbow flag. </p> <p>A statement from NSW Police claimed she was removed “at the request of organisers for breaching the terms of her participation”. They have since confirmed that the senator was not arrested and will not be charged over the incident. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Lidia Thorpe gonna Lidia Thorpe. <a href="https://t.co/879xXgA4LX">pic.twitter.com/879xXgA4LX</a></p> <p>— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) <a href="https://twitter.com/RitaPanahi/status/1629673736273293312?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 26, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>As with all acts deemed controversial by social media, the video blew up, and the story reached the eyes and ears of people all across the country. </p> <p>Thorpe attempted to get ahead of the discussion and set the record straight, tweeting that she was proud to have joined the Pride in Protest with their No Pride in Genocide float, as “Black and brown trans women started the first pride march as a protest against police violence. Today, we still face violence from [the] police.” </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Black and brown trans women started the first pride march as a protest against police violence. Today, we still face violence from police. Proud to have joined the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PrideInProtest?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PrideInProtest</a> float in Sydney to say <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NoPrideInGenocide?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NoPrideInGenocide</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NoPrideInPrisons?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NoPrideInPrisons</a>, and <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NoCopsInPride?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NoCopsInPride</a></p> <p>— Senator Lidia Thorpe (@SenatorThorpe) <a href="https://twitter.com/SenatorThorpe/status/1629609463396302848?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 25, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>When Thorpe’s attendance was first announced, No Pride in Genocide’s spokesperson Mikhael Burnard stated that “the oppression of queer people and the oppression of Indigenous people and refugees are one and the same fight.”</p> <p>And while many raced to Lidia’s comment section to declare her a “legend” for their movement, just as many have been loud about their distaste for the senator’s actions. </p> <p>“Lidia Thorpe did the queerest thing out of anyone at that co-opted, corporatised, pinkwashed excuse for a Pride march, &amp; it aligns with the sentiments/needs of the most vulnerable members of the LGBTIQA+ community - &amp; marginalised communities at large,” wrote one supporter. </p> <p>“God it's funny how people don't understand that the entire point of protest is to be disruptive,” tweeted another, “that's why it's effective. Lidia Thorpe could write a polite letter to the king of the police that will do nothing, or she can actually centre cops at pride as part of the conversation.”</p> <p>“Rusted on supporters of Lidia Thorpe who said yesterday it was ‘important context’ that she stopped a ‘police float’ now say it doesn't matter which float she stopped after learning last night it was a float for youth mental health services,” wrote a critic. </p> <p>And now, radio’s Ben Fordham and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet have seen fit to offer their opinion. Notably, neither figure was in attendance at the Mardi Gras celebration, although <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/anthony-albanese-makes-history-at-mardi-gras" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made history</a> with his march in support of Australia’s thriving LGBTQIA+ community. </p> <p><em>2GB</em>’s Ben Fordham labelled Lidia a “rogue”, calling her protest “a whole new low.” </p> <p>“Once again she has proven she is unfit for public office,” Ben, who has never held a position in office himself, went on, “that’s the reality.”</p> <p>The debate over having police officers at Pride events has been around for a long time, and many came to Lidia’s defence citing the history of police repression with the LGBTQIA+ community - including but not limited to police brutality towards organisers, advocates, and participants alike. </p> <p>In New South Wales, where Mardi Gras was held this year with WorldPride, the failure of authorities to investigate murders of a homophobic nature across three decades is never far from the minds of many. Ben, however, had his own take on the matter. </p> <p>“Even though you’ve got police officers who for decades now have been part of the Mardi Gras trying to send a message to the gay and lesbian community that they’re on their side,” he said, “Lidia Thorpe doesn’t want them there.”</p> <p>“It’s just typical Lidia Thorpe. It’s a disgrace,” Premier Dominic Perrottet agreed. </p> <p>“As a society, we need to respect different views and not just tolerate it, but celebrate different perspectives,” Perrottet went on as he continued to condemn Thorpe’s standpoint, “and what we see from Lidia Thorpe and the Greens is this negativity and worse than that, this divisive nature of their politics.”</p> <p><em>Images: Twitter</em></p>

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Photos released as men sought over violent pitch invasion

<p>Police have released photos of the men they want to speak to following a protest on the pitch of an A-League game in Melbourne. </p> <p>On Saturday night's game between Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory, fans stormed the pitch in protest of The Australian Professional League's (APL) decision to host the A-League grand final in Sydney for the next three years. </p> <p>Around 150 football fans ran onto the field around 8pm after flares were thrown into the crowd.</p> <p>Three men were injured and Melbourne City's goalkeeper was taken to hospital with a head injury after being hit by a metal bucket of sand allegedly thrown at him.</p> <p>Police have now released a photo of a man they want to speak to in relation to the incident. </p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/12/a-league-men.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p><em>Police are looking for this man, who they allege threw the metal bucket at players. Image credits: Victoria Police</em></p> <p>A match official was hurt and a cameraman was also injured after being hit on the head with a flare, police said.</p> <p>As investigators launch their probe into how the protest started, they have released a photos of men they may help their investigation into ripping of flares, assaults, criminal damage and invading the field.</p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/12/a-league-men-2.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p><em>Police want to talk to these men to gather more information about the incident. Image credits: Victoria Police</em></p> <p>North-West Metro Region Specialist Operations Acting Superintendent Jason Goddard called the events "disgraceful" and "disgusting," and said the fans "lacked total respect for the game of football."</p> <p>"I'm a lover of the game and I actually feel sad about what I saw play out on the pitch last night," he said.</p> <p>"Along with thousands of supporters, Victoria Police condemn the behaviour."</p> <p>He said he has "no doubt" police will be "knocking on a few doors soon."</p> <p>Witnesses of the incident, or anyone who recognises the men, have been urged to contact Crimestoppers. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Victoria Police</em></p>

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What are Iran’s morality police?

<p>Until recently, most people outside of Iran had never heard of the country’s morality police, let alone followed their wider role in the region. But on Sept. 16, 2022, the death of Jina Mahsa Amini <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/9/16/iranian-woman-dies-after-moral-polices-detention-reports" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sparked widespread protests</a> in the streets of Iran and elsewhere that have shown no signs of abating. Amini had been in the custody of Gasht-e-Ershad, the Persian name of this notorious police force, for “improper wearing of hijab.”</p> <p>On Dec. 4, reports citing <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2022/12/05/middleeast/iran-morality-police-mime-intl/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Iran’s Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri</a> suggested that the morality police had been abolished. Montazeri said that the morality police lacked judiciary power and that hijab <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2022/12/04/middleeast/iran-hijab-law-under-review-intl/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">laws were under review</a>, which led to widespread speculation about whether the regime was trying to find a way forward.</p> <p>Yet, there were those who doubted the comments and called it a “false flag” on the part of those in power. A <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/12/06/iran-morality-police-abolished-hijab/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">few noted that even if the morality police</a> were abolished and the mandatory wearing of the hijab repealed, the regime would still need to be held accountable for all of its human rights violations.</p> <p>These sentiments have formed the basis of <a href="https://www.iranintl.com/en/202212052265" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a three-day nationwide strike</a> that began on Dec. 5 and has shuttered thousands of shops, including those in the historic Grand Bazaar in the heart of Tehran, bringing the economy of the country to a grinding halt.</p> <p>But who are the morality police? Where did they come from? And what is their history during and before the Islamic Republic of Iran?</p> <h2>A vice squad in context</h2> <p>The mandate and power of morality police date back to before the Islamic Revolution that shook Iran in 1979, and their reach has extended throughout the Middle East.</p> <p>The Quran says that it is imperative that religious leaders “<a href="https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2022/09/26/who-are-irans-hated-morality-police?utm_medium=cpc.adword.pd&amp;utm_source=google&amp;ppccampaignID=17210591673&amp;ppcadID=&amp;utm_campaign=a.22brand_pmax&amp;utm_content=conversion.direct-response.anonymous&amp;gclid=Cj0KCQiA7bucBhCeARIsAIOwr-9ss672dmAmOubJUK8cfBd-COZDQcHn2oAQSSxpeCm_HDaJkuoiq8caAoDdEALw_wcB&amp;gclsrc=aw.ds" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ensure right and forbid wrong</a>.” To carry this out, beginning at the time of the Prophet Mohammad, public morals were overseen by market inspectors referred <a href="https://islamicmarkets.com/dictionary/a/al-muhtasib" target="_blank" rel="noopener">to as muhtasib</a>.</p> <p>As <a href="https://www.pardismahdavi.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a scholar of gender and feminism</a> in the Middle East, I’ve studied the long history of debates about the role of Islam in regulating morality. The earliest evidence of a muhtasib, interestingly, was a woman selected in Medina by the prophet himself.</p> <p>Over the centuries, the mandate of the muhtasib became focused on regulating dress, particularly for women. While these market inspectors were recorded as issuing fines and occasional lashings, they did not have the same <a href="https://newlinesmag.com/argument/the-dubious-roots-of-religious-police-in-islam/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">level of authority as the judiciary</a>.</p> <p>By the early 20th century, however, the muhtasibs had transitioned into the vice squads, patrolling the streets to make sure people were complying with Islamic values. It was mostly in Saudi Arabia under the influence of Wahhabism that morality police forces first gained prominence and momentum. <a href="https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/AD1053195.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The first modern morality police force</a>, an official committee charged with “commanding right and forbidding wrong,” was formed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1926. Comprised mostly of men, the force was charged with enforcing modest dress, regulating heterosocializing – engagement with members of the opposite sex if unmarried or unrelated – and ensuring citizens attended prayer.</p> <p>By 2012, more than one-third of the 56 countries making up The Organization for Islamic Cooperation <a href="https://themedialine.org/news/iran-is-not-the-only-country-with-morality-police/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">had some form of religiously informed </a>squadrons seeking to uphold right and forbid wrong as interpreted by Islamists in power.</p> <h2>A committee to enact revolution</h2> <p>In Iran, the morality police first appeared in the form of what was called the “<a href="https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803100041983" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Islamic Revolution Committee</a>” following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Shiite cleric who led the revolution, wanted to control the behavior of Iranian citizens after too many years of what he and his fellow Islamists called a period of “<a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/162924" target="_blank" rel="noopener">secular Westoxication</a>.”</p> <p>The Islamic Revolution Committee, called “Komiteh” by many Iranians, was merged in the 1980s with the <a href="https://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/gendarmerie" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Gendarmerie</a>, the first rural police force overseeing modern highways, to form the Law Enforcement Command of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In 1983, when mandatory veiling laws were passed, the Komiteh was tasked with ensuring these laws were upheld in addition to their other duties of ensuring right and forbidding wrong.</p> <h2>A changing time</h2> <p>The current morality police – the Guidance Patrol or Gasht-e-Ershad – were given formal standing as an arm of the police force by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005.</p> <p>The group had been steadily growing in size since the 1980s, and by 2005 consisted of <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-36101150" target="_blank" rel="noopener">more than 7,000 officers</a>. Women make up less than a quarter of the squadron but frequently accompany their male counterparts, who often arrive in unmarked vans and pour out into the streets in green uniforms. The women, meanwhile, wear black cloaks that cover them from head to toe.</p> <p>For most of the 1980s and 1990s, the Komiteh was comprised of religiously devout followers of the regime who joined the force at the encouragement of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/who-are-irans-morality-police/a-63200711#:%7E:text=%22Gasht%2De%2DErshad%2C,mandatory%20in%20Iran%20in%201983" target="_blank" rel="noopener">clerics</a>. However, by the early 2000s, Iran’s population was comprised mostly of young people. When Ahmadinejad made the Komiteh an official police force, a number of young men joined to fulfill their <a href="https://www.thenationalnews.com/mena/iran/2022/12/05/who-are-irans-morality-police-and-what-do-they-enforce/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">mandatory military conscription</a>. This younger generation was more lax than their older counterparts, <a href="https://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=15943" target="_blank" rel="noopener">leading to inconsistent patrolling</a>.</p> <p>When President Ebrahim Raisi came to power in 2021, he emboldened the morality police to engage in <a href="https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/10/10/iran-protests-hijab-mahsa-amini-morality-police-ebrahim-raisi/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">harsh crackdowns on the Iranian populace</a>, particularly in the cities. Raisi, like Khomeini and other clerics, used this vice squad to send a message to Iranian citizens that the regime is watching.</p> <p>This clampdown, particularly when it led to the death of Amini, has been met with outrage by a large number of Iranians. While it is not yet confirmed whether or not the morality police have been disbanded, protesters are continuing to press the regime for change.<img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/196023/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-are-irans-morality-police-a-scholar-of-the-middle-east-explains-their-history-196023" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </strong></p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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Eco-activist attacks on museum artwork ask us to figure out what we value

<p>In the last few weeks <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/23/arts/claude-monet-mashed-potatoes-climate-activists.html">climate change activists have perpetrated various acts</a> of reversible vandalism <a href="https://twitter.com/artnews/status/1585745905512169473">against famous works of art in public galleries</a>. </p> <p>In the latest incident on Oct. 27, two men entered <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/27/girl-with-a-pearl-earring-vermeer-just-stop-oil-protest-mauritshuis-the-hague">the Mauritshuis gallery in the Hague</a>. After taking off their jackets to reveal t-shirts printed with anti-oil slogans, one proceeded to glue his head to <a href="https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/famed-girl-with-pearl-earring-painting-targeted-by-climate-activists-nos-2022-10-27/">glass overtop</a> <a href="https://www.mauritshuis.nl/en/our-collection/artworks/670-girl-with-a-pearl-earring/">Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring</a>, while the other bathed the head of his partner-in-crime with what appeared to be tinned tomatoes before gluing his own hand to the wall adjacent to the painting.</p> <p>This was just the latest in a series of similar art attacks that have peppered the news. </p> <p>The motivation of the eco-activists involved is to draw attention to the crisis of climate change, the role of big oil in hastening the deterioration of the environment and the necessity to save our planet.</p> <p>By attacking a famous and high-value cultural target like Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring — it <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0335119/">even starred in its own movie</a> — the protesters are asking us to examine our values.</p> <h2>Big oil protests</h2> <p>The first Vermeer painting to come to auction for almost 80 years <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/vermeer-fetches-record-price-1.506190">sold for almost $40 million in 2004</a>. Today a Vermeer (<a href="http://www.essentialvermeer.com/how_many_vermeers.html">there are not that many)</a> could easily be valued at twice that. Whether you like Vermeer or not, the monetary value of the targets under attack enhances the sheer audacity and shock value of the current art attacks.</p> <p>The eco-activists want to appear to desecrate something that people associate with value and with culture. Their point is that if we don’t have a planet, we’ll lose all the things in it that we seem to value more. </p> <p>As activist Phoebe Plummer of Just Stop Oil <a href="https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/just-stop-oil-protestor-van-gogh-sunflowers-why-video-1234643678">told NPR after being involved in the attack on Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at London’s National Gallery</a>: “Since October, we have been engaging in disruptive acts all around London because right now what is missing to make this change is political will. So our action in particular <a href="https://www.npr.org/2022/11/01/1133041550/the-activist-who-threw-soup-on-a-van-gogh-explains-why-they-did-it">was a media-grabbing action to get people talking, not just about what we did, but why we did it</a>.”</p> <p>Note, the idea is disruption, not destruction. As acts designed for shock value, the activists did draw immediate public attention.</p> <h2>Attacking art</h2> <p>By staging their attacks in public galleries, where the majority of visitors carry cell phones, activists could be assured film and photos of the incidents would draw immediate attention. By sticking to non-corrosive substances and mitigating damage to the works under attack, they don’t draw the kind of public ire that wilful destruction would evoke. </p> <p>In recent news, attacking art as a form of public protest has largely been limited to public monuments outside the gallery space, like the <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/02/us/confederate-monuments-removed-2021-whose-heritage/index.html">destruction and removal of Confederate</a> or colonial statues. </p> <p>But it’s also true that works of museum art have come under attack before. Over the course of its history, <a href="https://www.theartnewspaper.com/2019/02/19/trimmed-splashed-and-slashed-the-anatomy-of-rembrandts-the-night-watch">Rembrandt’s Night Watch in the Rijksmuseum</a> in Amsterdam was stabbed in two separate incidents in 1911 and 1975; in 1990, it was sprayed with acid; but all of those attacks were ascribed to individuals with unclear and less clearly rational motives.</p> <p>I see a few issues at stake with assessing what these recent art attacks could mean.</p> <h2>1. How effective is the messaging?</h2> <p>The activists have been articulate about their objectives, but those objectives haven’t been <a href="https://twitter.com/BrydonRobert/status/1587587106997960705">obvious to everyone who sees</a> via social media, but doesn’t stick around to hear the explanation. When a broad <a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/why-are-climate-activists-throwing-food-at-million-dollar-paintings-180981024/">range of media</a> <a href="https://time.com/6224760/climate-activists-throw-food-at-art/">outlets all</a> perceive <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/rebeccahughes/2022/08/05/why-are-climate-activists-gluing-themselves-to-art-in-italy/?sh=1e2e8a6a246a">the need to publish</a> editorials on why eco activists are targeting art, something is getting lost in translation.</p> <p>People see the endangerment of the works of art, but may ascribe that to the activists, not to the planetary erosion wrought by climate change. I don’t think everyone is getting the message.</p> <h2>2. Possible misplaced outrage</h2> <p>The incidents up until now have been pretty effective and harmless acts. But what if something is irreparably damaged? People will be outraged, but they’ll still be outraged about the art, not about the planet. </p> <p>And while there will be a call for stiff prison sentences, precedent suggests that’s an unlikely outcome. </p> <p>A man who damaged a Picasso valued at $26 million USD at the Tate Modern <a href="https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/tate-modern-picasso-damaged-man-sentenced-1234569349">in London in 2020 was sentenced to 18 months in jail</a>.</p> <h2>3. Violation of public trust</h2> <p>The third effect is what I consider a violation of the public trust, and this gives me pause. Works of art, even the most famous ones, lead precarious lives of constant endangerment; war, weather, fire, floods. The protesters are destabilizing the idea that public galleries are “safe” spaces for works of art, held in public trust. </p> <p>As fari nzinga, inaugural curator of academic engagement and special projects at the <a href="https://www.speedmuseum.org/">Speed Art Museum</a> in Louisville, KY, pointed out in a 2016 paper: “The museum doesn’t serve the public trust simply by displaying art for its members, <a href="https://incluseum.com/2016/11/29/public-trust-and-art-museums">it does so by keeping and caring for the art on behalf of a greater community of members and non¬members alike</a>, preserving it for future generations to study and enjoy.” </p> <p>Right now these acts, no matter how well-intentioned, could lead to increased security and more limited access, making galleries prisons for art rather than places for people. </p> <p>At the same time, part of the activsts’ point is that economy that sustains <a href="https://grist.org/climate/can-art-museums-survive-without-oil-money/">big oil is entwined with arts infrastructure</a> and the art market.</p> <h2>The thing that saves us?</h2> <p>The pandemic taught us, I think, that art could be the thing we share that saves us; think of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q734VN0N7hw">people during quarantine in Italy singing opera together from their balconies</a>. </p> <p>Eco-activists engaged in performance protests ask us to question our public institutions and make us accountable for what they, and we, value. Their climate activism is dedicated to our shared fate.</p> <p>If you’re willing to fight for the protection of art, maybe you’re willing to fight to protect the planet.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/eco-activist-attacks-on-museum-artwork-ask-us-to-figure-out-what-we-value-193575" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Art

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“A wake-up call for the cops”: Sydney protester Danny Lim released from hospital

<p dir="ltr">Well-known Sydney activist Danny Lim has been released from hospital after injuries to his head and face during an attempted arrest by police that sparked outcry.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 78-year-old, recognised by many for his sandwich board signs bearing political messages, was hospitalised after officers tried to arrest him for failing to “comply with a move-on order” at the Queen Victoria Building on Tuesday.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-def68152-7fff-863a-aabf-28d0df6634e4"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Criminal lawyer Chris Murphy, a lawyer at the firm that represents Mr Lim, confirmed that he had been released from St Vincent’s Hospital on Thursday with “a plan in place for ongoing monitoring”.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Danny Lim has been released from hospital with a plan in place for ongoing monitoring. Thank you staff at St Vincent’s Darlinghurst for the loving care.Thank you to the community for your love &amp; support, hope to get our happy icon back with his smiles and his signs. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/beautiful?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#beautiful</a> <a href="https://t.co/k4ZclbOCyg">pic.twitter.com/k4ZclbOCyg</a></p> <p>— chris murphy (@chrismurphys) <a href="https://twitter.com/chrismurphys/status/1595493821323714560?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 23, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">“Thank you staff at St Vincent’s Darlinghurst for the loving care,” he wrote on social media.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Thank you to the community for your love and support, hope to get our happy icon back with his smiles and his signs."</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Murphy also shared footage of the incident and updates on the activist’s health, with the <em><a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/sydney-man-danny-lim-arrest-to-undergo-independent-review-after-outrage/c4vq7yd9m" target="_blank" rel="noopener">SBS</a></em> reporting that Mr Lim was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma on Wednesday.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Internal skull damage diagnose(d)," Mr Murphy said on Twitter.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Lim was wearing a sign that read ‘Smile cvn’t! Why cvn’t?’ while walking through Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building on Tuesday when security told him to leave.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-4377394a-7fff-c06d-c274-0f2f1157eb29"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Police were called and confronted the protester, with footage taken by a witness showing Mr Lim being tripped and pushed down by two officers, falling head-first onto the tiled floor and being handcuffed.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">BREAKING NEWS:VIDEO VIOLENT NSW POLICE ARREST OF INNOCENT 80 YEAR OLD MAN WEARING BILLBOARD A COURT HAS FOUND LEGAL THE LAST TIME HE WAS WRONGLY ARRESTED FOR IT. CVNT LIKE CENT AND CANT IS NOT AN OFFENSIVE TERM. LAST TIME COURT CRITICISED HEAVY HANDED VIOLENCE NOW IN HOSPITAL. <a href="https://t.co/Ovy942m4tx">pic.twitter.com/Ovy942m4tx</a></p> <p>— chris murphy (@chrismurphys) <a href="https://twitter.com/chrismurphys/status/1594898646981496832?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 22, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">When Mr Lim was picked up off the tiled floor, blood could be seen on the ground and on his cheek, and officers “discontinued” the arrest.</p> <p dir="ltr">Speaking to <em><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/nov/22/serial-protester-danny-lim-in-hospital-after-discontinued-arrest-in-sydney-cbd" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Guardian Australia</a></em> from hospital, Mr Lim said he had asked police to call an ambulance and informed them he had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).</p> <p dir="ltr">“I told them to ring an ambulance,” he said on Tuesday. </p> <p dir="ltr">“They refused.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I could be dead when they threw me down like that.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Businessman Mike Ashley, a witness to the altercation, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/nov/24/danny-lim-asked-police-to-call-ambulance-and-told-them-of-his-ptsd-before-arrest-witness-says" target="_blank" rel="noopener">told the outlet</a> that he noticed the hearted confrontation and heard Mr Lim repeatedly asked officers to call an ambulance.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Ashley said Lim had been begging for an ambulance to be called before he was thrown to the ground.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He let them know very clearly that he had PTSD, and that he needed an ambulance,” Mr Ashley said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“He voiced that very clearly at the outset. He became increasingly agitated as they approached him.”</p> <p dir="ltr">But, when Mr Ashley said he was threatened by officers when he tried to intervene and asked Mr Lim if he should call an ambulance.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The officer … said, ‘If you do that, we will charge you with hindering an arrest,’” he said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“It didn’t seem like the sort of thing that you might use to de-escalate [the] situation.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Following the incident, the actions officers took during the arrest will be subject to an independent review.</p> <p dir="ltr">In a statement, police said Mr Lim had failed to comply with move-on orders from security and officers.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Police will allege the man was subsequently issued with a move on direction by officers and failed to comply," they said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The man's arrest was discontinued after he struggled with police and sustained an injury to his cheekbone ...</p> <p dir="ltr">"As inquiries into the incident continue, an independent review has been launched, which will examine the actions of police during the incident."</p> <p dir="ltr">His recent arrest has been condemned by many online and by politicians, including the NSW Greens.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The actions by the NSW Police yesterday were completely out of line and an indication of just how dangerous new police powers are to the vulnerable in our society," Greens MP Sue Higginson said on Wednesday.</p> <p dir="ltr">"This type of violent arrest can happen to anyone, anywhere."</p> <p dir="ltr">Independent member Alex Greenwich told <em><a href="https://www.crikey.com.au/2022/11/23/danny-lim-hospitalised-nsw-over-policing/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Crikey</a></em> the incident was “deeply concerning” and an example of “over-policing”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Sydneysiders have a great deal of affection for Danny Lim and people know who he is and that he is a peaceful protester and a harmless person. It’s deeply concerning to see over-policing, let alone over-policing leading to someone being injured,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-38bb2749-7fff-0c0c-cfc0-5ff7a3e3fe53"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">“I hope this is a wake-up call for the cops and I obviously hope that Danny has a full recovery.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Today after being smashed into the floor by New South Wales Police. Internal skull damage diagnose. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DannyLim?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DannyLim</a> <a href="https://t.co/Cc5IvO3nP9">pic.twitter.com/Cc5IvO3nP9</a></p> <p>— chris murphy (@chrismurphys) <a href="https://twitter.com/chrismurphys/status/1594913582063706112?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 22, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Amnesty International Australia said they had documented incidents where police used force against people, like Mr Lim, who were expressing their right to freedom of expression and hoped NSW Police would follow through on holding an independent review.</p> <p dir="ltr">“People like 78-year-old Danny Lim should be free to express themselves without fearing injury,” the organisation said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Lim has previously been arrested and fined $500 for wearing the same sign, but was deemed to be allowed to wear it after a successful court case in 2019.</p> <p dir="ltr">Magistrate Jaqueline Milledge ruled at the time in favour of Mr Lim, saying “the police action was heavy-handed and unnecessary” and ruling that the signs may be cheeky but weren’t criminally offensive.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-5657dbd1-7fff-2b1e-ab73-e7279a271691"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Twitter</em></p>

Legal

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UK comedian shreds thousands in protest of David Beckham’s Qatar deal

<p dir="ltr">English comedian Joe Lycett has called out footballer David Beckham for his multi-million-dollar deal with Qatar by shredding £10,000 - but Lycett’s protest has come with a twist.</p> <p dir="ltr">After Beckham came under fire for accepting the cash from Qatar - where homosexuality is illegal and you can be jailed or put to death as punishment - to promote the World Cup, Lycett took to social media to call on the former English captain to put his money where his mouth is.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-b0f7f24c-7fff-e87b-cd94-977224136cd7"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Lycett shared a video where he said he would donate £10,000 ($AU 17,700 or $NZ 19,386) if Beckham withdrew from his deal with Qatar before the World Cup started on November 19.</p> <p dir="ltr">If Beckham didn’t, Lycett said he would shred it.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/ClGfxiQIvDb/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/ClGfxiQIvDb/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Joe Lycett (@joelycett)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">"This is a message to David Beckham... I consider you to be a gay icon," Lycett said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"You were the first premiership footballer to do shoots with gay magazines like Attitude, to speak openly about your gay fans, and you married a Spice Girl, which is the gayest thing a human being can do.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Qatar was voted as one of the worst places in the world to be gay. You've always talked about the power of football to be a force for good... so with that in mind, I'm giving you a choice.</p> <p dir="ltr">"If you end your relationship with Qatar, I'll donate this 10 grand of my own money to charities that support queer people in football. However, if you do not... I will throw this money into a shredder.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded."</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-735f7414-7fff-0c3f-b123-4b37c34f34e3"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">After his video went viral, Lycett shared a message he sent to Beckham’s PR team on social media.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/ClBdqBgoPAM/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/ClBdqBgoPAM/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Joe Lycett (@joelycett)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">“I’ve managed to get myself into a bit of a pickle - I’ve been a bit daft and publicly announced that I’m going to shred £10K on Sunday if David doesn’t end his relationship with Qatar, or donate the cash to LGBTQ+ charities if he does, yet we’re now four days out and I haven’t heard a peep from him,” he wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Could you do me a solid and let me know if there’s a chance he might budge on his position, or am I to expect radio silence on this? I really don’t want to shred ten grand!!! I also really don’t want a national treasure that has historically supported the LGBTQ+ community to publicly endorse and advertise a nation state that has an appalling human rights record and has the death penalty for gays - call me old fashioned!!!!!!”</p> <p dir="ltr">With Beckham not responding or backing out of the deal with Qatar, Lycett shared a clip on Sunday of himself putting wads into a woodchipper, dressed in a rainbow coat.</p> <p dir="ltr">But that isn’t the end of the story.</p> <p dir="ltr">The comedian shared another video on Monday, where he revealed that the stunt wasn’t what it appeared to be.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is my final message to David Beckham,” he began the clip.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s me! That prick who shredded loads of money in a cost-of-living crisis.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I told you I was going to destroy £10,000 if you didn’t end your relationship with Qatar before the first day of the World Cup. And then when you didn’t end your relationship or even respond in any way, I streamed myself dropping 10K into a shredder.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Or did I?</p> <p dir="ltr">“I haven’t quite told you the whole truth. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Because the truth is, the money that went into the shredder was real, but the money that came out was fake.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Lycett added that he wouldn’t be “so irresponsible” to destroy “real money”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“In fact, the ten grand had already been donated to LGBTQ+ charities before I even pressed send on the initial tweet last week,” he continued.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I never expected to hear from you. It was an empty threat designed to get people talking.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0189d111-7fff-2b5e-96d4-872ebc0b31b0"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">“In many ways, it was like your deal with Qatar, David. Total bulls**t from the start.”</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/tv/ClOMLKuIY0r/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/tv/ClOMLKuIY0r/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Joe Lycett (@joelycett)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Lycett ended the clip by shredding another item: the 2002 cover of <em>Attitude </em>magazine that featured Beckham, which was the first gay magazine to feature a Premier League footballer on it.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I asked <em>Attitude </em>if I could shred it and they were more than happy to oblige,” Lycett said, before running the cover through a paper shredder.</p> <p dir="ltr">His final video, captioned with a single rainbow flag, received a flood of praise from fellow celebrities and fans.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Oh you. It’s like you thought it all through or somethin …” Dawn French commented.</p> <p dir="ltr">“You are flipping amazing ❤️❤️❤️🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈,” singer Sophie Ellis Bexter added.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-d1dc9455-7fff-40cd-4ae9-c47bf33ab5ef"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Soup on Van Gogh and graffiti on Warhol: climate activists follow the long history of museums as a site of protest

<p>Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans at the National Gallery of Australia are just the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2022/nov/09/climate-activists-target-andy-warhols-campbells-soup-cans-at-australias-national-gallery">latest artistic target</a> of climate protesters, who have been throwing <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/14/just-stop-oil-activists-throw-soup-at-van-goghs-sunflowers">soup</a>, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/climate-protesters-throw-mashed-potatoes-at-monet-painting/2022/10/23/cc39e636-52f0-11ed-ac8b-08bbfab1c5a5_story.html">mashed potatoes</a> and <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/climate-protesters-throw-mashed-potatoes-at-monet-painting/2022/10/23/cc39e636-52f0-11ed-ac8b-08bbfab1c5a5_story.html">cake</a> at art worth millions of dollars.</p> <p>The actions have received a <a href="https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/in-doha-four-museum-directors-talk-the-climate-protests-1234644472/">muted response</a> from some museum directors, but the protesters know exactly what they are doing. </p> <p>As the activists who threw soup on Van Gogh’s Sunflowers <a href="https://www.frieze.com/article/interview-just-stop-oil">said, "</a>We know that civil resistance works. History has shown us that."</p> <p>Indeed, there is a long history of museums and art being used for political protest.</p> <h2>For women’s suffrage and women artists</h2> <p>In 1914, suffragette Mary Richardson <a href="https://womensarttours.com/slashing-venus-suffragettes-and-vandalism/">slashed</a> the canvas of Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus at London’s National Gallery. </p> <p>Richardson wanted to attract publicity to Emmeline Pankhurst’s imprisonment for her suffragette actions. Richardson selected this painting in part because of its value, and because of “the way men visitors gaped at it all day long”.</p> <p>Her tactics are credited as <a href="https://www.surfacemag.com/articles/just-stop-oil-protests-museums-environmental-activism/">motivating</a> Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil.</p> <p>Since 1985, the <a href="https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/25207/1/Camillabrownpaper.pdf">Guerrilla Girls</a> have been exposing sexual and racial discrimination in the art world.</p> <p>Their actions have usually occurred at the outskirts of museums: in museum foyers, on nearby billboards and on New York City buses. Perhaps their most famous work <a href="https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/guerrilla-girls-do-women-have-to-be-naked-to-get-into-the-met-museum-p78793">asked</a>: “do women have to be naked to get into the Met Museum?”</p> <h2>Against corporate sponsorship and artwashing</h2> <p><a href="https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/decolonize-this-place-kanders-whitney-nine-weeks-of-art-and-action-12207/">Decolonize this Place</a> brings together campaigns against racial and economic inequality. </p> <p>They organised a campaign beginning in 2018 targeting the then vice-chair of New York’s Whitney Museum, Warren B. Kander, whose company sold tear gas that had reportedly been used against asylum seekers along the US-Mexico border. </p> <p>The campaign’s first event was held in the museum’s foyer. <a href="https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/no-space-profiteer-state-violence-decolonize-place-protests-whitney-vice-chair-warren-b-kanders-11507/">Protesters burned sage</a> to mimic tear gas, which wafted through the lobby until the fire department arrived. </p> <p>The protesters argued Kander’s business interests meant he was not fit to lead a globally significant cultural heritage institution that sought relevance for a wide and diverse public constituency. Kander <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/25/arts/whitney-warren-kanders-resigns.html">resigned</a> from the museum’s board in 2019.</p> <p>Since 2018, artist <a href="https://news.artnet.com/art-world/sackler-nan-goldin-victoria-albert-1704450">Nan Goldin</a> and her “Opioid Activist Group” have been staging “die-ins” at the museum to protest against the galleries named for sponsorship from the Sackler family.</p> <p>The Sackler family business is Purdue Pharma, infamous for OxyContin, a major drug in the US <a href="https://www.npr.org/2022/03/03/1084163626/purdue-sacklers-oxycontin-settlement">opioid crisis</a>. </p> <p>Activists have targeted galleries around the world, and so far the Sackler name has been removed from galleries including the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/18/arts/sackler-family-museums.html">Louvre</a>, the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2022/mar/25/british-museum-removes-sackler-family-name-from-galleries">British Museum</a>, the <a href="https://news.artnet.com/art-world/sackler-name-change-guggenheim-museum-2110993">Guggenheim</a> and, as of last month, the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2022/oct/01/campaigners-celebrate-as-va-severs-sackler-links-over-opioids-cash">Victoria and Albert Museum</a>.</p> <h2>For the return of cultural artefacts</h2> <p>The highest-profile actions against the British Museum have targeted its rejection of calls to return objects including the <a href="https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/parthenon-marbles-british-museum-protest-1234632365/">Parthenon Marbles</a> of Greece, the <a href="https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/british-museum-closes-gallery-in-response-to-protesters">Benin Bronzes</a> from modern-day Nigeria, and the <a href="https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/british-museum-closes-gallery-in-response-to-protesters">Gweagal shield</a> from Australia. </p> <p>In 2018, a group of activists performed a “<a href="https://camd.org.au/stolen-goods-tour-of-bm-protest/">Stolen Goods Tour</a>” of the museum. Participants from across the world gave a different story to what visitors read in the museum’s object labels and catalogues, as the activist tour guides explained their continuing connections with objects in the collection.</p> <p>The tour did not convince the museum to return cultural items, but drew extensive global attention to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/11/nigeria-benin-repatriate-bronzes-smithsonian">ongoing campaigns</a>seeking restitution and repatriation.</p> <h2>In the culture wars</h2> <p>Protests using art and museums aren’t just the domain of the left.</p> <p>In 1969, <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Museums-and-Social-Activism-Engaged-Protest/Message/p/book/9780415658539">an arsonist destroyed</a> a display at the National Museum of American History that commemorated Martin Luther King Jr, who had been recently assassinated. The perpetrator was never identified.</p> <p>In 2017, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/18/noose-found-hanging-washington-museum">nooses</a> were left at various museums of the Smithsonian, including The National Museum of African American History and Culture. No groups ever came forward to claim responsibility or express a motive, but the noose is a potent and divisive symbol of segregation and racially motivated violence.</p> <p>In December 2021, doors to the Museum of Australian Democracy in Canberra were <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-12-30/act-protesters-set-old-parliament-house-on-fire/100731444">set alight</a> twice by protesters with a number of grievances, including opposition to COVID-19 vaccines.</p> <p>The museum’s <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-20/multimillion-dollar-repair-bill-for-old-parliament-house-fire/100770268">director said</a> the “assault on the building” would force the museum to rethink its commitment to being “as open as possible, representing all that is good about Australian democracy”, and at the same time keeping it protected.</p> <h2>‘Direct action works’</h2> <p>The past two decades have seen a surge of art-focused demonstrations. </p> <p>In 2019, Decolonize this Place and Goldin’s anti-Sackler coalition met with members of 30 other groups in front of Andy Warhol’s “The Last Supper” (1986) at the Whitney. </p> <p>They were there to celebrate the Tate Museum in London and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, who had announced they would stop taking funding from the Sackler family. One participant cried “<a href="https://hyperallergic.com/491418/decolonize-this-place-nine-weeks-launch/">direct action works!</a>” </p> <p>Even when protests at museums and art achieve less concrete outcomes than this, they remain central tools for building public awareness around political and social issues. </p> <p>It is unlikely actions against museums and art will subside anytime soon.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/soup-on-van-gogh-and-graffiti-on-warhol-climate-activists-follow-the-long-history-of-museums-as-a-site-of-protest-193009" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Art

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Protester detained over royal egging

<p dir="ltr">A protester has been arrested after throwing eggs at King Charles III and Camilla during their royal visit in Yorkshire.</p> <p dir="ltr">The second day of the couple’s royal tour saw them take part in a welcoming ceremony to the City of York on Wednesday, where they greeted well-wishers lining the streets.</p> <p dir="ltr">But things took a turn when a protester hurled an egg at the king from among the crowd, which he appeared to turn his head to avoid before it splattered on the ground next to him.</p> <p dir="ltr">When another three eggs were thrown, security stepped in and moved the King and Queen Consort back from the crowds.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-fa0dde20-7fff-065b-f995-9c57f3b3313e"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">As police detained the protester, boos were heard among the crowd that seemed to be aimed at the egg-wielding man before chants of “God Save the King” broke out.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/11/charles-egg-visit-arrest.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, King Charles and Camilla continued their walkabout on the other side of the street and made one young well-wisher very happy.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0e9d0b11-7fff-6a18-dcd6-ca492281bf6b"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">The couple greeted Jason, a young boy who is visually impaired, before each holding his hands and walking with him.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Thank you to <a href="https://twitter.com/RoyalFamily?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RoyalFamily</a> for their special meeting with young resident Jason who is visually impaired. He was thrilled to meet the King and Queen Consort today whilst they visited York. <a href="https://t.co/Vx8nol1mrH">pic.twitter.com/Vx8nol1mrH</a></p> <p>— City of York Council (@CityofYork) <a href="https://twitter.com/CityofYork/status/1590323338756300800?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 9, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Afterwards, the town clerk read the official declaration of welcome to the city before the couple left for York Minster, where Charles unveiled a statue of his late mother.</p> <p dir="ltr">During his speech, the monarch said he was “deeply touched” to unveil the statue commemorating Queen Elizabeth II, adding that it will “watch what will become Queen Elizabeth Square”.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-11f94a3e-7fff-e94c-9cd8-c2020dbfdfce"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">The statue, the first to be unveiled since the Queen’s death in September, was commissioned five years ago to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee this year.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/11/charles-egg-visit.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr">"Now, as we have witnessed, with great sadness, the passing of that reign, it is unveiled in her memory, as a tribute to a life of extraordinary service and devotion," King Charles said.</p> <p dir="ltr">He said the “symbolism of the statue, combining the signs of Church and of State, is perfectly suited to its place on the West Front of this glorious building”.</p> <p dir="ltr">His and Camilla’s tour of the city comes ten years after the last royal visit, when Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip entered the city to attend the Maundy Service at York Minster.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-026f7316-7fff-0ade-99ef-15dc23f4faa1"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty Images</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Iran: protesters call for move to a non-religious state. What changes would that bring?

<p>My friend was in Tehran during protests after <a href="https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/events-iran-since-mahsa-aminis-arrest-death-custody-2022-10-05/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the death</a> of Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the morality police (Gasht-e Ershad). My friend went into a grocery shop intending to buy milk. The seller refused to sell anything to her. “Why are you refusing?” she asked. “I can see that you have milk.” “Because you are wearing a hijab,” the seller responded.</p> <p>This is part of a backlash by those who see themselves as oppressed by the Islamic Republic’s discriminatory hijab law, which prosecutes women for not “covering up”. The term hijab is an Arabic word meaning cover. It’s used to refer to different types of covering, from a long-sleeved coat, pants and scarf to the Islamic government’s preferred form of dress, chador, which is a loose-fitting black cloth worn over the entire body. After Mahsa Amini’s killing in September, mass protests broke out over this law and its enforcement.</p> <p>Wearing hijab became obligatory for all Iranian women from April 1983, after the 1979 revolution. Since then, all women have been forced by law to wear hijab (a covering of hair and or body) in public, even non-Muslims and foreigners visiting Iran. If they don’t they face prosecution.</p> <p>The government of Iran, the Islamic Republic, argues that God commands women to wear hijab. This is a government which has leaders who are members of the clergy and merged religious beliefs into state law. But even some Islamic scholars argue that the Qur'an does not suggest that hijab should be <a href="https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300257311/women-and-gender-in-islam/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">compulsory</a>.</p> <p>Mahsa Amini’s case is polarising Iran: those who rigorously advocate the hijab and religious law are set against those who prefer a <a href="https://time.com/6216024/iran-protests-islamic-republic-response/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">secular state</a>, not run by religious values.</p> <p>This has led the nation to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/26/iran-at-least-15-killed-after-gunmen-attack-shrine-in-shiraz" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the current upheaval</a>, with <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/08/are-hijab-protests-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-irans-regime" target="_blank" rel="noopener">vast</a> protests across the country, and <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-63410577" target="_blank" rel="noopener">people being killed</a>.</p> <p>At many protests the Iranian resistance chant is <a href="https://www.politico.eu/article/iran-protests-women-life-freedom-mahsa-amini-killing/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zan, Zendegi, Azadi</a> (#WomenLifeFreedom) is heard. The protesters call for life and liberty to be applicable to everyone (religious and non-religious). A big part of <a href="https://theconversation.com/iran-protests-majority-of-people-reject-compulsory-hijab-and-an-islamic-regime-surveys-find-191448" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the motivation</a> behind these protests is to challenge how the current religious law takes away the right of women to choose what to wear.</p> <h2>What is secularism?</h2> <p>Secularism is the idea that states should be <a href="https://academic.oup.com/book/1881/chapter-abstract/141631825?redirectedFrom=fulltext" target="_blank" rel="noopener">neutral about religion</a>. The state should not <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/feb/16/what-mean-secular-state-neutral" target="_blank" rel="noopener">back</a> a specific religion over others. A secular state <a href="https://anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1548-1360.2011.01117.x" target="_blank" rel="noopener">provides</a> equal opportunity for religious and non-religious citizens to pursue their lives. The state must respect everyone’s values (including minorities), not just some people’s values.</p> <p>Secularism seems reasonable <a href="https://academic.oup.com/book/28394" target="_blank" rel="noopener">to many</a> because it is unusual for an entire nation to believe in a religion as one source of law. Some <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00263206.2019.1643330" target="_blank" rel="noopener">scholars of Islam</a> disagree with the established interpretation of the Islamic Republic about whether God has commanded a mandatory hijab. As a result, they claim that hijab is not about covering hair but about “modesty”. Some others challenge <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/12/iran-hijab-law-protest-ali-larijani" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the way</a> the morality police treat women in the street.</p> <p>While some people might be railing against women being forced to wear the hijab, others continue to feel strongly about its continued use. <a href="https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-qom-women-hijab/31929986.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reports</a> say that Iranian authorities have closed some coffee shops because of the “improper” hijab of some female customers. And more <a href="https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/iran-detains-woman-eating-breakfast-without-hijab" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recently</a>, a woman was arrested for eating breakfast in a café with no hijab.</p> <h2>Iranian history of secularism</h2> <p>Modern debates about secularism in Iran can be traced back to the <a href="https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/irans-constitutional-revolution-9780755649235/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Constitutional Revolution</a> in 1906. It advocated <a href="https://iranicaonline.org/articles/constitutional-revolution-i" target="_blank" rel="noopener">liberalism and secularism</a> and began conversations about a society without religious rules for all.</p> <p>Iranians experienced enforced secularisation shortly after Reza Shah Pahlavi was <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Reza-Shah-Pahlavi" target="_blank" rel="noopener">crowned</a> in 1925. In 1936 he issued a decree <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/iran-and-the-headscarf-protests/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Kashf-e hijab</a> that any public expression of religious faith, including wearing hijab, was illegal. Again, this was a leader was telling women what to wear. However, his attempt to militantly secularise and westernise Iran faced <a href="https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/mono/10.4324/9780203060636-22/banning-veil-consequences-dr-stephanie-cronin" target="_blank" rel="noopener">resistance</a> from society.</p> <p>The overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979 led to the establishment of a militant Islamic government based on <a href="https://www.icit-digital.org/books/islam-and-revolution-writings-and-declarations-of-imam-khomeini-1941-1980" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Shia Muslim teachings</a>. After the hijab became <a href="https://www.mei.edu/publications/irans-headscarf-politics" target="_blank" rel="noopener">mandatory</a>, it became a symbol of compulsory faith. It has also played a significant role in pushing some parts of the Iranian population towards a more secular state.</p> <p>In 2022 Iran is experiencing some dramatic shifts, including what appears to be a shift towards secularism. Some argue that secularism is an <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/1979/05/25/archives/khomeini-terms-secular-critics-enemies-of-islam-dictatorship-of-the.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">enemy</a> of religion or a product of <a href="https://nyupress.org/9780814795644/democracy-in-modern-iran/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">western colonisation</a>. Despite the majority of Iranians considering themselves <a href="https://gamaan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/GAMAAN-Iran-Religion-Survey-2020-English.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">religious</a>, some evidence shows that Iranians are <a href="https://theconversation.com/iran-protests-majority-of-people-reject-compulsory-hijab-and-an-islamic-regime-surveys-find-191448" target="_blank" rel="noopener">less religious</a> than before.</p> <p>Since the Islamic revolution there’s been a lot of research about how Iran could work as a <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Secularization-of-Islam-in-Post-Revolutionary-Iran/Pargoo/p/book/9780367654672" target="_blank" rel="noopener">secular</a> society and about religious <a href="https://brill.com/view/book/9789047400714/B9789047400714_s006.xml" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tolerance</a>.</p> <p>The current protest movement, led mainly by <a href="https://www.mei.edu/publications/irans-rising-generation-z-forefront-protests" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Gen Z in Iran</a>, is growing partly because of its use of the internet and social media to communicate and share information. People can also learn from other nations’ experiences of secularism through social media. This is why the regime is <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/science/audio/2022/oct/06/why-is-the-government-in-iran-shutting-down-the-internet-podcast" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shutting down</a> the internet and censoring YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.</p> <p><a href="https://gamaan.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/GAMAAN-Political-Systems-Survey-2022-English-Final.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">One poll</a> suggests that more than 60% of Iranians now want a non-religious state, the question is whether those in power are willing to give it to them.</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/iran-protesters-call-for-move-to-a-non-religious-state-what-changes-would-that-bring-193198" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: Sky News</em></p>

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Iran protest at enforced hijab sparks online debate and feminist calls for action across Arab world

<p>Iranian authorities have cracked down on protests which erupted after the death in custody of a 22-year-old woman who was arrested by the morality police for not wearing the hijab appropriately. The <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-62986057" target="_blank" rel="noopener">death of Mahsa Amini</a> who was reportedly beaten after being arrested for wearing her hijab “improperly” sparked street protests.</p> <p>Unrest has spread across the country as women burned their headscarves to protest laws that force women to wear the hijab. Seven people are reported to have been killed, and the government has almost completely <a href="https://twitter.com/netblocks/status/1572651793355603972" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shut down</a> the internet.</p> <p>But in the Arab world – including in Iraq, where I was brought up – the protests have attracted attention and women are <a href="https://twitter.com/i/spaces/1RDGlaVekMMJL/peek" target="_blank" rel="noopener">gathering online</a> to <a href="https://twitter.com/EsraaMAA1/status/1572373663164538882?s=20&amp;t=sP2kn4dJ7RZUSqWT6GDr6w" target="_blank" rel="noopener">offer solidarity</a> to Iranian women struggling under the country’s harsh theocratic regime.</p> <p>The enforcement of the hijab and, by extension, guardianship over women’s bodies and minds, are not exclusive to Iran. They manifest in different forms and degrees in many countries.</p> <p>In Iraq, and unlike the case of Iran, forced wearing of the hijab <a href="https://www.mei.edu/publications/constitutional-and-legal-rights-iraqi-women" target="_blank" rel="noopener">is unconstitutional</a>. However, the ambiguity and contradictions of much of the constitution, particularly <a href="https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Iraq_2005.pdf?lang=en" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Article 2</a> about Islam being the primary source of legislation, has enabled the condition of forced hijab.</p> <p>Since the 1990s, when Saddam Hussein launched his <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/jan/24/iraq.rorymccarthy1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Faith Campaign</a> in response to economic sanctions imposed by the UN security council, pressure on women to wear the hijab has become widespread. Following the US-led invasion of the country, the situation worsened under the rule of Islamist parties, many of whom have close ties to Iran.</p> <p>Contrary to the claim in 2004 by US president <a href="https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2004/03/20040312-5.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">George W. Bush</a> that Iraqi people were “now learning the blessings of freedom”, women have been enduring the heavy hand of patriarchy perpetuated by Islamism, militarisation and tribalism, and exacerbated by the influence of Iran.</p> <p>Going out without a hijab in Baghdad became a daily struggle for me after 2003. I had to put on a headscarf to protect myself wherever I entered a conservative neighbourhood, especially during the years of sectarian violence.</p> <p>Flashbacks of pro-hijab posters and banners hanging around my university in central Baghdad have always haunted me. The situation has remained unchanged over two decades, with the hijab <a href="http://www.idu.net/modblank.php?mod=news&amp;modfile=print&amp;itemid=25626" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reportedly imposed</a> on children and little girls in primary and secondary schools.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.bbc.com/arabic/trending-62985885" target="_blank" rel="noopener">new campaign</a> against the enforced wearing of the hijab in Iraqi public schools has surfaced on social media. Natheer Isaa, a leading activist in the <a href="https://twitter.com/Nathereisaa" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Women for Women</a> group, which is leading the campaign, told me that hijab is cherished by many conservative or tribal members of society and that backlashes are predictable.</p> <p>Similar campaigns were suspended due to threats and online attacks. Women posting on social media with the campaign hashtag #notocompulsoryhijab, have attracted <a href="https://twitter.com/am_m_zhs/status/1571931577491275782?s=20&amp;t=Y9fneuMxJufMq7RgcRMsSg" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reactionary tweets</a> accusing them of being anti-Islam and anti-society.</p> <p>Similar accusations are levelled at Iranian women who defy the regime by taking off or burning their headscarves. Iraqi Shia cleric, Ayad Jamal al-Dinn <a href="https://twitter.com/hiba_alnnayib/status/1572696301363666944?s=20&amp;t=n1UixEREr2gur81vBChBgA" target="_blank" rel="noopener">lashed out</a> against the protests on his Twitter account, labelling the protesting Iranian women “anti-hijab whores” who are seeking to destroy Islam and culture.</p> <h2>Cyberfeminists and reactionary men</h2> <p>In my <a href="https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/pais/research/projects/internationalrelationssecurity/cyberfeminisms/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">digital ethnographic work</a> on cyberfeminism in Iraq and other countries, I have encountered numerous similar reactions to women who question the hijab or decide to remove it. Women who use their social media accounts to reject the hijab are often met with sexist attacks and threats that attempt to shame and silence them.</p> <p>Those who openly speak about their decision to take off the hijab receive the harshest reaction. The hijab is linked to women’s honour and chastity, so removing it is seen as defiance.</p> <p>Women’s struggle with the forced hijab and the backlash against them challenges the prevailing cultural narrative that says wearing the hijab is a free choice. While many women freely decide whether to wear it or not, others are obliged to wear it.</p> <p>So academics need to revisit the discourse around the hijab and the conditions perpetuating the mandatory wearing of it. In doing so it is important to move away from the false dichotomies of culture versus religion, or the local versus the western, which obscure rather than illuminate the root causes of forced hijab.</p> <p>In her academic <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0141778919849525" target="_blank" rel="noopener">research</a> on gender-based violence in the context of the Middle East, feminist academic Nadje al-Ali emphasises the need to break away from these binaries and recognise the various complex power dynamics involved – both locally and internationally.</p> <p>The issue of forcing women to wear the hijab in conservative societies should be at the heart of any discussion about women’s broader fight for freedom and social justice.</p> <p>Iranian women’s rage against compulsory hijab wearing, despite the security crackdown, is part of a wider women’s struggle against autocratic conservative regimes and societies that deny them agency. The collective outrage in Iran and Iraq invites us to challenge the compulsory hijab and those imposing it on women or perpetuating the conditions enabling it.</p> <p>As one Iraqi female activist told me: “For many of us, hijab is like the gates of a jail, and we are the invisible prisoners.” It is important for the international media and activists to bring their struggle to light, without subscribing to the narrative that Muslim women need saving by the international community.</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/iran-protest-at-enforced-hijab-sparks-online-debate-and-feminist-calls-for-action-across-arab-world-191178" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: Twitter</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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"If we stop communicating, Putin wins. Propaganda wins": how a Norwegian organisation is supporting Russian protest art

<p>As an international student at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow in 2012, I remember studying <em>Rekviem</em> (requiem) by Russian poet <a href="https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/anna-akhmatova">Anna Ahkmatova</a>, an elegy she penned in secret as a tribute to the countless victims of Stalin’s murderous purges. </p> <p>Akhmatova’s writing revived the atrocities, delivering their darkness into the light.</p> <p>Her words spoke of constant fear permeating lives; of distrust, anxiety and betrayal; of the secret police arriving to drag you or your family away. </p> <p>To avoid detection and retribution, Ahkmatova whispered the poem to her friends who committed it to memory. She burned the incriminating scraps of paper.</p> <p>In the first four-and-a-half months following Putin’s attack against Ukraine, over 13,000 anti-war protesters <a href="https://ovdinfo.org/articles/2022/03/07/cracked-heads-and-tasers-results-march-6th-anti-war-protests">were detained</a> in Russia.</p> <p>Some estimates are that <a href="https://meduza.io/feature/2022/05/07/skolko-lyudey-uehalo-iz-rossii-iz-za-voyny-oni-uzhe-nikogda-ne-vernutsya-mozhno-li-eto-schitat-ocherednoy-volnoy-emigratsii">hundreds of thousands</a> fled Russia in early 2022, among them thousands of artists who no longer felt safe in the climate of increasing censorship.</p> <p>Some of these artists have found themselves in Kirkenes, a small Norwegian town 15 kilometres from the Russian border.</p> <h2>Russia’s protest art</h2> <p>Russian and Soviet artists have a long history of art as protest.</p> <p>The poem <em><a href="https://poets.org/poem/stalin-epigram">Stalin’s Epigram</a></em> (1933) authored by <a href="https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/osip-mandelstam">Osip Mandelstam</a> depicted Stalin as a gleeful killer. Authorities imprisoned and tortured Mandelstam, then deported the poet to a remote village near the Ural Mountains. </p> <p>After returning from exile, he persisted writing about Stalin until he was sent to a labour camp in Siberia, where he died in 1938 at the age of 47. </p> <p>Under the comparatively liberal rule of Stalin’s successor <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/131346?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents">Nikita Khrushchev</a> from 1953, the Soviet Union began to enjoy previously unimagined freedoms.</p> <p>Protest art reflected these newfound liberties, becoming increasingly provocative and experimental. </p> <p>Many famous art movements surfaced during this period, including <a href="https://www.moscowart.net/art.html?id=SotsArt">Sots Art</a> — a fusion between Soviet and Pop Art — as Russian artists tested the boundaries, exposing the grim realities and unhappiness of life under Stalin’s regime. </p> <p>In 1962, the legendary composer Shostakovich set his <a href="https://theconversation.com/decoding-the-music-masterpieces-shostakovichs-babi-yar-82819">13th symphony</a> to a series of poems by his contemporary, Yevgeny Yevtushenko. One of these poems was Babi Yar, which criticised the Soviet government for concealing the <a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/babi-yar-ukraine-massacre-holocaust-180979687/">massacre of 33,371 Jews</a> in a mass grave outside Kyiv.</p> <p>In contemporary Russia, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/10/world/europe/pussy-riot-russia-escape.html">Pussy Riot</a> came to the attention of the world in 2012 when members stepped behind the altar in Moscow’s golden-domed Christ the Saviour Cathedral wearing neon-coloured balaclavas to deliver a “punk rock prayer”. </p> <p>Their voices echoed off the cavernous, hand-painted ceilings, raging against Putin’s affiliation with the Orthodox church and the homophobic, anti-feminist policies that followed. </p> <p>They were sentenced to two years imprisonment.</p> <p>Today, <a href="https://artreview.com/amidst-a-crackdown-russia-anti-war-artists-and-activists-try-to-reclaim-the-streets/">pictures from Russia</a> reveal anonymous anti-war graffiti on the sides of buildings, “no war” chiselled into a frozen river, and yellow and blue chrysanthemums and tulips left at the feet of Soviet war memorials.</p> <h2>Cross-border collaborations</h2> <p><a href="https://www.pikene.no/">Pikene på Broen</a> (girls on the bridge) is an arts collective based in Kirkenes.</p> <p>They have spent the past 25 years curating art projects to promote cross-cultural collaboration and tackle political problems in the borderland region. </p> <p>Pikene på Broen is host to the the annual art festival <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barents_Sea">Barents</a> Spektakel (spectacle), an international artist residency including Russian, Norwegian and Finnish creatives, the gallery and project space Terminal B in Kirkenes town, and the debate series Transborder Café.</p> <p>The venue has become a hub for open discussions relating to current political and cultural issues, drawing contributions from artists, musicians, writers, politicians and researchers.</p> <p>Evgeny Goman, an independent theatre director from Murmansk, Russia – about 200 kilometres from Kirkenes – has been collaborating with Pikene på Broen for over 10 years.</p> <p>After moving to Norway in early 2022, Pikene på Broen worked with Goman to organise Kvartirnik (from the word kvartira, meaning apartment), an online talk group for Russian and Norwegian artists to exchange ideas. </p> <p>Following Putin’s attack on Ukraine, Kvartirnik shifted to an underground movement for dissident artists. Ironically, the name Kvartirnik derives from the clandestine concerts arranged <a href="https://www.ciee.org/go-abroad/college-study-abroad/blog/ciee-kvartirnik-understanding-through-music">in people’s apartments</a> during the Soviet Era when musicians were banned from performing in public.</p> <p><a href="http://deadrevolution.tilda.ws/?fbclid=IwAR2PcaqY7VdLtS1zYUu4JCbD6F36KZ8JKv_FEIYsNeSTE4aKokhV7YpITas">Party of the Dead</a> is one of several Russian protest art groups who participated in Kvartirnik. </p> <p>Pictures from the snow-decked Piskaryovskoye Cemetery in Saint Petersburg reveal members dressed as skeletons, holding placards reading: “are there not enough corpses?”.</p> <p>I spoke with Goman about the art coming out of Kvartirnik today.</p> <p>“In peaceful times, art is more about entertaining,” he says. </p> <p>"But in war and conflict, art is more important because it’s the language we use to express our pain. And through metaphors and symbolism, it allows us to speak about things that are censored."</p> <h2>Countering propaganda</h2> <p>Kvartirnik collaborators in Murmansk have also produced and distributed <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samizdat">Samizdat</a> (self-publishing), an anonymous newsletter containing art suppressed by the state. </p> <p>“We have to be really smart now about how we do things in Russia,” Goman says. “Subtle.”</p> <p>Goman is pessimistic about Russia’s future. But he believes the key to moving forward is keeping communication open. He tells me the West’s decision to <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/03/right-way-cancel-russia/627115/">ban Russian culture</a> has backfired on their plan to pressure Putin into ending the war against Ukraine. </p> <p>Instead, he says, the divide is steadily increasing, leaving dissident artists isolated inside a country operating on fear and propaganda, furthering Putin’s agenda. </p> <p>“Putin wants us to not affect Russian minds. And that’s why we have to keep the dialogue going,” he says of the importance of cross-border collaborations like those he has undertaken in Kirkenes.</p> <p>"If we stop communicating, Putin wins. Propaganda wins."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/if-we-stop-communicating-putin-wins-propaganda-wins-how-a-norwegian-organisation-is-supporting-russian-protest-art-186911" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

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