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In The End They Will Stand Alone.

January 13, 2012

We are watching from the far. Safe behind our screens.
Will we launch ourselves to uncertainty, suppression, threat and fear? Will we go and help, or at least witness and report, such as Joris Ivens and Ernest Hemingway did? Such as Carolin Emcke, Monika Hauser and Paolo Pellegrin do? I wish we will. I hope we will.

Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, an Egyptian art student and blogger, published a few days back nude images of herself along with a brief note:

Put on trial the artists’ models who posed nude for art schools until the early 70s, hide the art books and destroy the nude statues of antiquity, then undress and stand before a mirror and burn your bodies that you despise to forever rid yourselves of your sexual hangups before you direct your humiliation and chauvinism and dare
to try to deny me my freedom of expression

The three images of herself with a yellow censorship bar on her eyes, mouth and vagina made the headlines all over the world. I saw them in a German newspaper. Trying to find out more about this brave person I looked around on the web. I did expect the humiliations,  death and rape threats I encountered. In shock and disbelief left me the fact, that most western news pages only published Aliaa Magda Elmahdy’s work pixellated. Pixellated nipples, pixellated breasts, pixellated crotch. Journalists out there: you report from free countries in wich freedom of expression and speech is guaranteed to you by your constitution! What are you scared of? What do you fear? – And why do you not publish any of the other nude images Aliaa Magda Elmahdy has collected in this blog post? Naked males and females, nude drawings and photography. Would you publish a pixellated L’Origine du Monde and insult Gustave Courbet?

Aliaa Magda Elmahdy has stared a veil campaign. You can find it here.
She runs several blogs, mostly bilingual Arabic/English. Find all links to her blogs collected here.
If you came for the famous post with naked males and females, go here and to follow her on Twitter go here.
Should you want to support the cause, check here. Dutch and Israeli women as well as Hamburg based Iranian writer Ziba Nawak showed their support already. We’re still waiting for nude men to join, solidarize, take their clothes of, take a snap and  fly their flags of nudity.

In the last weeks, I came across all these people I mentioned in the beginning. I read their book, saw their images, watched their movies, listened to their words in the run of only a few days. Meet Carolin Emcke here, support medica mondiale founded by Monika Hauser, watch  Joris Ivens films Regen or The Spanish Earth on youtube, flip through Paolo Pellegrin’s work.  (Or go see his latest exhibition free of charge here – should you be in Munich that is…my friend Enrico Strathausen made me go and I am so glad I came!)

Oh, yes and: Hemingway…when have you been last at your local public library? Go, read!

Last not least: No, I do not have the rights. But the Musée d’Orsay is absolutely worth the trip, the time and the money. It’s been a while the Musée d’Orsay and I last met. Go there. No  prints can show you what they do.

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