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memri
April 12, 2019 No.
7994

Lebanese Actress Nidal Al-Ashkar: No Freedom Of Speech In The Arab World; Change Would Require Real Transformative Revolutions

Lebanese actress Nidal Al-Ashkbar said in a March 28, 2019 interview on Al-Hurra TV (U.S.) that theater is not an intrinsic part of education and culture in Lebanon in the Arab world because there is no freedom of speech or openness in the region, such that actors cannot criticize anyone or talk about religion or sex. She said that it is impossible for there to be theater in the Arab world unless real, transformative revolutions bring about democratic rule.

To view the clip of Nidal Al-Ashkbar on MEMRI TV, click here or below.

"The Obstacle Is That There Is No Freedom, Free Speech Frightens Them... There Is No Openness In The Arab World – It Is Closed And It Is Shutting Down Even More"

Nidal Al-Ashkar: "There is no theater in the Arab world in its entirety. Not even in Lebanon. There are shows, but the theater has not become an intrinsic part of the education and of the social and human culture in Lebanon and the Arab world. It cannot become..."

Interviewer: "What's the obstacle?"

Nidal Al-Ashkar: "The obstacle is that there is no freedom. Free speech frightens them. They are afraid of free people, so they don't like actors. Besides, there is no openness in the Arab world. It is closed and it is shutting down even more."

[...]

Theater "Will Continue To Be Impossible Until There Are Real And Transformative Revolutions In The Arab World And A Human Democratic Rule Emerges, Until The People Really Take Part In Their Government"

"It is impossible for there to be theater in the Arab world."

Interviewer: "As long as freedoms are the way they are..."

Nidal Al-Ashkar: "It will continue to be impossible until there are real and transformative revolutions in the Arab world and a human democratic rule emerges.

"Until the people really take part in their government, it will continue to be impossible, impossible, impossible. The actors say: We cannot talk about religion, we cannot talk about sex, we cannot talk about..."

Interviewer: "We cannot criticize the leader..."

"If We Cannot Bring About Deep Change Through Laws And Legislation, We Won't Be Able To Do Anything"

Nidal Al-Ashkar: "We cannot criticize anyone. The people who voice some criticism here and there are part of the regime. The regime lets them speak a little so that it can claim that there is freedom."

[...]

Interviewer: "Is there no hope? People who hear you will become depressed. What's the solution? We want solutions."

Nidal Al-Ashkar: "There are no solutions. Unless we change our countries...

[...]

"If we cannot bring about deep change through laws and legislation, we won't be able to do anything."