“This regime views culture as pagan, so we want the minister to step down”
The authorities say they are fighting corruption, but the directors of the cultural institutions that we support have been fired without any explanation. If they are under suspicion of corruption, why haven’t the authorities launched any investigations?There are about 200 of us camping out here every day, but on Tuesday dozens of artists and other civilians joined our ranks in support of our cause because Salafist officials, as well as Muslim Brotherhood sympathisers like Ahmad Al-Mogheer, threatened to come here and chase us out. They followed through on their threat, but the police intervened. We had sent out a message the previous night that we would hold President Morsi responsible for any attacks on us, because he had not denounced the many threats by fundamentalists to violently chase us out.President Morsi sent a representative, Imed Abdelghafour, to negotiate with us on Monday, but we refused to see him because the minister’s resignation is a non-negotiable condition for us. The new minister is completely unknown in the Egyptian intellectual and artistic world; he has never accomplished anything notable in the cultural domain. His nomination reveals not only a lack of vision for the sector but also the government’s desire to rein in artistic expression, which, deny it as they may, the Muslim Brothers consider to be pagan.