Egypt’s censors lift ban on play ‘Before The Revolution’

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In this Wednesday, March 14, 2018 photo, Egyptian director Ahmed El Attar, sits in a room at his office in Cairo, Egypt. (AP/Nariman El-Mofty)
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In this Wednesday, March 14, 2018 photo, staff working for the Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival walk outside their office in Cairo. (AP/Nariman El-Mofty)
Updated 20 March 2018
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Egypt’s censors lift ban on play ‘Before The Revolution’

CAIRO: Egypt’s state censors have allowed the performance of a socially critical play they had prohibited on the day of its Cairo premiere.
Director Ahmed El-Attar had earlier canceled the showing of “Before the Revolution,” a two-actor piece that depicts oppression and stagnation in Egypt before its 2011 popular uprising. He said the removal of five scenes as demanded by the censors heavily distorted it.
In a statement late Monday, organizers thanked the censors for reversing their decision on appeal and permitting it to run “without the disruption of its dramatic construction.”
The play will now run for three nights as opposed to its originally scheduled six in a 100-seat theater, as part of Cairo’s annual Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival. El Attar is also the general manager of the festival.


Ethiopia says British museum must permanently return its artIfacts

Updated 23 April 2018
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Ethiopia says British museum must permanently return its artIfacts

  • The artifacts were plundered by British troops from the fortress of Emperor Tewodros II 150 years ago
  • Among the items on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum are sacred manuscripts and gold 

ADDIS ABABA: Britain must permanently return all artIfacts from Ethiopia held by the Victoria and Albert Museum and Addis Ababa will not accept them on loan, an Ethiopian government official said.
The call comes after the museum, one of London’s most popular tourist attractions, put Ethiopian treasures plundered by British forces on display.
“Well, it would be exciting if the items held at the V&A could be part of a long-term loan with a cultural institution in Ethiopia,” museum director Tristram Hunt said.
“These items have never been on a long-term loan in Ethiopia, but as we look to the future I think what we’re interested in are partnerships around conservation, interpretation, heritage management, and these need to be supported by government assistance so that institutions like the V&A can support sister institutions in Ethiopia.”
Among the items on display are sacred manuscripts and gold taken from the Battle of Maqdala 150 years ago, when British troops ransacked the fortress of Emperor Tewodros II.
The offer of a loan did not go far enough for Ethiopia.
“What we have asked (for) was the restitution of our heritage, our Maqdala heritage, looted from Maqdala 150 years ago. We presented our request in 2007 and we are waiting for it,” said government minister Hirut Woldemariam said.
Ephrem Amare, Ethiopian National Museum director, added: “It is clearly known where these treasures came from and whom they belong to. Our main demand has never been to borrow them. Ethiopia’s demand has always been the restoration of those illegally looted treasures. Not to borrow them.”
The V&A could not immediately be reached for further comment on Monday.
In launching the Maqdala 1868 exhibition of what Hunt called “stunning pieces with a complex history” this month, he said the display had been organized in consultation with the Ethiopian community in London.
“As custodians of these Ethiopian treasures, we have a responsibility to celebrate the beauty of their craftsmanship, shine a light on their cultural and religious significance and reflect on their living meaning, while being open about how they came to Britain,” he said in a blog on the museum website.