Prominent artists in Egypt have widely condemned the recent constitutional declaration, announced by President Mohamed Morsi on Thursday.  Though the declaration has divided the executive and the judiciary powers, it has succeeded in uniting the opposition under one cause.
Artists such as Nabil El Halafawy and Sherihan have come out to condemn Morsy’s self-appointment of powers and his dismissal of the judiciary, saying his decisions threaten state institutions.
El Halafawy expressed his disillusionment with Morsi’s decisions through Twitter, saying Morsy was “canceling his own legitimacy, the problem is that this would have added up if Morsi were ruling using revolutionary legitimacy, but he is depending on constitutional legitimacy or the ballot box.”
El Halafawy added that the second and fifth articles of the constitutional declaration, dealing with the protection of the Constituent Assembly, Shura Council and president”s decisions, were “unimaginable” and “unprecedented.”
Sherihan said, also through Twitter, that Morsi had “taken away the judiciary”s independence.”
“As an artist, it is important for me to live in a free society. My art is about freedom and liberty. Anything that will minimise or reduce this freedom of expression is not on the right track. This constitutional declaration is compromising both liberty and justice and I cannot stand for it. I am not a political artist but I am an Egyptian after all,” said artist Nihal Wahby, who was active in the Tahrir protest last Friday.
Nabta, an initiative for encouraging dialogue and spaces for co-creation, has cancelled its events because of recent happenings, “our initiative is about creating dialogue and now Tahrir is the biggest place where dialogue is taking place, in addition to mass mobilisation on the streets,” said Aly Azmy, founder of Nabta.
The Riff Band that was set to celebrate their 10th anniversary with a big concert in the MUST Opera House cancelled their performance early on Friday morning. A simple message on the several social media sites of the band said that the concert was postponed until further notice. “It was an easy and unanimous decision,” Ahmed Harfoush, singer and director of The Riff Band, said. “We felt it was inappropriate to celebrate and dance while on the other side of town people were marching for the betterment of Egypt. The people of MUST were understanding and supportive as well.”
Other venues such as El Sawy Culture Wheel and the Opera House have not cancelled any events and will continue activities as planned. “We get updates as we go along so tomorrow morning something may be cancelled but as of today nothing has changed,” the Wheel said.
By Omar El Adl