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Censorship has returned

France debate on the limits of art

"I'm not an activist.  My job is to show, not to judge ".

The phrase reads a sign at the entrance of the exhibition "Fantôme Foyer" (ghost house) and is of photographer Ahlam Shibli, which Jeu de Paume gallery currently devotes a retrospective.
The text, which begins with the title "Avertissement" (warning), was withdrawn after protests sounded.

The museum had to close partially due to pump alarms and principal received death threats.

The retrospective of the photographer Palestinian, opened in late May, meets six series, including the controversial "Death": 68 photographs of Palestinian guerrillas who gave their lives in their fight against Israel.

Shibli photographed posters on the walls of Nablus, the largest city in the West Bank and where several Palestinian refugee camps.

With "Death", the photographer wanted to show as dead guerrillas are still alive in the open and in memory of the population.

The series has already been shown in other museums, the MACBA in Barcelona last.

But only in Paris has sparked protests.

In a letter to the Minister of Culture, Aurélie Pilippetti, the board of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF) accused the museum of "exalting terrorism".

The council criticized especially text accompanying the work, in which the artist uses the term "martyrs" to qualify the suicide bombers.

Since then, at the entrance of the exhibition can be the sign that the photographer explains that snapshots in color and black and white are not used for advertising or glorifying terrorism.

However, there have been threats against the museum and the principal.

In mid-June, the France-Israel held a demonstration outside the center and demanded the closure of the exhibition, scheduled for September 1.

"Censorship is back," headlined the French press when the facebook profile of the Jeu de Paume gallery was closed as early as March.

The museum published there one black and white photo on the occasion of the exhibition "Laure Albin Guillot (1879-1962), l'enjeu classique".

In the picture you see a naked woman.

Only sex was covered with a white towel.

According to the museum, the facebook page was closed 24 hours.

Later, the woman's chest was covered with a black stripe.

The ban on publishing nude photos form part of the rules of the American social network.

"I do not distinguish between a work of art and a pornographic image is not only dubious, but especially a dangerous mix," then reacted the gallery.

In fall 2012, the Paris Institute of the Arab World (IMA) withdrew a video installation by Moroccan artist Mounir Fatmi on which was the writer Salman Rushdie sleeping with a clock in the background.

The artist wanted to show her the silence of Arab intellectuals after the "fatwa" against British-Indian author, on whose head the Iranian revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, offered a million dollars.

Meanwhile, the reward is USD 3.3 million.

As explained at the time the artist to the media, climate generated after the movie "Innocence of Muslims", which sparked strong protests in several Arab countries, had led to self-censorship of the museum.

Only a week before, had to withdraw Fatmi cultural festival "Le Printemps de Septembre" in Toulouse, his installation "Technologica" under pressure from the Muslim community.

Due to a technical problem, the verses of the Quran could not be projected onto a facade, but on the floor, and a woman walked over it without realizing it.

"The thing that baffles me is that happens in France and in the Maghreb or in Saudi Arabia," said the artist.

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