Lebanon: Theatre play banned in ‘climate of fear’
On 28 August 2013, director and filmmaker Lucien Bourjeily was summoned to the Lebanese Censorship Bureau and told that his play, ‘Will It Pass or Not?’, could not go ahead. The play, which tackles the theme of censorship head on, poses the difficult question that any Lebanese artist who explores controversial or sensitive issues must consider.
The Winter 2013 print edition of Index on Censorship magazine contained an article, which in February 2014 was also posted to indexoncensorship.org, featuring an interview with Lucien Bourjeily about the censorship of his play ‘Will It Pass or Not?’. An excerpt:
“When writer Lucien Bourjeily made censorship the theme of his latest play, he knew he was in for a battle. And he was right. His play about censorship ended up being banned. Not surprisingly, he thinks this decision tells its own story about Lebanon today.
“Because the censorship law in Lebanon is so vague and elusive,” he says, artwork that might have received approval two years ago are “censored or banned today”.
“In this climate of fear,” he adds, “the military obviously becomes more present in day-to-day life, tightening security (through countless check points in almost every corner of Lebanon) and tightening their grip on freedom of expression. For the near future, I fear that we will be hearing about more bans, more censorship, and more constraints on freedom of speech in Lebanon: censorship thrives when the state feels insecure or when it makes the common mistake of correlating security and freedom of expression.” ”
» Read the article on www.indexoncensorship.org
» Lucien Bourjeily’s home page: bourjeily.com