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Iraqi Ministry of Culture Curtails Performing Arts

With the acting minister of defense also taking on the role of minister of culture, as well as an increasing outcry from religious figures against artistic liberties, arts and culture in Iraq are facing a dire situation.
An Iraqi man armed with an AK-47 stands guard in front of a cinema in
Baghdad, May 23, 2003. Shi'ite conservative muslims have warned cinemas
not to play erotic movies. A month after Saddam's fall, theaters have
already started to show European, Turkish or American movies containing
nudity, but are feeling the pressure from clerics to stop airing them.
REUTERS/Jamal Saidi

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The activities that have begun to move forward in the Iraqi cultural scene continue to be afflicted by the woes inherent in a complete reliance on the government, as was the case under the former regime. There is a dependence on the institutions of the central and local (provincial) governments, where leaders, party officials and influential forces are begged for support.

Part of the legacy of Iraqi culture at present involves “praising the authorities.” A significant number of those who used to praise the dictator (former President Saddam Hussein) are now praising his opponents who rule today. Iraq’s official cultural institutions are plagued by those who give unwarranted praise to influential forces and agencies, thereby replicating the same problem they suffered under the former regime.

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