I first heard that Cirque du Soleil (CdS) were going to be in the region when I heard about their Beirut performance, I was excited and bit sad that I couldn’t attend. I then learned that they will be in Amman at the end of June and I got really excited until a couple of days later I also learned that they will be in Tel Aviv performing in August. My heart fell. In talking to various people here in Amman we seem to be dismayed at this decision by Cirque du Soleil. It seems that CdS are not respecting the call for Boycott and that is just unacceptable.
The Jordanian Popular Boycott Movement has sent a letter to Cirque du Soleil that calls on them to cancel their show in Tel Aviv. Below is the letter and a list of contacts in which you too can call on Cirque du Soleil. Email them, tweet to them, say something on their Facebook page.
Hopefully with our collective voices they will cancel their show in Tel Aviv, otherwise I know I will not be going to the circus :(!
Cirque du Soleil contacts:
Twitter: @cirque (hastag being used is #CDSCancelIsrael)
The letter sent by the Jordanian Popular Boycott Movement:
“Dear Cirque Du Soleil,
Date: May 2012
“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral”―Paulo Freire
As Jordanians and as conscientious citizens of the world, we are appalled to learn that Cirque du Soleil is scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv this August. We are strong advocates of the arts and of cultural exchange, but the choice of Cirque du Soleil to entertain those who commit crimes of war and against humanity is shameful.
As often neglected by mainstream media, Zionist militias (such as the Haganah) started arriving in Palestine back in 1917. Through land-theft, ethnic cleansing, displacement of native people, terrorizing innocent civilians, and the distortion of natural terrain, what is referred to today as the “State of Israel” was created. At present, this so-called State grew to become more brutal, and continues to rob our land, massacre our people, appropriate our cultural heritage, and commit what is now known as the crime of apartheid. This is not a matter of opinion or perspective; it is an issue of historical events and documented facts.
Since the establishment of this colonial entity and until this day, our people have resorted to various forms of resistance, be it armed or non-violent, organized or popular. For us, to resist is to exist. Boycott strategies are but one form of peaceful resistance that we choose to implement. We believe that artists have a responsibility towards what is righteous, as art should not stand neutral and indifferent towards injustice; this is why more than 500 artists in Montreal alone have decided to boycott. We ask you to join them.
Under what you call the Global Citizenship section of your website, you state that “Ever since Cirque du Soleil had the resources to pursue its dreams and perform around the world, it chose to become involved in communities… Concerned with the future, Cirque du Soleil turned its attention and resources to global issues… Cirque du Soleil wants above all to take its place in society as a good citizen, with all the duties and responsibilities that go with citizenship”.
A “good citizen” does not side with those who commit genocides. Your participation there will help them in promoting themselves as peace lovers; this so-called State has mastered the game of “criminal-record laundry” using the arts and culture, and you will be contributing to that.
We urge you as humans and as artists to take a stand against entertaining those who have and continue to commit various forms of atrocities. This is not a political position that we are asking you to take, but one of justice and human dignity. Take the stand that so many freedom fighters have taken before, cancel your show in Tel Aviv.
Should Cirque du Soleil decide to boycott, we will be your strongest promoters in Jordan and the region, but if you choose to go ahead as planned, then we will be obliged to launch a boycott campaign against the event in Jordan, and we will urge other boycott movements around the world to do the same.
Finally, and despite your decision, we ask that you share this letter amongst members and artists in your group, for it is their right to be aware of what they are taking part in.
The Jordanian Popular Boycott Movement”