What Is Freedom? How Do You Preserve It?

The following press release and accompanying info concern an art competition and exhibit that will take place later this year in London. Given that the UK is probably the most thoroughly and blatantly totalitarian country in Western Europe, it’s doubtful whether any truly “edgy” art will ever see the light of day there. Especially any work that deals with the Religion of You-Know-What.

Nevertheless, I urge enterprising artists to go for it. How could the judges resist — just to pick a random hypothetical example — a depiction of Mohammed wearing a Che t-shirt and a pussy hat?

Passion for Freedom Art Festival

“The festival has a simple mission — which is to display the work of artists who are thinking seriously about freedom, what it means and how you preserve it. Passion for Freedom celebrates the people who not only do it, but who mean it. Go if you can — London’s stunning ‘Passion for Freedom’ exhibition is worth an hour of anyone’s time”

— Douglas Murray

London celebrates the 10th Annual Passion For Freedom Art Festival

Passion For Freedom ART COMPETITION IS OPEN NOW — DEADLINE 31 July 2018

Films, books and journalists featured along with several dozen artworks from all over the world.

London, 1st October 2018:

The internationally renowned Passion For Freedom art festival will open in London on Monday 1st October at its new home in the Royal Opera Arcade Gallery & La Galleria Pall Mall. The exhibition will showcase uncensored art from the UK, Europe and around the world, promoting human rights, highlighting injustice and celebrating artistic freedom of expression.

The festival asks artists to consider three questions, the Passion For Freedom 3 (PFF3):

  • What is freedom?
  • How do you preserve it?
  • How do you celebrate it?

Passion For Freedom was started in London by a small group of friends who shared a goal of achieving basic human rights for all and decided to use art as both their weapon and their shield. Predominantly young women, they also sought to highlight the hypocrisy of the West when it comes to the female body.

The organizers focus on controversial and socially sensitive topics, often putting their lives and safety at risk.

Just three years ago (February 14, 2015) Passion For Freedom took part in a conference on freedom of speech, organized by the Lars Vilks Committee (the support organization of Lars Vilks, a Swedish artist and art historian famous for a drawing depicting the prophet Mohammed as a dog), which became the target of an Islamic terrorist. One person died in the shooting, Finn Nørgaard, a Danish filmmaker.

“They not only want to kill us. They want us to stop talking. Therefore, we should continue,” said Agnieszka Kołek, who immediately after the shooting continued the conference.

Founder Camilla Forest commented:

‘This is the festival’s tenth year and it is going from strength to strength. We exhibit more and more exciting works every time and I expect 2018 to be our greatest year so far. The festival works now as an indicator for the level of freedom on a given continent, nation or even city. At our exhibition you will see what is happening in Venezuela, China, Pakistan, England or Poland and we are succeeding in removing the veil from these places. It seems anyone who limits freedom inevitably faces an artist’s brush or singers verse, tyrants and great artistic movements go hand in hand.

‘As such, we will have to be around a while yet. We will continue our mantra of protecting and strengthening freedom, and our dream of the London festival becoming an annual celebration of freedom. For any official who appears with a list of restrictions, well it is also our task to check whether they still have a sense of humour or pulse. As Picasso said, “No painting is made to decorate apartments, it is an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy.”‘

For 10 years the festival has shown works from over 600 artists representing 55 countries. This year there will be a collection of films and books, as well as an event about journalism.

Every year there is a Gala Ceremony which closes out the event. Three artists will be nominated for the General Awards and three films will receive our Freedom Film Awards. The audience will vote for their favourite piece of art in the People’s Choice Freedom Award during the Gala Ceremony.

The festival is supported by world-famous artists such as Ai Weiwei, Mehdi-Georges Lahlou and the Iranian director Jafar Panahi.

Also to be noted:

Journalist Nominations 2015:

  • Mona Eltahawy, Egypt, USA
  • Raif Badawi, Saudi Arabia
  • Masoumeh Alinejad, Iran/UK
  • Washiqur Rahman, Bangladesh (Killed on 30th March 2015, due to anti-Islamic blog articles)
  • Arvijit Roy, Bangladesh (hacked to death by unknown assailants in Dhaka on 26 February 2015)
  • Zvi Yehezkeli, Israel

Special Guest Artists 2015:

  • Kubra Khademi, Afghanistan
  • Atena Farghadani, Islamic Republic of Iran
  • Jamie McCartney, United Kingdom
  • Jessica Fulford-Dobson, United Kingdom
  • MIMSY, United Kingdom (creator of the header for this post)


31 thoughts on “What Is Freedom? How Do You Preserve It?

  1. The journalist Mona Eltahawy is a poor choice of nominee for promoting a passion for freedom. In 2012 she spray painted one of Pamella Geller’s anti-jihad posters in the NY subway in a fit of anger, proclaiming that her vandalism was only freedom of expression. Ms Eltahawy obviously has difficulty accepting other people’s freedoms that she doesn’t agree with.

    It is jarring to see her name listed along with some who have really suffered in the name of freedom such as Raif Badawi, flogged and jailed by the Saudis, and Arvijit Roy, murdered for his words in Bangladesh.

    • Jen L. Jones a good point for this crazy, passionate woman.

      I do not really know her other than through these links.

      “the opium of the Arabs” referring to Israel, describing, as the magazine elaborated, “an intoxicating way for them to forget their own failings or at least blame them on someone else. Arab leaders have long practice of using Israel as a pretext for maintaining states of emergency at home and putting off reform.”
      She described herself as “a secular, radical feminist Muslim” in a 2011 interview. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mona_Eltahawy

      An interesting life, living on the wire, and a mixed up person. 🙂 who protested, arrested, etc. in Egpyt.

      Decrying all the bad aspects of islam and in particular the muslim brother hood.

      She is exposing islam to all, and many muslims dislike her for doing so.

      Mona seems to be over 30 years a head of her time in writing a book in 1982, and so was able to connect and push this version of MeToo.

      Then her book https://www.amazon.com/Headscarves-Hymens-Middle-Sexual-Revolution/dp/0374536651

      Written By Alifa Rifaat, the story opens with a unmoved by sex with her husband, finally finds him dead and was quite calm about the situation.
      Lays down the foundation of Misogyny in the Middle east.
      Explains that women have no freedoms because men hate women.

      I doubt that her concept of reforming islam will work, but still it is another angle and tool chipping at the brittleness of islam.
      Perhaps she herself did not feel like being “a savage” but wants to be a modern muslima. 🙂

      • On the surface Eltahawy might appear moderate, even reforming. But why did she become so enraged with Geller’s poster that she broke the law by defacing it, and fought with the security team trying to stop her? Perhaps her views on Israel and the Jews are less than enlightened. Perhaps she’s been indoctrinated since birth with Arab anti-Semitism and can’t shake it. Whatever led her in that display of temper and irrationality surely can’t be considered such a positive factor that she would be considered a freedom fighter—no matter what else the publicity around her says.

        I’m aware of her book but feel that she’s all for freedom and critical of Islam if she sees herself as the victim – but she’s not particularly worried about the myriad victims of Islam, past or present.

        Not sure what book you are referring to that she wrote in 1982 – she would have been 15 then.

        I sense that Eltahawy has many similarities with Linda Sarsour, although one doesn’t wear the headscarf and the other does, but both have latched on to the cause of Islam in the modern world, and are exploiting it for their own ends.

        • thanks Jen L. Jones, as in many ways it is good to think and reflect.

          In my above quote ” the opium of the arabs”……. =israel
          Does seem that she is ok with Israel, and detests using Israel as an excuse for not reforming and just what does she need to be reformed.
          Yes needs to be watched, as maybe she supports inherent violence of islam, but not to be used against woman.
          Just what does she mean by reforming islam? Just for females only? and then turn against Israel?
          Improving things for muslima will weaken sharia courts hold.

          I would not be surprised that she is narcissist, and does not want to be called a “savage”. Would be great to know what triggered her irrationality.

          I am not looking to defend her, just looking at how to bring about the fall of islam and it is another angle chipping at it, from the inside.

          Not a fan of Linda Sarsour, as she is very ok with sharia and all things islamic.
          Would be curious to know if these 2 have been interviewed side by side? 🙂

  2. Bad news from the homeland of Conspiracy.
    The British definitely need to strengthen the lower floors of houses and stock up on canned food, pasta and candles by October.

  3. “Given that the UK is probably the most thoroughly and blatantly totalitarian country in Western Europe”

    Really? I look forward to the details. In the meantime I suggest this is an absurd misuse of the word “totalitarian”.

    Here is what the dictionary has to say – “relating to a system of government that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state”.

    • Thanks ECAW; I was going to let that one go. Most Brits decidedly don’t consider themselves subservient to anyone!

      • But pandering to totalitarian Islamic leaders that demand total respect(and that means criticism of Muslims and Islam is often suppressed according to their whims and fancies). Those elites willing or unwilling total subservient mentality to the totalitarian culture that are often spread and imposed by totalitarian Islamic community whims and fancies can be deemed as totalitarian too.
        Their Oriental Islamic culture that are inherently totalitarian and as such their Islamic communities should not be allowed to breed, expand and infect our free Western societies.

    • Well said, “tending towards curtailing freedoms” might be more accurate. Always a British patriot ECAW, even when sorely tested by the Elites.

    • Mr Bodissey is to be admired for continuing to edit an outlet for otherwise hard-to-come-by news, that should be heard and not suppressed in any free country. I am sure there are many dedicated to making his life as difficult as possible, because of his concern for the truth.

      I do not wish to add to the number of his tormentors.

      However, while I do agree that our British leaders are, in common with those of many other Western lands, sadly misguided in failing to grasp the entirely negative nature of an Islamic presence in their countries, the Editor’s uncharacteristically intemperate libel, against a government and Parliament who are at this time standing up to a hostile Russia that does richly merit the accusation of being ‘totalitarian,’ I do find, as a Briton, to be extremely offensive.

      I note that your President is still uncertain of his opposition towards the latest outrageous example of Putin’s increasingly erratic and dangerous behaviour.

      I might also note that you are wont – in GoV’s otherwise intelligent ongoing exposé of dangerous pro-Islamic folly in certain quarters – to be perhaps too hospitable to American ‘Wild West’ fantasies, which seem to prefer the ‘law of the gun’ to more modern and organised methods of maintaining law and order in your country. Certainly, you have at times given space to some correspondents expressing ‘shoot-’em-up’ sentiments that no respectable British person could see as anything but criminal.

      Your President even seems to believe the solution to school shootings is for the teachers to be ‘packing’ so that ‘shoot-outs’ will take place in the classroom!!? This is hardly a sane response to any hostage situation.

      While, to my knowledge, you have never deviated from your stated brief on any irrepressible impulse to deplore such dangerous American fantasies, you have nevertheless seen fit now to take a gratuitous and ill-tempered sideswipe at Britain’s alleged sins.

      Considering the brief of an online organ whose title stirringly recalls the age-old European imperative of resisting the forces of Islam, it would seem best to restrict your observations to the useful and difficult task in hand, and not stray into any unrelated – and contentious – areas.

      I do not think that pressing such irrelevant but fraught issues to further debate would be likely to improve American-British relations, and in any case a dispute would detract from the valuable and unrivalled work of ‘Gates of Vienna,’ for which we are all grateful.

      Please therefore understand that this is written less in recrimination than regret.

  4. Thank you artists, in particular to keep ” freedom of speech” with “the right to offend”.

    Freedom is being able to express truths.
    Many people can find and see the truth, if you are honest in your portrayals of truth with jokes, asides, cartoons, songs, chants, poems, bill boards, movies, theatres, sculptures, posters etc.

  5. To paraphrase the ‘Great Helmsman’ (Mao) “political power” (like FREEDOM) comes from ‘the barrel of a gun’.
    We wish it were not so.
    But then…
    There it is.

    Try living without them, and see…EUrope, Deutchistan, Britain, etc…

  6. https://mimsysylvania.tumblr.com/
    I found this strange site. Why does Britain generate so much madness?
    Pain and blood become the norm. It’s time for the Overton window to score with boards.
    To me, a few years ago it seemed strange that the children’s clothes appeared too many skulls and other horrors. But this is something beyond the bounds.

    • I beleve it’s satirical, Elena.

      The name “Sylvania” (Latin, “Forest Land”) has been applied to several real countries, and one or two fictional ones, notably in the Marx Brothers’ “Duck Soup”, where Groucho was the president!

  7. Baron, I agree that it’s unlikely that this contest will produce anything other than bland portrayals of politically correct threats to equally politically correct freedoms. In fact, the graphic of the cute wee critters having a picnic, while the ISIS-like little animals (who look as dangerous as black-clad marshmallows) wave their guns and flag “threateningly” from the hillside, inspires no fear at all. Shades of Teletubbies gone rogue!

    As for the other commenters who question the totalitarian nature of the UK, as a native born Brit who is now a proud Canadian I can say that I’m horrified by what I see happening in the UK now: the barring of conservative journalists, authors, and activists from the country, the state hounding of Tommy Robinson, the undue jail sentences when so-called “hate” is involved, the fear of the ordinary citizen to speak freely, fly their own flag, and so on. Complete subservience is required to the powers-that-be in certain areas of thought (Islam taking precedence here) – sounds totalitarian to me.

    • We need a new word to describe the coercive fear-based regime in the UK, Germany, and Sweden. “Totalitarian” just doesn’t quite cover it; the word is too old-fashioned. It conjures up images of jackboots and concentration camps and firing squads, which are not necessary (so far) to accomplish the state’s purposes.

      The current regime in the UK is far more successful in its brainwashing of the populace than the Soviets or the Nazis could ever have dreamed of. The primary technique is a combination of indoctrination and fear: the indoctrination to make people actually believe the state-imposed ideology, at least to a certain extent; and fear of being prosecuted, of losing one’s job, of having one’s children taken away, etc. Those who don’t really believe the “racism” guff are at least well aware that they need to keep their mouths shut. But enough people do believe it to keep the system functioning.

      The current move towards a more overtly totalitarian system is an indication that the brainwash-and-intimidate regime is no longer fully effective.

      • Yes, we need a new word – will have to put my thinking hat on.

        Wish Orwell were here to give us a hand. “If you control the language … “

    • “as a native born Brit who is now a proud Canadian I can say that I’m horrified by what I see happening in the UK now”

      I feel the same and I have little optimism for the future, not least because of all the friends and family I have urged to inform themselves about Islam not one has done so, even those who know there is a problem. I hear of adults whose children tell them “You can’t say that!” They haven’t started reporting their parents to the thought police yet, as far as I know, but I know of some who won’t go near certain areas of the internet and urge their parents not to either for their own safety. The thought that there is something wrong with being afraid to read and think certain things does not seem to occur to them.

      The anti-West/pro-Islam view has seeped into schools, universities, the press and even the church. They control the limits of language and thought to the point where a sort of paralysis kicks in at a certain point of questioning. We know all that don’t we?

      But that doesn’t mean Britain is totalitarian. I do not like to see counter jihad people being banned from Britain either, see here:
      but the Home Secretary is using long established legal powers just as Donald Trump was when he banned people from certain countries.

      Are you not equally horrified by what you see happening in Canada:

      And correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe you don’t have any anti-Islamisation political parties as we do, the latest of which and in my opinion the most hopeful is For Britain led by the redoubtable Anne Marie Waters:

      And as for finding a new word, let’s start the ball rolling with “hypnotarian”.

      • Excellent choice! That’s a good start towards finding a more appropriate word. You’re right that “totalitarian” just doesn’t cut it.

  8. Meanwhile, is it fair that we nonbelievers(who already have very little freedom to speak of) have to live with less and less freedom as their forever intolerant Islamic community deviously Islamize more and more countries with their horrific mosques?

  9. Well, ‘GoV’ has once again, under the Baron’s staunchly honest direction, opened a fruitful avenue of discussion, where there might only have been angry posturing!

    It strikes me that ‘groupthink’ may be the mot juste for what we want to say about British censoriousness. It is redolent of our creeping psychological epidemic of Political Correctness.

    ‘ECAW’ is justified in deploring this phenomenon, and the Editor’s related observation that, where people are apparently willingly complicit in their own brainwashing, without needing the encouragement of torturers, or the suspension of the rule of law, the end result can look much the same.

    But in looking for the source of this dictatorship of ideas and attitudes we must surely look to the subtle and effective exploitation of our natural human sense of community through the insidious spread of Cultural Marxism, as that Dark Art is practiced by the International Left.

    I have admitted that our Government is fatally weak, and blown hither and thither by sociological and ideological forces it barely understands, but it doesn’t impose this stuff in any self-consciously dictatorial manner that would be typical of the former Soviet Union, or indeed Putin’s Russia, and therefore doesn’t merit condemnation as the actual author of all our woes – however weak and unwittingly complicit it is in the ongoing subversion of decent moral values.

    But of course the discovery of true moral values remains the free individual’s responsibility, which will ultimately prove a corrective to the prescriptive diktats of mere ideology, that inculcates only mindless obedience.

    No risk of groupthink on the Baron’s watch, I’m delighted to say!

    • but it doesn’t impose this stuff in any self-consciously dictatorial manner

      I disagree. The well-funded efforts of “Common Purpose” represent a quite conscious state program designed to convert the public narrative to one that suits the no-borders globalists. And it seems to have been quite successful to date.

        • Clearly many in positions of influence in the UK are morally unfit for office. Half-baked ideologies are perverting everything they touch. Our leaders, at best, are not either bright or honest enough to grasp what is happening. Authority takes the line of least resistance, fearing political agitators more than it respects decent people. Moral collapse proceeds apace in the guise of progressive ideology. Values are turned upside-down. Money is squandered on follies while necessities are starved of cash. We are rotting from the inside, while a feral Russian wolf prowls around us, awaiting his chance to pounce. He hasn’t come to save us, but to pick our bones. Will even this threat shake us out of our decline? Will our government get a grip at last?

          • “… a feral Russian wolf prowls around us, awaiting his chance to pounce.” I notice the Russophobia has picked up even on sites like this. People who make these statements know little to nothing about Russia. The biggest feral wolf prowling around is the U.S.

      • ‘Common Purpose’ is not an agency of the British State. It is a private company selling expensive courses in trendy [ordure]. It trains people in the mantras of comforting groupthink, and gives mediocre nonentities the illusion of ability and achievement. Unfortunately, too many powerful people like to appoint and promote such conforming yes-men, who they see as unchallenging. It is such conspiracies of mediocrity that embrace unthinking political correctness, and are receptive to the prescriptive dogma of Cultural Marxism. The effect of this insidious process throughout society, and on politics and government, is to vitiate democracy.

        I have already argued that British government is being partly taken over by such influence. The system itself otherwise retains all the features of democracy – albeit it is an imperfect one. This is not true of Putin’s one-man rule, which he has deliberately imposed upon Russia. I say again, for you to relegate Britain to the moral level of such a dictator is insulting in the extreme. You should in all decency remove that slur from the body of your text.

        You are being not a little dogmatic and bullying on this point, despite your vaunted credentials as the foe of dictatorial behaviour.

        In view of your normally unerring sense of reason and decency, I will assume you have had a particularly trying day, and there let the matter rest.

        • Government employees in Her Majesty’s Civil Service are sometimes required as part of their job to take the Common Purpose course or whatever it’s called. That makes it a state function as far as I’m concerned, regardless of its ostensibly private status.

          • No – really, that won’t do: Your reasoning there is mere sophistry. It is certainly scandalous to think of taxpayers’ money being squandered in this way, but that is just some fellow-travelling bureaucrat, who infests the woodwork of Civil Service premises, deciding that his minions will be required to attend training sessions provided by an outside commercial service. Common Purpose simply is not, as you stubbornly continue to insist despite the actual facts of the matter, any sort of government project, agency or policy.

            In no way have you justified your extreme accusation that the behaviour of Her Majesty’s government, even with all its regrettable failings, qualifies the UK to be called ‘probably the most thoroughly and blatantly totalitarian country in Western Europe.’

            Those dubious Imperial laurels firmly crown the head of Vladimir Putin, Dictator of Russia.

            I really did think you were better than this. Your slur is just petty, nasty and – frankly – ridiculous.

            Criticise my country’s real failings, by all means. But vindictive, unsubstantiated exaggeration like this is low, and uncalled for. And it tends to somewhat impair the respect one has for GoV’s judgment.

            I must wonder if perhaps the agenda here is a lurking respect for the Russian strongman, whom some see as a possible Christian liberator of Europe?

            Well, if such there are, their fantasy has now been blown out of the water by Putin’s increasingly crazy and lethal adventurism in the service of his own aggrandisement. Whatever mistakes European leaders have made in dealing with Putin, that man is certainly not coming to do us in the West any good.

            Regrettably, I can no longer feel comfortable in the company of anti-British Americans, whose perspectives vis-a-vis Britain and Russia seem warped, to say the least.

  10. You twit me for an incomplete statement of my obvious point, a point which was intended to hold to account this usually more enlightened American Website, for it’s recent sweepingly anti-British sentiments:

    ‘In no way have you justified your extreme accusation that the behaviour of Her Majesty’s government, even with all its regrettable failings, qualifies the UK to be called ‘probably the most thoroughly and blatantly totalitarian country in Western Europe.’

    The canard to which I refer is in any case but a straw man in that limited context: Britain is neither more nor less guilty in comparison with the several presumably lesser national Totalitarianisms for which you implicate the rest of that geographical group. The simple fact is that no country in Western Europe is yet totalitarian – despite the EU nomenklatura’s alien dreams of democratic centralism.

    And in Europe’s East they passionately value their new-found democratic independence, and look fearfully in another direction entirely for the alarming recrudescence of totalitarianism.

    So again I say: ‘Those dubious Imperial laurels [as of a new Tsar] firmly crown the head of Vladimir Putin, Dictator of Russia.’

    Putin threatens Europe and the wider West, representing a primitive, ruthless political Tyrannosaurus Rex hostile to Europe’s more evolved, open societies.

    Re-read your Popper. You seem politically confused as to whence the greatest danger for Europe proceeds, if geographically exact in correcting my imperfectly-presented point.

    Your schoolmasterly tutting in no way embarrasses my contempt for GoV’s stubborn and ridiculous insistence on the absolute wickedness of the democratic institutions of my own country, even as Britain is suffering at the hands of an undoubted criminal who thinks nothing of presiding over reckless and barbarous murders here – in my own home!

    The extreme lack of perspective, or of any generous sense of simple justice, that allows you to dismiss such a serious point – however poorly expressed it was – is redolent of the Russian dictator’s smirking, supercilious dismissal of the considered official protests of a respectable nation against the highly suspect behaviour which Russia has for far too long been getting away with.

    Putin does not believe he has to answer for any charges. This man has cheated his own people for years, but now that he presumes he is above the laws of other countries also, you and GoV choose to single out Britain, his victim of the moment, for your particular contempt!

    Your own attempt to divert unfavourable attention from Putin by means of an easy debating society put-down is both petty, and fails to invalidate my attempt to recall the fundamental difference between an open society and a closed one: Only in the former do the people not run the risk of being murdered by the state. This is no compliment to government – it is simply a recognition that civilised countries are regulated by constitutional constraints, not driven by the law of the jungle which today obtains in Russian affairs.

    I now recognise yourself, as indeed also this Website’s very own Editor, as behaving in a bullying and high-handed manner towards someone who dares to put in a good word for a country which, though imperfect, at least does not engage in blatant, reckless, sadistic gangsterism at home and abroad!

    And there it is – the trampling, mad Russian Circus Elephant in the room.

    In an unpleasantly real sense, Vladimir Putin is very much a presence in Western Europe – his agents are running riot on our streets! He already believes that he has the absolute Imperial right to interfere in any place where he can seize his own advantage.

    To him, there is no petty distinction of Western or Eastern Europe, of here or there – there is simply no Europe, only Greater Russia; for this absolutist Tsar there is only his own unchallengeable Will!

    Therefore I contemptuously fling your smug dismissal back in your teeth! It is you, and all of Russia’s apparent fellow-travellers, who should learn to know their place.

    I know my place, quite well enough, thank-you: And it is most certainly a place where Russia does not belong! Neither can GoV’s intemperate libel be accepted in a Britain whose constitutional integrity is not to be lumped in with a country whose recent election pantomime again left a dictator above the law!

    It is precisely such an inexact geographical placing of totalitarianism, as this, that is most to be deplored.

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