by Staff Writers
Prague (AFP) March 16, 2017
Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei on Thursday slammed "shameful" politicians who ignore refugees as he launched a giant art installation centered on their fate at the National Gallery in Prague.
Called "Law of the Journey", the show features a 70-metre-long (230-foot-long) inflatable boat with 258 oversize refugee figures.
A tribute to the thousands who have drowned crossing the Mediterranean, the piece is Ai's biggest-ever installation. It will be on display until the end of the year.
"My message is very clear: being a politician or a political group, you cannot be so short-sighted, you cannot have no vision, you cannot sacrifice human dignity and human rights for political gain," Ai told AFP.
"I think this is very, very shameful behaviour," he added.
The Czech Republic and the other post-Communist central European members have rejected EU plans to allow Muslim refugees on their territories throughout the migrant crisis.
Immigration from Muslim countries has become a hot political topic in these states, although most refugees have opted for wealthier western countries like Germany or Sweden.
"If we see somebody who has been victimised by war or desperately trying to find a peaceful place, if we don't accept those people, the real challenge and the real crisis is not of all the people who feel the pain but rather for the people who ignore to recognise it or pretend that it doesn't exist," said Ai.
"That is both a tragedy and a crime," said the 59-year-old painter, sculptor and photographer.
Ai spent the last year visiting such migrant and refugee hotspots as the US-Mexican border badlands to the Turkish-Syrian frontier and crowded holding camps on Greek islands.
An outspoken critic of the Chinese government, Ai was detained in 2011 for 81 days and had his passport confiscated for four years.
He later travelled to Berlin where his wife and son live.
Recently he has staged several high-profile exhibitions inspired by migrants, including decking out the columns of Berlin's Konzerthaus with 14,000 orange life jackets from Lesbos.
Last month, he said he looked on in dismay at the Trump presidency, the US entry ban on Syrian refugees, the attempt to deny visas to citizens of several mainly Muslim nations, the pledge to build a wall with Mexico and invoke mass deportations.
Hamam Al-Alil, Iraq (AFP) March 14, 2017
A sea of tents stretches to the horizon at a camp for displaced near Mosul but Ahmed Hassan says he and 17 relatives have to sleep outside because there is no room. Tens of thousands of civilians have poured into camps set up around Mosul as Iraqi forces battle to retake the city from Islamic State group jihadists. "It's a nightmare. No camp will take us in. They're all full," says Hassa ... read more
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|