re-open the virtual jihadi show

Dear President Jackson,

I strongly protest RPI’s decision to censor and close Wafaa Bilal’s
The Night of Bush Capturing: Virtual Jihadi show and ask that it be
re-opened. As an artist and member of the academic community at the
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I am appalled that an
institution of higher education – the ostensible embodiment of
knowledge and enlightenment –  would infringe on freedoms of speech
and expression, not to mention grossly misinterpret, misrepresent, and
insult Mr. Bilal and his work. For the past two decades Mr. Bilal has
worked tirelessly to bring awareness and an end to injustice and
violence in both of his countries, the United States and Iraq. Both
RPI’s and the City of Troy’s decision to shut down the exhibition and
the “Art, Freedom, Democracy” series smacks of hypocrisy and irony,
not to mention that participant Professor Steve Kurtz in recent years
has suffered similar accusations though much worse treatment. Now more
than ever, in this time of increasing censorship and surveillance in
our country, it is of the utmost importance to protect these freedoms,
to reclaim our rights, and to support art as a powerful cultural force
and expression of freedom.


Alicia Chester


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