It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

NEWS: Theatre ends play in Sikh protest

page: 1
0
<<   2 >>

log in

join
share:

posted on Dec, 20 2004 @ 02:15 PM
link   
On Saturday hundreds of Sikhs gathered to protest outside a theatre in Birmingham, England. During the clashes between police and protestors, three officers were injured. The theatre production, called Behzti or translated as dishonour, depicts sexual abuse and murder within a temple. The protesters said the play depicts the Sikh religion in a negative way. The theatre owners have refused to censor the play and have been forced to abandon the production for health and safety reasons after talks with police and Sikh community leaders. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Birmingham had also urged for a boycott of the play.
 



news.bbc.co.uk
A play which led to violent protests among the Sikh community in Birmingham has had its run cancelled by the city's Repertory Theatre.

The theatre said it had refused to censor the work and was abandoning it purely on health and safety grounds.

Three police officers were hurt during clashes after 400 demonstrators gathered outside on Saturday.

Protesters said Behzti, which depicts sex abuse and murder in a temple, portrayed the Sikh faith negatively.

The theatre said the "ugly" violence had caused free speech to be curbed.

Stuart Rogers, the executive director of the Rep, told a press conference that the decision had been taken after discussions with police and Sikh community leaders on Monday morning.

Mr Rogers said: "The theatre vigorously defends its right to produce Behzti and other similar high-quality plays that deal with contemporary issues in a multicultural society.

Mohan Singh, from the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in south Birmingham, also welcomed the decision, but said it had come a week too late.

"Free speech can go so far. Maybe 5,000 people would have seen this play over the run," he said.

"Are you going to upset 600,000 thousands Sikhs in Britain and maybe 20 million outside the UK for that?"


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


I thought this worthy of reporting after the recent news on ATS about Christians in Scotland calling for the prosecution of a theatre company for putting on a production portraying Jesus as a gay man. A link to that story is underneath.

Again the issue over the right to free speech is raised, everyone has a right to give and express an opinion. However, in this case, due to violence the writer and the producers of this production have seemingly lost that right.

It is hard to tell whether this really would have infuriated Sikhs all over the world and one has to argue that if you do not like something, do not watch it. However I do see that this is insulting a belief and religion held by many.

So, putting aside the violent reaction, should this production have been stopped? Or should freedom of speech be allowed no matter who and how it offends?


Related News Links:
news.bbc.co.uk
news.bbc.co.uk
www.sky.com

Related AboveTopSecret.com Discussion Threads:
NEWS: Call To Prosecute Over Gay Jesus Play




posted on Dec, 20 2004 @ 03:29 PM
link   

So, putting aside the violent reaction, should this production have been stopped?

Without the violence? Definitely not. With the violence, well, I suppose sometimes one might be tempted to be practical. But, honestly, everyone that was violent at the protests should've been locked up and tried in court. One doesn't get to become violent when there is something one doesn't agree with. Sure, they can protest outside of the theatre to let people know that they aren't violent. But what the hell is the sense in having a violent protest to, er, prove that you aren't violent?


Or should freedom of speech be allowed no matter who and how it offends?

Absolutely. Why should 'offense' be a valid reason for censoring something? If something is 'offensive', well, what of it? How can a society claim to be open if it restricts it speech because people are offended by it? And what would be the point of pretending to be an open society if offensive things are not allowed? Anything worth saying is probably going to offend someone somewhere.

I am surprised only 3 police were injured, the sihks are supposed to be a warrior caste with a warrior religion (not a violent religion notice). But I suppose that they've assimilated to british society.



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 02:27 AM
link   
UK let them in, so they should live by OUR LAWS as its not their country is it? if we went to thier country im sure we would BE FORCED to FOLLOW their LAWS to the letter, but no here in UK we let em get away with rubbish an dictating their laws an stuff.



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 05:42 AM
link   
Kriz posers the questions,


TextSo, putting aside the violent reaction, should this production have been stopped? Or should freedom of speech be allowed no matter who and how it offends?
Aside from the violent reaction, no this play should not be stopped. It is a work of FICTION....Artistic expression, and should not be hindered despite the reaction. Potential offence isnt the same as actual offence, so prior restraint should not be used to squelch artisdtic fiction.

While i agree that some groups can be offended, and hear their idea that this could stereotype them, it does not give those offended the right to resort to violence, especially over a fictional artistic expression.

If you cant control yourself over fiction, how will you deal with real life?



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 06:36 AM
link   

Originally posted by blobby
UK let them in, so they should live by OUR LAWS as its not their country is it? if we went to thier country im sure we would BE FORCED to FOLLOW their LAWS to the letter, but no here in UK we let em get away with rubbish an dictating their laws an stuff.


Well Enoch, I believe it is their country, and our laws are their laws and we did go to their country and we imposed our laws. Did you do history at school or have you not got to that bit yet?

They have every right to protest although I'm not entirely sure they know what they are protesting about. They say it paints the wrong image of the Sikh faith. Which I assume means that by portraying a fictional story within a Sikh temple may put across the idea that this sort of thing happens in real life and all too frequently.

They give little credence to the abilities of the audience to discern fact from fiction, and IMO have done more damage to the image of Sikhism than the play ever would.

[edit on 21-12-2004 by Koka]



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 12:11 PM
link   
I agree this was not the best way of demonstrating their opinion. Only three people were arrested, so thankfully it appears only a tiny minority thought violence was the way to go about things.

An update:


The manager of a second Birmingham theatre company says he is prepared to stage a play cancelled after a violent demonstration by the Sikh community.


So it looks as though the play will be going ahead.


Neal Foster, of the Birmingham Stage Company, said the decision to cancel the play had been made by "cowards".

He said he was now looking at staging the performance at the Old Rep Theatre.

Mr Foster said he hoped the Rep could be persuaded to reconsider its decision to drop Behzti, which was written by a Sikh woman.


Police have said that they will protect anyone going to see the play and made it clear it was the theatre owners who made the decision to cancel the production.

news.bbc.co.uk...



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 12:14 PM
link   
I don't believe they should have cancelled the play. But I do acknowledge that the scene is in bad taste. I'm just unsure whether the author was TRYING to provoke this kind of response.



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 01:07 PM
link   

Originally posted by Nerdling
I don't believe they should have cancelled the play. But I do acknowledge that the scene is in bad taste. I'm just unsure whether the author was TRYING to provoke this kind of response.


I am not sure either Nerdling, however, the writer Gurpreet Kaur Bhatt is a young female Sikh. According to her, other young Sikhs who have seen and/or read the play, were not offended by the content.

news.bbc.co.uk...



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 04:36 PM
link   
As usual members of our society mess up on the idea of RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITES.

Its an old problem. People demand their rights, the right to free speach, in this case but conveniently forget that in return they have a responsibility to the society they live in.

In the case of the Sikh issue. certinaly the people in the play have a right to say / do what they want, but they also have a responsibilty to their local community to maintain good relationships and keep the peace, and to represent the minority groups fairly. This play is not fair.

In this case the play went beyond the limits of good taste, in my opinion, by setting it in a temple. Woild a similar play with christians be allowed to run if it was set in a church?

As nerdling said, the author was probably trying to create a situation where he got free publicity. (Remember the "virgin in a condom" situation a few years ago? The 'artist' wanted debate and attention so she made something that provoked people)



posted on Dec, 21 2004 @ 04:45 PM
link   
In the two World Wars, over 80,000 Sikhs died for the allied forces in battles. Many Sikhs have received the Victoria Cross and the Param Vir Chakras for their gallantry and courage.


( 2 of 11 duties)

4. Treat every person as an equal irrespective of caste, creed, gender, profession, social status, age, race, ability, etc.
5. Speak politely; forgive easily and be humble at all times page 1384 Humility is the word, forgiveness is the virtue, and sweet speech is the magic mantra. Wear these three robes, O sister, and you will captivate your Husband.


en.wikipedia.org...


Sikh's are remarkably calm and non violent, i assume if they were this angry its because they had a good reason.

Im totally with the Sikh's on this one. Artists should be free to express themselvs but there comes a time when you have to draw a line.

from what i heard the artists involved are ex-Sikh influenced by english cultural ideas aparently bent on giving lectures to the Sikh.

Again, don't mess with the Sikhs and the Sikhs won't mess with you.

Its that simple, really.



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 03:01 AM
link   
There is no such thing as positive freedom. It is nothing but idealism, and not in the least pragmatic. We can only have freedom within a closed system or negative freedom.

In this situation, while the artists are free to express themselves, as soon as they involve others, they are subject to the scrutiny of others. This is the truth about freedom of speech in society, in reality, there are a lot of limitations on your thoughts, words and actions.

Hence, given this, the Sikhs are fully within their rights to protest. As are the Roman catholics who protest the depiction of Jesus as gay. The artists should be more responsible.



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 03:12 AM
link   

Originally posted by Indigo_Child
This is the truth about freedom of speech in society, in reality, there are a lot of limitations on your thoughts, words and actions.


I disagree - you call it idealistic, but it's idealistic to assume that nothing nasty will ever get said or done.
I think the limitations are in the ears and eyes of those who are offended by speech. Especially art.



Hence, given this, the Sikhs are fully within their rights to protest. As are the Roman catholics who protest the depiction of Jesus as gay. The artists should be more responsible.


They are within their rights to protest. However artists should be the models for free speech and thought.
The protesters should be more productive.

See also - the old "two knobs on the radio" George Carlin bit... "One changes the channel, and one turns it off!"

Or in this case, don't go to the theatre.


*edit for grammar

[edit on 22-12-2004 by quango]



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 03:29 AM
link   

I disagree - you call it idealistic, but it's idealistic to assume that nothing nasty will ever get said or done.
I think the limitations are in the ears and eyes of those who are offended by speech. Especially art.


I never assumed nothing nasty will be ever said or get done. In fact every moment it does. Yet for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That is just the nature of the universe.



Hence, given this, the Sikhs are fully within their rights to protest. As are the Roman catholics who protest the depiction of Jesus as gay. The artists should be more responsible.



They are within their rights to protest. However artists should be the models for free speech and thought.
The protesters should be more productive.


Art is just expressed words, thoughts and actions. And as I've shown already there is no such as positive freedom. Similarily, there is no positive freedom for art either. You are free to think or do what you want to do yourself, but as soon as you translate that to others, you lose the freedom.
We are as much as a social organism as we are an individual organism.


See also - the old "two knobs on the radio" George Carlin bit... "One changes the channel, and one turns it off!"

Or in this case, don't go to the theatre.


No, I do not agree that apathy is the solution. What these protests are protesting against is their religious figures being abused and wrongly portrayed. They are within their rights too. In the same way you would be, if an artist portrayed you in a wrong and maligning way.

[edit on 22-12-2004 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 06:46 AM
link   

Originally posted by Indigo_Child

Or in this case, don't go to the theatre.


No, I do not agree that apathy is the solution. What these protests are protesting against is their religious figures being abused and wrongly portrayed. They are within their rights too. In the same way you would be, if an artist portrayed you in a wrong and maligning way.


Far from advocating apathy, I think what the protesters should do is write their own plays, music, and art in celebration of their religious figures if they're concerned that "the wrong message is getting out".

Stopping others from presenting their art and preventing others from enjoying it is not a mature decision in a free world.

Certainly, it is within their rights, but to enjoy freedom, one must allow others freedom, as well.



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 07:36 AM
link   
An update:

The theatre considering to show the play has dropped out, saying it will not. This move was by the request of the play writer Gurpreet Kaur Bhatt after she recieved threats, she fears for her safety.

Mr Foster, owner of the theatre company said:


"The plan I came up with was to invite theatres across the country to read the play and discuss it afterwards, to have a debate so there was more understanding about the whole issue," he said.

"I was proceeding with these plans until last night, when I received a request from the author."

Mr Foster added that he had also received several threatening phone calls.


news.bbc.co.uk...



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 08:24 AM
link   

Originally posted by blobby
UK let them in, so they should live by OUR LAWS as its not their country is it?

No, it is their country, they are legal citizens of it and its as much theirs as it is the queen's (who comes from another immigrant family)
They commited a crime by becoming violent. I don't think anyone disputes this.


tartessian
Im totally with the Sikh's on this one.

While the heroism of the colonials in the world wars shouldn't be underestimated, that hardly allows them to beat and threaten with violence anyone who does something that they disagree with. The female sikh playwright obviously wasn't trying to slander and misrepresent sikhdom and sikhs as violent people. The only people who have damaged the reputations of the sikhs and portrayed them as violent unthinking sectarians are those sikhs that became violent at the protest. The irony is incredible.

"this play makes it seem like we are violent people. I'm going to bash you in the face until you stop presenting it. We are not violent. [smash, smash]"


indigo-child
Hence, given this, the Sikhs are fully within their rights to protest.

I don't think anyone is saying that they can't protest. But no matter what they can't use violence.


kriz_4
This move was by the request of the play writer Gurpreet Kaur Bhatt after she recieved threats, she fears for her safety

Absolutely unacceptable. Fear and Intimidation are repugnant and should not be allowed to silence people that one disagree's with.



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 11:20 AM
link   
I agree with you Nygdan that it is unacceptable that she is getting threats. But it is her wish that she does not want the play to be shown. She is obviously very scared. For the theatre to ignore her wish and continue to show the production would be irresponsible.



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 03:34 PM
link   
Firstly, Sikhs are not a warrior class, nor have do they or scripture consider themselves as such --this is dogma. Sikhism is a faith which places altruism above all other virtues, it's a deeply spiritual faith bathed in the belief of a universal consciounsess --WaheGuru. A Sikh is to be considered a Soldier, Saint and scholar -- Sikh means to be "learn": ironicly, they have failed, in the last century, to do this..



Sikh's are remarkably calm and non violent, i assume if they were this angry its because they had a good reason. Im totally with the Sikh's on this one. Artists should be free to express themselvs but there comes a time when you have to draw a line. from what i heard the artists involved are ex-Sikh influenced by english cultural ideas aparently bent on giving lectures to the Sikh. Again, don't mess with the Sikhs and the Sikhs won't mess with you.
Its that simple, really.


You're with the Sikhs due to thier history? That's odd, being that we, Sikhs, rever our pious and virtous history before actualy being pious and virtous.

I spit on these Sikhs; disgraces to the true teachings of the Gurus which denies ignorance and lauds "learning" above all things.

Sikhs are as calm and non-violent as your average citizen in America, awell.

I've been through this bull# my whole life in my Sikh temples --filled with nothing more than ignorant and corrupt officals. These people have been filled with materialism. They have succumbed to the very vices the Firt Guru laid out to be overcome.

I agree with you, however: Don't mess with Sikhs, oppose thier views, contest thier scripture or origins of thier faith, and they'll kill you. It's happened before.....

Deep



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 07:19 PM
link   

Firstly, Sikhs are not a warrior class, nor have do they or scripture consider themselves as such --this is dogma.


Actually Sikhism did adopt warrior traits later to quell Islamic aggression, hence why swords are an important part of it's religion. The later teachers/gurus of Sikhism were warriors too, particularly the 10th one. The Sikhs also fought against the British and defeated them.



posted on Dec, 22 2004 @ 07:30 PM
link   

Originally posted by ZeroDeep
Firstly, Sikhs are not a warrior class, nor have do they or scripture consider themselves as such --this is dogma.

Hm. Why is there a perception of them as such and why are one of their symbols crossed swords?

[img]http://www.stjames-hamptonhill.org.uk/images/Faiths/SymSikh.jpg
This one has the motifs seperated a little

Interesting on the rest, I've never heard that there was this much dissidence in their community. I had thought it was rather "monolithic" (relatively speaking anyway).




top topics



 
0
<<   2 >>

log in

join