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Canadian government asks museum to end self-censorship

“The Lands Within Me: expressions by Canadian artists of Arab origin" postponed following 11 September attacks

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It was pressure from the Canadian government that forced the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa to reconsider its decision to cancel a display of work by 26 Canadian artists of Arab origin, “The Lands Within Me: Expressions by Canadian Artists of Arab Origin.” It was the attacks of September 11th by terrorists of Middle Eastern origin that prompted Canada’s largest museum to cancel the show which had been in the planning for more than four years and was originally slated to open on 19 October. Some have suggested that the museum may have been particularly concerned with one video that included an interview with a Palestinian activist in Lebanon. But when the Prime Minister discussed the matter in the House of Commons, the museum was prompted to reconsider its decision. The show has now opened and runs until March 2003. According to Victor Rabinovitch, the president of the museum, a decision was taken to “postpone” the show so curators would have more time to add post 9/11 historical context to the artists’ work.

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