Miss Mabrouk of Egypt

Check the archives too - a lot of good stuff to enjoy. Me myself? Off to new adventures in the blogosphere, if time permits.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Sheehan Award Nominee

It wasn’t enough for blogger Freedom to ask the minister of culture to shoot himself, now he is guilty of “grilling” the artists who perished in the Beni Suef theatre fire. That is from a blog positioned as a human rights activist’s forum. I now really think she is capable of sinking even lower; hence the nomination to the Sheehan Award.

There is supposed to be a protest this evening, at the opening of the experimental theatre festival which will be boycotted by many as a response to the negligence that made this fire so lethal. Good. Too bad the protests were not held before the fire. It would have saved the lives of the now killed artists, critics and spectators – some 45 in total. Instead of refusing to work in make-shift theatres that are not secure, the same people who are now protesting have made their careers by following suit and adapt to the system. Instead of utilizing the Beni Suef building in a way as safe as possible, the theatre group BLOCKED the main entrance with stage props. They surrounded the walls with paper décor. They lit candles on the stage; candles that were knocked over and caused the inferno.

There is more negligence. The official protest site is listing a few important points that should be taken seriously by the government but also by the performers and directors.

1) The employees of the theatre and all people responsible for supplying fire extinguishers disappeared. Fire extinguishers were found locked up in cabinets. Advice: Next time you’re on tour, inspect the facilities, if these cannot be approved, refuse to perform and tell your audience why.

2) Fire trucks and ambulances were late, ineffective and poorly equipped. Note: that is the situation throughout the country and the government is to be blamed. Next time, do not use any props or décor that endanger security, assume the government will fail to rescue your spectators.

The site is listing several other points of negligence (scroll down to the English translation). I do support their fight against the authorities. It is a tragedy; a criminal investigation need to be monitored closely and the only positive about this is that this fire has been a warning to everybody; things cannot just go on as they are.

Previous posts here and here and here and here and here.

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