“Did You Mean: Oppressive”

Just a couple days ago I came across this news article talking about how Italian museums covered statues of nude women in order to avoid offending the president of Iran.

Italian Museum Covers Roman Nude Statues During Iran President’s Visit

  • Call it a cover-up: Nude statues were hidden in Rome in an apparent attempt not to offend the visiting president of socially conservative Iran.

I’m sorry, but what is this shit? I get that since we still rely on oil fuels we need to please the rich of countries that own oil because we are to lazy to invest in clean energies, but really, what is this shit?

He met with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Rome’s Capitoline Museums on Monday evening — where large white boxes covered up exhibits of nude statues from ancient Rome.

Italy’s ANSA news agency said that the move to limit Rouhani’s exposure was made out of respect for Iranian culture — and that officials opted not to serve alcohol at events with the president for the same reason.

Personally, I find it ironic that a country that punishes homosexuality with the death penalty requires us to take off our pants and lube our asses to make sure the president has a smooth visit.

Passive iconoclasm is a thing now. Whether it was Iran’s or Italy’s choice to cover the statues, I think it’s a really ignorant thing to do. I get that the world has different cultures and things that are offensive here may not be offensive there and vice versa, but damn, that is not what hospitality means. 

If I visit a country, whether I like it or not, they have their rules and I have to accept them. If I was gay and went to Iran, I could be punished with the death penalty for having sex with another man. I don’t think they’d be like, “no wait, he’s foreign, all men kiss each other to make sure they feel comfortable here.” 

I feel that when the offense is victimless and subjective, it should be confronted by the subject, not by the environment. I cannot ask people to not eat meat because I happen to be vegan. I cannot ask women to not wear bikinis to the beach because it’s offensive to me, instead I should be the one not going to the beach.

If you don’t like naked statues, don’t look at them. I don’t drink alcohol, but why should people stop doing it because of me? Even though the artworks were not destroyed (in this case), this kind of stuff reminds me of the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban, or the nazis burning Klimt’s paintings, or the decay of art in Palmyra. All of them offenseless artworks that were ruined for political and/or religious reasons.  

The world needs global laws, efficient laws punishing those that need to be punished. It is important that we stop using religion as a moral source for said-laws, or as a moral source in general. We are better than that. 

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About Joel Amat Güell

Joel is an illustrator, graphic designer and writer from Catalunya. He has designed for bands and clothing brands you probably have never heard of and for some that you probably have. He has designed and illustrated other stuff for other people too.

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