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Monday, August 20, 2007

Tunisians condemn peace contest

YNet reports:

The Leo Savir Foundation for a Mediterranean Vision 2020 within the Peres Center for Peace, Fundación Picasso, and the Newspaper Al-Quds are launching a new project in which young people from the Mediterranean region will compete to express their personal interpretation of Pablo Picasso's famous 1949 painting, Dove of Peace.

Newspapers from the region will be partners to the project, among them Yedioth Ahronot (Israel), Al Ahram (Egypt), Asba (Tunisia), Le Matin (Morocco), and Malta Star (Malta). The panel of judges will be comprised of representatives of the Peres Center for Peace, Fundación Picasso, Al-Quds, and the participating newspapers.

Entries to the competition may be submitted between August 1 and September 30, 2007.

Notice the aim of the contest: just for children to describe their visions of peace, nothing to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict or anything like that.

But this is way too radical for the intellectuals in Tunisia:

Hundreds of Tunisian jurists and intellectuals have condemned the participation of a Tunisian newspaper in a competition for children organised by an Israeli centre.

They threaten to legally challenge what they describe as "symbols of normalization with the Israel."

This competition, called "The World's Children and Picasso's Dove of Peace", is being organised by the Leo Safeer institution which is part of the Israeli Shimon Peres centre for peace.

The competition is for children to express their opinions about peace in newspaper articles, taking their inspiration from Picasso's painting, "Dove of Peace".

Signatories to a petition protesting against the Tunisian newspaper's participation in the competition include the secondary and elementary education unions, the popular resistance committee, and the committee supporting Iraq and Palestine, the Dean of Lawyers Basheer Al Said, and prominent journalists such as Fatima Kray.

They issued a statement saying, "we strongly condemn any attempt to let our children be involved in those practices. Those practices are an attempt to erase the Arab national struggle, history and murdering the future of the coming generations".

The petition which was entitled "No to Normalization, Yes to Resistance" demanded the Tunisian daily newspaper, Al Sabah and the other Arabic newspapers withdraw from "this Zionist competition because it serves the enemy and Shimon Peres who once called the Arab people dirty, ignorant and backward".

Al Sabah said in its Thursday editorial that its participation in the competition is on the basis of the principle that "peace is not made with friends but with enemies."
So are these mainstream Tunisians who are against their children writing about peace "moderates" or "extremists?"