Chargé d'Affaires Michael Scanlan's remarks at the Reception to Celebrate Freedom of Artistic Expression
August 24, 2011
Dear Friends, Colleagues and Guests,
Welcome to the Embassy and thank you for finding time to come.
I am honored that so many talented, creative people have joined us to celebrate freedom of artistic expression.
The ability to express one’s views freely, whether in painting, writing lyrics, or penning books is fundamental for societies and individuals if they are to prosper and grow. A multitude of competing ideas can force us to think critically about ourselves and our societies or, conversely, simply give us the chance to admire beauty.
But it must be the individual who makes the choice of what to watch, or what to read, or what to listen to, not governments. The beauty of art is always in the eye of the beholder. Attacks on artistic freedom only serve to impoverish a society.
Moreover, they reveal a deep distrust and fear of the people by those in power. Beauty and truth endure, the censure does not. Unwritten bans, restrictions, and last minute cancellations contradict the creativity of the human spirit that you as artists represent. Let the time come when these unfortunate events are merely a footnote in a history book.
Please join me in honoring the power and beauty of the freedom of creative expression that makes our world a better place.