By Houda Mzioudet.
Tripoli, . . .[restrict]20 March 2014:
The Ministry of Culture has postponed celebrations to inaugurate Tripoli as Arab Capital of Culture 2014 to “an unspecified date”, Adel Sunallah, the ministry’s media director has told the Libya Herald.
The move contradicts the declaration last month in Baghdad by the Undersecretary for Arts at the Ministry of Culture, Abdurrazag Al-Ibara, that Libya was ready to showcase Tripoli as Arab Capital of Culture this year. He had been speaking at a closing ceremony in the Iraqi capital which was Capital of Arab Culture 2013.
“The ministry does not have the budget for it, so that is why we decided to postpone the celebrations,” Sunallah explained. Originally they had been planned for 20 February.
He firmly dismissed the idea of abandoning the 2014 accolade, awarded to Tripoli by the Arab League under the UNESCO programme , adding that the Arab League’s Committee of Culture Capitals understood the situation.
“We want to give a message to the world that we are making a cultural revolution and that culture has a role during crises in securing stability, social peace and raising awareness through civil society organisations,” he declared.
So far, apart from the €4-million (LD 6.5-million) purchase of a secondhand wooden theatre from France which was used to house the Comédie Française while its historic premises in Paris’ Palais Royal were being refurbished, there has been little evidence of anything being done to mark Tripoli as Arab Culture Capital this year.
“There are no practical preparations for the event, but there is the programme which has been approved by the Ministry and presented to the Committee of Culture Capitals,” he added.
The programme focussed on drama, music and archeology and would be worked out in cooperation with the Ministries of Archeology, Tourism and Sports and Youth, he said.
There are precedents to tardy even non-existant celebrations of the award. Sirte was supposedly Arab Capital of Culture in 2011, but celebrations there that year were of a purely political nature. Last year, in Baghdad, the inauguration finally got underway in late March. Even so, the Iraqi Ministry of Culture managed to undertake a small number of artistic and cultural events before the year ended. [/restrict]