Statement on Attacks in the Bardo Museum in Tunis

ECF condemns the terrible attacks perpetrated in the Bardo Museum in Tunis on 18 March. 
We express our solidarity with our partners and the people of Tunisia, and send our condolences to the families of the victims. We are deeply saddened that these attacks have focused on travellers seeking out the rich cultural roots of Tunisia and North Africa and that the open and normally safe space of a Museum has become a battlefield.

These barbaric acts remind us again of the danger confronted by people in all regions of the world in the face of terrorism.

Katherine Watson and the ECF team


We have gathered reactions from two TANDEM Shaml participants based in Tunisia (texts translated from French from conversations with our TANDEM Programme Manager Philipp Dietachmair): 

These terrorists want to silence cultural activists, cultural actors and journalists who have culture as their central means of working and resisting. Culture does not come as a last resort, it is with culture that we can fight, that we can raise awareness about certain issues. That’s also one of the reasons for Mass’Art to exist: to make art and culture accessible to all. We have only one enemy, ignorance. At Mass’Art, we don’t make art for art’s sake, we think artists need to talk about their issues, to get closer to people. And that’s how culture will be stronger.
— Hatem Boukdera, Mass'Art, Tunisia
They want to destroy the ideas - the right to freedom and human rights, for which Tunisia has been fighting for for a long time. They want to isolate Tunisia from the rest of the world, scaring Tunisian people as well as public opinion internationally. Tunisia is a symbol, the Arab Spring started here, and despite all threats and attacks, Tunisian citizens have continued to resist. We are compelled to resist, as cultural actors, as artists but also as citizens. The new Tunisian constitution includes the right for all citizens to access art and culture, a clause we have fought for. Culture is the strongest weapon we can use against these people, and they know it. It is an everyday fight, for me personally but also for all artists in Tunisia. But I believe those who attack us will one day disappear in the face of culture.
— Moez Mrabet, L'Art vivant, Tunisia