The festival in Italy is trying to fight against blasphemy laws, and they are now seeking attention from BEHEMOTH frontman Adam “Nergal” Darski.
As they state, “The anti-blasphemy laws in Italy and in the world are used to suppress political opponents and dissidents, to censor artists, journalists and free thought. We stand for freedom of expression and for the freedom to argue, to oppose, to free space for the intellect to question, to make fun of, to experience the dimension of art and satire. We are organizing the festival of the arts, censored by abuses on the freedom of intellect and expression through anti-blasphemy laws. You can check their GoFundMe page here.
In their open letter to Nergal, who has also announced “Ordo Blasfemia,” a crowdfunding campaign to defend Polish artists “against nonsensical blasphemy laws made by archaic politicians,” states: Dear Nergal, if things followed a logical course, I should be helping you. For quite some time now, I’m trying to preserve artistic freedom from the interference of religion. I do this by coordinating a national campaign, called ‘Dioscotto,’ which pursues #EndblasphemyLaws, and promoting a Festival that has two aims: firstly, it hosts the production of anticlerical works, showing their expressive and cultural dignity; secondly it uses art to collect funds for organisations that give refuge and legal assistance to those who are persecuted for religious reasons.
“I’m writing to you because it is clear that the strength of ideals and the sense of justice are not sufficient to pursue the aim of a cause. Very often sensational facts and exceptional witnesses are required.
“There are plenty of sensational facts in my project. I have the pleasure of exposing Abel Azona‘s work, who is persecuted in Spain (7 trials) due to an installation entitled Amen; there are works from Hogre and DoubleWhy, processed for religious defamation, even though their works denounce pedophily and omophoby in catholic environments. The festival does not only host these two artists; it documents and represents to the public an impressive variety of censures. To support this informative section, there are a lot of artistic contributions from anticlerical artists of the comic, stand up, theatre and cinema world. Young artists that are eager to express themselves without the risk of being censured, artists determined to show the concept of free expression in relation with all religions, religions which, I must say, are quite similar in their censury behaviour.
“The festival takes place in Naples, in Italy. I imagine you can understand how difficult it can be to talk about laity, anticlericalism and atheism in a society which respects religious ideas not because they are ‘ideas among others,’ but because they are “special ideas”. And I think you can imagine that there are no private or public institutions that can help promote such an event. Even people that suffer prosecution for blasphemy, the following day confirm that blasphemy cannot be legitimized, nor considered normal. Therefore even personalities that are convinced about freedom of expression and opinion, fail to take a firm position against this, because religious sentiment has taken over the concept of religious “idea”, and you know how it goes: thoughts are questionable, but feelings… what can I say? We HAVE to be romantic.
“Since you have declared to ‘The Guardian’ that you will devolve the exceeding profit of your fundraising project to others that aim to defend freedom for artists that want to express themselves against religion, I’m asking you to receive a sign of your friendship.
“We have used the same platform for the fundraising, but if you manage to reach your goal for your legal cause, I’m still to reach the necessary level that can help me to give a voice to the many artists involved. I’m ready to show you the content of my research, share cases, stories, events and also illustrate the activities of some partners that are morally supporting me, witnessing the need and usefulness of my initiative. All these stories, as a whole, demonstrate that there are no sensational events, but the same story that always repeats itself. If it’s necessary to have a known face to capture the public’s attention, I believe that this person should feel the need to give the most relevant contribution for a common cause yet to be achieved.”