Harsher treatment for dissident artists in Britain than in Israel or Jordan

First off, thank you for all the wonderful messages of support and for the donations. My apologies for not yet having replied individually to everyone – I have spent the past week answering emails and have still not managed to clear my inbox. If I may ask those waiting for a reply to exercise a little patience, I will do my best to respond as soon as time permits.

Two nights ago, I watched a BBC Newsnight report on an exhibition about censorship of music in Stalin’s Soviet Union, currently doing the rounds in Tel Aviv(!) before coming to London. Stalin banned all genres of music which he found ‘un-Soviet like’ – not just rock ‘n’ roll, but also traditional Russian folk tunes. Dissidents found a way to record songs on x-ray film: the exhibition features these medical scans of human bones, engraved with ‘Rock Around the Clock’ and other classics. But for me the most interesting part of the BBC report concerned a Haifa-based Palestinian Arab musician, Jowan Safadi, arrested and charged for incitement because of a song performed at a music festival in 2010.

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