The incidents of horrifying violence that continue to emerge in our midst are devastating. They affect us all and need to stop happening. We have to recognize that cases of abuse are not isolated events but are the result of structural dynamics that continue to reward patriarchal impunity, and for which we all share responsibility.
How can we, as arts organizations, stop being complicit in protecting offenders, or allowing them to benefit from the absence of accountability? From the fear and silence that result from it? How can we ensure that we do not engage with people who endanger our colleagues and peers? How can we earn the trust and confidence of survivors? How can we respond adequately to this violence in the absence of credible mechanisms or authorities? Sidestepping these questions is what allows the most notorious abusers, their enablers, and the institutions that support them to continue to put everyone in harm’s way.
Over the past year and a half, we have been actively committed to reflecting on how we as an organization might perpetuate a culture that allows different forms of abuse to go unchecked, and damage our cultural spheres and professional worlds. The process is difficult, but to inform our thinking and protocols, we consider personal safety our first priority. Speaking out should not require such immense personal sacrifice or exceptional courage and is our best safety net, so we have to find ways to ensure that people’s concerns are met with care and action.
In light of recent and disturbing allegations, Mophradat is severing all ties with Aya Metwalli and Maan Abu Taleb, both of whom we collaborated with in the recent past, and is also disentangling them from any projects within its networks. We will remove references to their work on our website in order to limit any credibility they might gain from association with us.
We find it important to acknowledge that workspace dynamics make it complicated for team members to challenge their colleagues and managers about abuses of power. Calling out is made even more difficult by imbalances that cut across lines of class, gender, race, social capital, and language. Those who still manage to stand up against violence have our utmost recognition and appreciation.
We hope Fatima Fouad’s fearless words will be the impetus to change course.
If you would like to share your thoughts with us, please reach out to our colleague: email@example.com