Rabel Scmoel and the Elephant Poop Madonna

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Posted by pancho ( on December 24, 2001 at 10:13:59:

Here's an interesting contrast. An African artist paints a portrait of the Virgin Mary using elephant dung. It gets hung in the Brooklyn Museum of Art, an outstanding institution. The mayor of New York makes an ass of himself threatening dire consequences because the artist has attacked the sensibilities of good Christians everywhere. He plans to restrict funding to the museum if they don't remove the painting immediately, promises to cut off national funding, close the place down, light his shorts on fire...and all of it fails miserably. The nation laughs at the idiot, reaffirms its committment to free and even outrageous expression and lines up to see the painting in droves.

In this same country come we...the Assyrian American National Federation that is...insisting it represents us all...stating in its bylaws and statement of purpose that it exists primarily to obey American law and teach good citizenship. Somewhere down on the list is some dedication to the Assyrian culture, but they are first and foremost an American serving foundation. It's a good thing Iraq wasn't named Assyria by the Brits, it could have been. Then this loyal bunch of hyphenated Americans would have had the satisfaction of promoting Assyrian culture while bombing Assyria and killing Assyrians...which is what they're doing, no matter what you call that patch of earth. You'd see them change their name in a hurry then if "Assyria" was the rogue nation this country is dtermined to make of it.

Anyway, here comes the Federation all hot to teach good citizenship and respect for American Law and procedure. They have a painting "problem" too...far worse it would seem than Mayor Guiliani ever had...and they are far more successful at censorship than he was...maybe he ought to take lessons.

For those of you who don't know it yet, Rabel Schmoel was a nineteen year old Chicago resident and painter who exhibited a painting at the Federation convention last year in Chicago. That's the the one at which Sargon Lewie stepped down and Atour Golani stepped even further down to take his place. Rabel's painting was removed the first day...no protests, no consultation, just removed. He wasn't given any explanation until the convention was over...or any chance to defend himself. I'm not sure the boys running the convention understand much about American Law and customs...but they do know how to act decisively and manfully.

When they finally got around to giving Rabel their reasons, though to this day not a one of them will take any responsibility for it, no one will admit to actually being the one to take it down, and Atour Golani has never made good on his promise to apologize to Rabel and the rest of us...they told him that the painting had been removed because the "sad" half of the face he'd painted was done in purple...and everyone should have known that purple is ZOWAA's official color...and therefore the painting was an ATTACK ( that word again) on ZOWAA and therefore the Assyrian people, whom it too insists it represents...along with a hundred and twenty five other representatives of the Assyrian people, will they or won't they.

These two reactions to a painting tell all there is to know about the Federation and how well it lives up to its mandate to promote an awareness of American law and good citizenship among Assyrians. These tactics are right out of Turkey and Syria and Iraq...they have nothing to do with America. The court will not be amused by such a cogent reminder of what a foreign bunch of boobs these boobs are.

note to Jackie: It seems obvious that you have great influence in San Jose. I can't tell you how many people I've approached who are afraid to buy my sculpture at even half price...though we both know they would like to. Some of them will have to testify...because this is exactly what I am claiming. I would also suggest you stop contacting people and warning them etc. You have enough to answer to, intimidating people doesn't need to be added to it. Check with an attorney...a REAL one...and tell the whole story, not just the part in which you seem justified for every little trick you pull. last suggestion.

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