Bahrain: Open letter calls for support to Bahraini artists

26 October 2011


A group of Bahraini artists and intellectuals have published a letter to UNESCO Artist for Peace Missa Johnouchi from Japan, who performed in Bahrain at the 20th Bahrain International Music Festival on 15 October 2011.

This is the letter which was sent:

8 October 2011

To: Ms. Missa Johnouchi, UNESCO Artist for Peace

Subject: How you perform for peace and dismiss Bahraini artists?

As you are well aware, Bahrain has been in political unrest for the last ten months, and the regime played a major part in worsening conditions through severe illegal actions such as the termination of a large number of citizens due to their intellectual and religious backgrounds.

Unfortunately, the Ministry of Culture who is hosting your performance now, and supported you in the provision of the opening ceremony of the meeting of the World Heritage Committee at the headquarters of UNESCO, is a partner in this act where six of its employees that are eminent and renowned locally and internationally have been dismissed from their positions at the ministry.

One of them is a very well known music artist, the flutist Ahmed Al Ghanem, who has domestic and international posts including the UNESCO. He also held the position of the General Coordinator of the Bahrain International Festival of Music in previous years, as well as the position as Director of Bahrain Music Band.

Among the dismissed is Yasser Saif – specialist in cinema and theatre,
Mustafa Salman – architect in number of heritage projects,
Mohammed Ashoor – supervisor in traditional handcrafts production, and
Mosa Hassan – publication specialist.

As an Ambassador of Peace by UNESCO, we believe that you can support our cause and would like you to do your part towards art, artists, and intellectuals who were dismissed from their jobs in Bahrain.

We wish that you, as an ambassador for peace, urge the Minister of Culture towards the return of all personnel, intellectuals and artists who have been dismissed back to their jobs.

Finally, please accept our deep appreciation for your cooperation with us in this important humanitarian appeal.


Sincerely Yours,

* A group of Bahraini intellectuals:

1- Mohammed Ashoor- Supervisor traditional Handcrafts
2- Ahmed Al Ghanem – Artist and flutist
3- Mustafa Salman – Architect in number of heritage projects
4- Yasser Saif – Specialist cinema and theater
5- Mosa Hassan – Specialist publication
6- Hussain Al Samahiji – poet
7- Fareed Ramadan – novelist
8- Jaffar Aljamri – poet & journalist
9- Anas Al-shaikh – Artist
10- Hussain Alhulaybi – TV and Cinema Director
11- Khalaf Ahmed Khalaf – Short story writer
12- Fawzia Alsindi – poet
13- A.Wahab Saleh Al Arrayed – Media
14- Jaafar Hamza – Creative Conceptualizer
15- Iman Assiri – Poet & artist
16- Ahmed Alajmi – Poet
17- Ali Aldairy – Academic critic
18- Karim Radhi – Poet
19- Naima Al Samak – Poet & short Story Writer
20- A.Aziz Al Mosawi – Short Story Writer
21- Ahmed Al Hujjiri – writer & Human rights activist

CC: UNESCO Director–General Ms. Irina Bokova




About Missa Johnouchi
The Japanese composer, pianist, conductor and singer Missa Johnouchi was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace on 21 August 2006 by the Director-General at a ceremony in Tokyo.

An internationally recognized musician, Ms Johnouchi is best known in Japan as a peerless composer of film and television soundtracks. She has composed over four thousand pieces throughout her career, for which she has won several national and international awards.

Through her concerts, Ms Johnouchi promotes the importance of preserving cultural heritage and safeguarding intangible cultural heritage.

  Click to
Missa Johnouchi with Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, during the designation ceremony on 21 August 2006 in Tokyo, Japan

About Bahrain International Music Festival
The Ministry of Culture of the Kingdom of Bahrain presented its 20th Bahrain International Music Festival on 15-20 October 2011, celebrating diverse music from around the world.

In addition to the opening performance by Missa Johnouchi, a number of international artists performed in this year’s festival such as the Portuguese singer Cristina Branco, Lebanon’s Issa Hassan, the Czech Republic’s Berg Orchestra, and The Higher Institute of Music Art Band from Kuwait



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