Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Liberation in Paris Asks For Your Support to Save the Lives of their Colleagues


Earlier today we received an amazing email from Marie, a French journalist at the newspaper Liberation in Paris. As you read below, and if you decide to participate, please let us know. Also, be sure send us photos of your work when it goes up so that we can place them up on the Wooster site. We support this idea, and do hope that as many of you as possible, from the smallest to the largest cities and countries, all participate.

Marie tells us that their reporter Florence Aubenas and her guide Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi were captured in Bagdhad on the 5th of January and they are still missing in Iraq. A Defense Committee has been created and they trying to organise events that will raise awareness of the situation of Florence and Hussein and lobby for their release.

So on July 5th, they are organising a worldwide event by inviting all graffiti artists, street artists, and muralists to participate.

Already a group of prominant French artists have agreed to participate including Zevs, Andr�, Invader, and Eko.

So here's the info you need:

"Paint their walls away"
July 5th: dozens of painted walls in support of Florence and Hussein

French newspaper reporter Florence Aubenas and her assistant Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi were reported missing in Iraq on January 5th, 2005. This upcoming July 5th will mark their sixth month of captivity since they disappeared in Baghdad.

Florence Aubenas arrived in Baghdad on December 16, 2004, to cover the Iraqi elections for Lib�ration, one of the three leading French national dailies (with a circulation of 150,000 copies a day). She sent several articles to the paper just before her disappearance on the afternoon of January 5th. At this date, she was reported missing along with her guide and interpreter Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi. Florence Aubenas had previously traveled to Iraq in September 2003. She was one of a handful of Western journalists who returned to Baghdad in order to inform the French public on the reality in Iraq (for further information, go to www.pourflorenceethussein.org)

I am appealing to you today on behalf of the Defense Committee that was created in the days following their abduction in order to raise awareness of their plight and to lobby for their release. The French public is currently widely informed and supportive of their cause. But as time goes on, and the hostages remain captive, our anger increases. We feel it is time to go one step further and to alert the international public opinion as to their intolerable fate.

For this reason, we would like to ask you for your help. On July 5th, we are organizing a worldwide event, inviting all graffiti artists, street artists and muralists, of all styles and obedience to participate. The idea is simple: find the wall with the best possible exposure in your town, obtain legal permission and invite the press for the best possible media coverage. Then let your imagination do the rest.

Make sure you keep us informed on your participation so that we can organize the buzz around it on an international level. Why are we making this appeal to graffiti and street artists? Because it offers an alternative, and vividly visual, political point of view. Because we think it represents an aspiration to freedom that can be expressed in many ways but with the same message around the world, from Los Angeles to Bamako, from Berlin to Tokyo, From Bogota to Moscow. We are counting on you because we appreciate and respect you and your work. So fire up your spray paint to free Florence and Hussein.

For the Florence and Hussein Defense Committee,
Laurent Carpentier