For those who missed this story today:
Two young Lebanese men have been detained for daubing graffiti on Beirut walls in support of the uprising in neighboring Syria, their lawyer and fellow activists said on Saturday.
Fadi Tawfiq, a writer and rights activist, said Ali Fakhri and Khodr Salameh were detained on Friday night for painting the flag used by rebels in Syria and “The revolution continues” in a district considered supportive of the Damascus regime. [Source]
Graffiti is accepted as long as it does not involve drawing on someone’s property or damaging public property. I’ve rarely seen decent graffiti in Lebanon, however most of them were on old deserted buildings or old walls. Having said that, and regardless whether you consider Graffiti to be an art or pure vandalism, I strongly believe our security forces should dedicate more time to catch criminals and terrorists rather than go after activists drawing on walls.
The good news are that both activists were released few hours ago after Prime Minister Najib Mikati got involved personally, following a massive online pressure on him, mainly on Twitter. I am glad that he chose to resolve this issue on the spot rather than ignore it like most politicians and officials do.
Here’s a footage of the small protest that occurred in the afternoon asking for the release of Ali and Khodr.
Graffiti (art or not) is illegal all over the world since it’s basically vandalism. That’s why they’re usually done at night and not in broad daylight… so they don’t get caught.
Najib, graffiti is an art and a way to express yourself, but if messages are harmful to someone it should be avoided from the beginning; as it’s exposed to public. On the other hand, if one morning you found graffiti painted on the wall of your house or building, what will be your reaction?
This is obviously not about the graffiti but more about the message that the graffiti is delivering.. therefore, it is about free speech and the government wanting to silence those who it fears..
Free speech should not be silenced. If this was to happen, only one sided messages will be allowed to be heard and people should be free to hear all opposing sides of the argument for a different view.